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Rethink and MDF commence research to understand more about the road to recovery

Two leading mental health charities, Rethink and MDF The BiPolar Organisation today announced the start of a new partnership with and project sponsored by AstraZeneca. It comprises of experiential research to identify what hinders and helps achieve recovery and aims to help to put recovery at the heart of mental health reform. It will report late 2008.

In the first nationwide research of its kind, seven service users are being trained to conduct research amongst other service users. What makes this research unique is that the interviewers in the analysis will make active use of their insight into the findings as people who have themselves experienced mental health difficulties in the past. For Rethink, this unique contribution from the interviewers, as well as the research subjects, will provide better insight into what ‘recovery’ means for patients with mental health disorders in a bid to create better understanding between doctors, patients and carers to ultimately improve care.

It will also enable the organisation to refine the services already provided. “Recovery is central to the activities of Rethink and working with everyone affected by severe mental illness to recover a better quality of life is at the heart of our mission. By working with service users to conduct this research in the first place, we anticipate it will provide better guidance on how we can improve our service and enable more people who use our services onto the road to recovery” said Dr Larsen, Head of Evaluation at Rethink.

The qualitative research will be conducted amongst 50 service users, recruited through Rethink and MDF as well as other contacts, and will help move away from a one dimensional focus on symptoms in a patient’s recovery. The research will result in a report, which will be provided to:

• Psychiatrists to supplement their insight on what recovery means for service users and to help inform their decisions in the future
• New service users to aid them in their recovery journey

Dr Larsen also commented that, “Regaining a fulfilling life is the ultimate aim of any mental health service user. People often feel uncomfortable talking about these issues and what works for them so working with service users to conduct the research will hopefully encourage the research participants to open up and enable us to gain more of an insight into what is needed.”

“AstraZeneca is delighted to be sponsoring this important research. We believe that recovery should be the aim for all people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The research will provide valuable insights into the recovery process which will allow clinical practice to be adapted accordingly. AstraZeneca will support these changes where possible,” says Phil Krzyzek, Mental Health Partnership Leader, AstraZeneca.

One percent of the population live with bipolar disorder[2] at any one time and approximately one percent of the population will experience schizophrenia in their lifetime[1]. Recovery from these conditions can be slow and once diagnosis is made, it can take years for a person to regain their health, self-esteem and independence. Recovery can be defined as the personal process of tackling the adverse impacts of experiencing mental health problems, despite their continuing or long-term presence[3].

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Notes to editors:

Definition of recovery

“Recovery can be defined as a personal process of tackling the adverse impacts of experiencing mental health problems, despite their continuing or long term presence. It involves personal development and change, including acceptance there are problems to face, a sense of involvement and control over one’s life, the cultivation of hope and using the support from others, including direct collaboration in joint problem-solving between people using services, workers and professionals. Recovery starts with the individual and works form the inside out. For this reason it is personalised and challenges traditional service approaches.” [4]

About the research

The project, which has received £30,000 sponsorship from AstraZeneca, will contribute to a wider commitment by Rethink, MDF and AstraZeneca into understanding more about recovery and making it more of a reality for other service users. The data will be collected through in-depth and semi structured interviews, the interviewers will also be asked to keep a reflections diary to document their own experiences and personal journeys to ensure their contribution to the research.

About Rethink

Rethink, the leading national mental health membership charity, works to help everyone affected by severe mental illness recover a better quality of life.
http://www.rethink.org/

About MDF The BiPolar Organisation

MDF The BiPolar Organisation is a user-led charity working to enable people affected by bipolar disorder (manic depression) to take control of their lives.
http://www.mdf.org.uk/

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in research, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of US $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection product sales. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

For further information or to speak to a spokesperson, please contact:

Lizzie Lockett
Account Executive, Red Door Communications
(e) llockett@rdcomms.com (d) 020 8392 8063

Kate Jefferson, Communications Manager, AstraZeneca
(e) kate.jefferson@astrazeneca.com (d) 01582 836 519 / (m) 07785 928 559

References:

1. Rethink. Schizophrenia factsheet (RET10113). http://www.mentalhealthshop.org/products/rethink_publication.... Accessed 30th April 2008.

2. Rethink. Bipolar disorder (manic depression) factsheet (RET0095). http://www.mentalhealthshop.org/products/rethink_publication.... Accessed 30th April 2008.

3. Rethink. Recovery – a brief introduction to the recovery approach. http://www.rethink.org/living_with_mental_illness/recovery_a... Accessed 30th April 2008.

4. Rethink. A Report on the Work of the Recovery Learning Sites and other Recovery-orientated activities and its incorporation into The Rethink Plan 2004-08. http://www.rethink.org/living_with_mental_illness/recovery_a.... Accessed 30th April 2008.


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