Achievements and ideas in mental health research shared at Sheffield Research and Effectiveness Showcase

The Research and Effectiveness Showcase welcomed speakers and delegates from across the NHS and academia. They came together to share achievements, ideas, and findings from mental health research across the region.

The event was hosted by the Sheffield Health and Social Care (SHSC) Research Development Unit and took place on Tuesday 28 February at the Workstation in Sheffield city centre. It was a huge success with a packed line up of speakers, an engaged audience and a poster competition giving the opportunity to showcase new research and improvement projects.

Research posters were displayed throughout the day and a winner was voted for by attendees. The winning poster was developed by SHSC’s Short Term Educational Programme (STEP) team for their poster 'From ideas to reality: redeveloping our Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder course'. 

Here’s a rundown of the day and some of the topics that were covered

Michelle Horspool, deputy director of research at SHSC, opened the day by giving an overview of SHSC’s new Research, Innovation and Effectiveness Strategy. This strategy will ensure that SHSC provide care that is evidence-led, a key strand of their Clinical and Social Care Strategy.

Professor Scott Weich spoke about what this means, how it works and how the Trust proves it is evidence-led. Scott said: “Evidence-free decisions should be one of the NHS’s never events.”

Alix Smith and Jon Burleigh from SHSC talked about outcome measures and how we can implement these in a way which brings value.

Members of the Lived Experience Research Partnership shared personal experiences, discussed the true meaning of coproduction (with some help from Brian Blessed) and showcased their current projects.

They spoke powerfully about how lived experience is really important in their work at SHSC and highlighted that the Trust is the first mental health trust to have a paid lived experience post in their research team.

Hassan Mahmood, Consultant Psychiatrist at SHSC, discussed a project which looked at ways to stop the overmedication of people who have a learning disability and/or autism and are from an ethnic minority background.

Elissa Thompson shared her journey to becoming a research nurse. Elissa spoke about the positive changes which mean research now has a bigger focus than ever and is prioritised even in busy clinical settings.

Sally Ohlsen from the University of Sheffield talked about the challenges facing the retention of mental health staff. This work was based on research carried out with SHSC staff.

As we moved further into the afternoon our guests joined us to share their insights with attendees.

Professor Simon Gilbody joined us from the University of York to share research on health inequalities between people who use mental health service. Smoking, for example, is one of the strongest drivers of the mortality gap between the general population and people with SMI. Simon shared how we can target this to reduce that gap, and how interventions to help people quit smoking do work in mental health settings.

Associate Professor Nicola Clibbens, Northumbria University and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, talked about how our community care services work for people with a mental illness. The findings were from the MHCREST study which SHSC has been heavily involved in.

Professor Damian Hodgson from the University of Sheffield discussed an evaluation of the Primary and Community Mental Health Transformation Programme. Damian found it has had success in reaching marginalised groups and improved engagement with general practice. The challenges have included scaling up the programme and working alongside the charity sector in the partnership. He emphasised the importance of evaluation in programmes like this to find the lessons learned.

Finally Dr Mike Hunter, Executive Medical Director at SHSC, rounded off the day by discussing the important of coproduction. He celebrated how many people and teams at SHSC are working together with lived experience and challenged the room to broaden that way of working.