Recruitment success for NIHR-funded study aimed at tackling schizophrenia in the African Caribbean community

Press/Media: Research

Release date: 16/8/2016

Media coverage

TitleRecruitment success for NIHR-funded study aimed at tackling schizophrenia in the African Caribbean community
Degree of recognitionNational
Media name/outletNIHR News
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
DescriptionA team of researchers led by Dr Dawn Edge has been working on a study to understand the factors that influence the help-seeking attitudes and engagement of African Caribbean people diagnosed with schizophrenia and related psychoses, to improve their access to evidence-based psychological care and relationships with mental health services.

African Caribbean people in the UK are more likely than any other ethnic group to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. It is thought fear of mental health services and stigma in the community mean that they often delay contact with services. Long periods of untreated symptoms can be very stressful and increase family tension, contribute to relationship breakdowns, social isolation and longer hospital stays.

The NIHR-funded Culturally-adapted Family Intervention (CaFI) research study involves working with families to make Family Intervention (a form of Talking Therapy) more culturally-appropriate and to see if they think the therapy is useful and meets their needs. Pioneered at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MMHSCT) in the 1980s, Talking Therapy involves talking to a therapist to help deal with negative feelings, giving people the chance to explore their thoughts and the effect they have on their behaviour and mood. The research aims to work with them along with their families, the community and healthcare professionals to adapt a bespoke package to make it suited to each individual.

Over the past year, the research team supported by Clinical Studies Officers have reached their target of recruiting 30 people onto the study to try out the new treatment.

Dr Edge (pictured on the left with Amy Degnan, the study’s Research Project Manager), researcher at MMHSCT and senior lecturer at the University of Manchester, says: “We were delighted to reach our recruitment target. As members of this community are sometimes referred to as ‘hard-to-reach’, this achievement should not be under-estimated.

“On behalf of the research team, I would like to thank the service-users, their families and members of the wider community for coming forward to take part in the study. A key aspect of the study has been enabling service users who do not have contact with their families to access the treatment. To do this, we have recruited Family Support Members from a range of ethnic backgrounds, age and experience. The level of engagement has far exceeded our expectations and demonstrates people’s willingness to help develop culturally-appropriate treatments for members of this ethnic group.”

Angela Branson, Clinical Studies Officer on the project from NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester, added: “We worked collaboratively to make this study a success, building on existing relationships with care teams and coordinators to identify potential participants, we attended study meetings to engage with clinical staff and kept them up to date with progress on recruitment. The Community Mental Health Teams and Early Intervention Service were really supportive and encouraged sharing of information.

“A team of CRN staff based in MMHSCT actively looked for suitable participants on a daily basis, including connecting and recruiting from Inpatient Wards. Although at first, the study was difficult to recruit to, the key to the success was collaboration. The University of Manchester study team, the CRN Researchers and MMHSCT Professionals worked together in a short time frame to successfully reach the target.”

The study started in September 2013 and is now reaching the third and final phase which is on schedule to finish by the end of the year.
Producer/AuthorNational Institute for Health Research
PersonsDawn Edge