Co-PACT Study Newsletter – February 2023
It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch, but we can now update you on what we’ve been doing since November. The project team has made significant progress with analysing the data ready for co-design, which starts this month. This newsletter is longer than normal, but we felt it was important to fully convey the depth and breadth of work in preparation for the co-design phase of the project.
1. Data analysis update: the bulk of the data analysis has now been done and presented at a data interrogation away day in January for Co-Investigators and PPI Research Group members. The final iteration following feedback from the away day will be completed in readiness for the start of the co-design workshops in February. Analysis of this innovative data was more complex than for traditional studies and we ensured this was done in a rigorous manner which honoured participants’ contributions to the study.
2. Themes emerging - journeys through the mental health process: we organised the broad themes by mapping them out as the journey through the mental health process from pre- to post-detention, and the experiences that participants had on that journey were richly woven into these themes. As we coded the transcripts, we constantly checked original text to ensure we were not misrepresenting anything. The overarching theme that emerged was the desire to be seen as human, and to convey that poor mental health can happen to anyone.
The themes map out the mental health journey, from pre-detention to post-detention, such as mental health stigma, prevention and failed help seeking attempts; the detention process itself, comparisons between different hospitals; coercive care, the availability of talking therapies. There is a large theme around staff interactions, the availability of activities when sectioned; the concept of detention as a traumatic experience; care available in the community; the importance of family support and involvement, and the experience of taking part in the photovoice research process.
Within these themes we developed cross cutting themes, which is a non-traditional way of presenting thematic analysis. Communication featured prominently as a cross cutting theme, especially one to one communication and interactions. There was data about the environment and the need for green spaces; units being compared to prisons and zoos, and the impact of being in that type of environment, as well as socio-economic environmental factors. Another cross-cutting theme was system constraints such as bed availability and staffing at a systems wide level.
3. Co-Investigator and PPI away day 12th January: this was a very productive event with rich and open discussions about the analysis results. We had copies of photos, captions, and transcripts on the table so that the group could check that what they read in the transcripts was captured in the summary of findings. The group reviewed the data, ensuring that nothing had been missed and that lived experience was foregrounded. The feedback from the day has been incorporated into the analysis for a further iteration of the thematic analysis. There were a few themes the group felt were missed out or not as clear as they could be: under the environment concept they wanted to make sure we were representing the factor of people’s needs not being met more clearly - and also the experience people had if they tried to complain There was a lot of content about detention as a traumatic experience so we’ll separate that out a bit more to make sure voices aren’t lost - such as the concept of the environment around detention being very dehumanising, and the processes contributing towards that dehumanisation, as well as the experience of stress. We will add an individual factors theme rather than badging these strands under communication.
4. Planning for co-design meetings: we are working with the eight local sites to arrange co-design meetings in February and April at which the results will be presented. The first meeting takes place in Birmingham on 3rd February. The team held a briefing session with local PIs to check that all the NHS Trusts are on the same page with regard to what co-design actually consists of as it can be challenging to communicate that effectively to people. The teams will dovetail co-design into existing initiatives whenever possible, so it isn’t seen as a focus group. We will honour photovoice methodology and principles in the blueprint for co-design, ensuring all teams are on the same page, that participant lists can be drawn from existing groups locally and that lived experience is foregrounded in the process.
5. Oxford Policy Engagement Network funding: we have secured £20k funding for in-person photographic exhibitions of our photovoice work at three sites across the country in June. We have partnered with Andre Tomlin of Mental Elf on this initiative. The exhibitions will invite policy makers to interact with our data, engage them in photovoice, and optimise dissemination of research results.
6. National knowledge exchange event: a national knowledge exchange event will be held in July, bringing together the findings and outcomes from the eight local sites and engaging national level policy makers in recommending changes to the Mental Health Act. This event will be covered live across social media by Andre Tomlin which will be a positive addition to the project and ensure maximum dissemination of this important and innovative work.
7.Help end everyday racism– a tree remembers, the axe forgets: Professor Kam Bhui will be a panellist at this University of Oxford hybrid event on Wednesday 8th February at 6pm. The event will look at experiences of everyday racism, methodology of solidarity to end everyday racism and imagining what could work to help end everyday racism. Details here on how to join online or in person:
Finally, thank you for your continued support and engagement in the Co-PACT study.
If you would like to attend a meeting to hear about the findings from the photovoice work or would like to be involved in the co-design, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also follow us on Twitter @co_pact or check out our website.
All the very best,
The Co-PACT Research Team