City Research Online

An engaged approach to exploring issues around poverty and mental health: A reflective evaluation of the research process from researchers and community partners involved in the DeStress study

Thomas, F., Hansford, L., Wyatt, K., Byng, R., Coombes, K., Finch, J., Finnerty, K., Ford, J., Guppy, K., Guppy, R., Hughes, S., McCabe, R. ORCID: 0000-0003-2041-7383, Richardson, H., Roche, D. and Rgn, H. S. (2020). An engaged approach to exploring issues around poverty and mental health: A reflective evaluation of the research process from researchers and community partners involved in the DeStress study. Health Expectations, doi: 10.1111/hex.13065

Abstract

Background

Involving patients, service users, carers and members of the public in research has been part of health policy and practice in the UK for the last 15 years. However, low‐income communities tend to remain marginalized from the co‐design and delivery of mental health research, perpetuating the potential for health inequalities. Greater understanding is therefore needed on how to meaningfully engage low‐income communities in mental health research.

Objectives

To explore and articulate whether and how an engaged research approach facilitated knowledge coproduction relating to poverty and mental distress.

Setting

A reflective evaluation of community and researcher engagement in the DeStress study that took place in two low‐income areas of South‐west England.

Design

Reflective evaluation by the authors through on‐going feedback, a focus group and first‐person writing and discussion on experiences of working with the DeStress project, and how knowledge coproduction was influenced by an engaged research approach.

Results

An engaged research approach influenced the process and delivery of the DeStress project, creating a space where community partners felt empowered to coproduce knowledge relating to poverty‐related mental distress, treatment and the training of health professionals that would otherwise have been missed. We examine motivations for involvement, factors sustaining engagement, how coproduction influenced research analysis, findings and dissemination of outputs, and what involvement meant for different stakeholders.

Conclusion

Engaged research supported the coproduction of knowledge in mental health research with low‐income communities which led to multiple impacts.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: engagement, health inequalities, health policy, mental health, patient and public involvement, poverty, research design, socio-economic factors
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2020 12:20
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/24431
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