This work aims to explore how current changes to the role of housing officers at social housing providers has affected the health and wellbeing of residents, local communities and on other local services.
April 2018 - March 2019
Exposing the impact of advice services on health and inequalities
Research Team: Professor Susan M Carr, Dr Monique Lhussier, Dr Sonia Dalkin, Dr Natalie Forster & Professor Suzanne Moffat
Who's involved: Fuse
May 2014 - March 2017
Although advice services are widely acknowledge as a way to help reduce health inequalities and provide appropriate advice to enable individuals to improve their health, little research has been carried out to explore the connection between advice and health.
This project aimed to find out how, why, for whom, and in what circumstances Citizen Advice Gateshead (CAG) services were effective in improving health.
Researchers carried out interviews with staff, CAG clients and used client questionnaire to enable researchers to build a framework to explain how CAG leads to health outcomes for clients. Researchers used The Perceived Stress Scale, the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well Being Scale and lifestyle questions to measure impact.
The questionnaire data showed a very significant increase in wellbeing and significant decrease in stress as a result of contact with CAG. Interviews with staff and clients were used to understand how CAG contributed to this positive outcome. They highlighted that CAG clients often have complex needs, and feel alienated by the state systems. CAG advice changed the resources people had, meeting their basic needs, preventing mental health exacerbations, reducing stress and decreasing social isolation. Clients trusted CAG advisors due to their expertise, benevolent style and similarities. As a result of this, CAG acted as a buffer between the client and the state, allowing the two to talk to one another and for example, progress claims.
Forster N, Dalkin SM, Lhussier M, Hodgson P, Carr SM. Exposing the impact of Citizens Advice Bureau services on health: a realist evaluation protocol. BMJ Open 2016.