Aim of the project:
The aim of this project is to develop a better understanding about co-located community interventions that focus on the mental health and wellbeing of older adults by exploring what works, for whom, and under what circumstances.
This project draws on scoping reviews and mapping exercises conducted in the first phase of the PMH programme to identify community interventions that affect the mental health and well-being of older adults. Focusing specifically on the UK, we identified a range of interventions that target psychosocial stressors, such as loneliness, social isolation and financial difficulties, as an approach to support older adults. We found that interventions that are able to respond to multiple stressors, perform several functions (e.g. providing direct support and signposting or facilitating connections), and involve partnership working across health/community/voluntary sector organisations were quite common and may have promising mental health outcomes. Many of these interventions use existing community assets that are physical (e.g. community centres), organisational (community/voluntary sector) and/or human (e.g. volunteers). Yet, little is known about how these interventions impact mental health and wellbeing, for whom, and in what circumstances. A better understanding of this is needed to make informed decisions and maximise the use and benefits ofcommunity assets and resources . This is particularly important as demand and pressures on health and care increases, and austerity endures.
Design and methods:
A realist-informed approach will be used to evaluate the impact (what works, and how do we know?), the process and context (how, in what circumstances?) and address questions of inequalities and wider determining factors (for whom?). This method is made up of three main components:
- A mapping exercise to identify ‘co-located’ community interventions/support focussing on the mental health of older adults across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
- Realist-informed case studies exploring the implementation and outcomes.
- An exploration of the Social Return on Investment (SROI) by identifying key outcomes, mobilised resources, and data driven hypothetical scenarios of when and for whom the social value of co-located community interventions accumulate.
To ensure meaningful public engagement, peer researchers from the McPin Foundation are embedded in the project from the onset. Input will also be sought throughout the duration of this project from the Cambridge Public Health Positive Ageing Patient and Public Involvement (PAPPI) group, HealthWatch, Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the EAHSN (Eastern Academic Health Science Network) Participatory appraisal.
At least one academic paper will be published and presented at a conference. Reports and blog posts will be developed and disseminated in collaboration with peer researchers, public engagement groups and community and voluntary organisations affiliated with this project.
Lee C, Kuhn I, McGrath M, Remes O, Cowan A, Duncan F, Baskin C, Oliver EJ, Osborn DPJ, Dykxhoorn J, Kaner E, Walters K, Kirkbride JB, Gnani S, Lafortune L on behalf of the NIHR SPHR Public Mental Health Programme (2021). A systematic scoping review of community-based interventions for the prevention and promotion of mental health in older adults in the UK. Health & Social Care in the Community. In press.
Duncan F, Baskin C, McGrath M, Coker JF, Dykxhoorn J, Adams EA, Gnani S, Jones O, Lafortune L, Lee C, Kirkbride JB, Samuel G , Walters K, Osborn D, Oliver EJ on behalf of the School for Public Health Research Public Mental Health Programme (2021). Community interventions that aim to improve the mental health of adults: a mapping exercise in five areas of England. BMC Public Health. In press.