Development of a peer-led, network mapping intervention to improve the health of individuals with severe mental illnesses: protocol for a pilot study

Jennifer Rose Deborah Collom, Jonathan Davidson, Daryl Sweet, Steve Gillard, Vanessa Pinfold, Claire Henderson

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Introduction Adults with severe mental illness (SMI) have reduced life expectancy and many have comorbid physical health conditions. Primary care providers are experiencing increased demands for care for people with SMI. Barriers to accessing physical healthcare have been identified which negatively affect quality of care. We propose that peer support workers (PSWs) could deliver an intervention to service users to promote their physical health by drawing on existing social support. The aim of this research was to pilot a novel PSW-led intervention, including personal well-being network mapping, to improve access to primary care for physical health needs.

Methods and analysis Twenty-four participants will be recruited from community-based mental health teams in two boroughs of London. Each participant will be offered a six-session intervention. Quantitative data will be collected before and after intervention (at 4-month follow-up). Qualitative interviews will be conducted with PSWs after completion of the intervention and with participants at a 4-month follow-up. Some intervention sessions will be observed by a member of the research team. This is a pilot study with a small sample aiming to assess acceptability and feasibility of an intervention. We aim to use the results to refine the existing theory of change and to optimise the intervention and its evaluation in a future randomised controlled trial. This study is strengthened by its potential clinical importance and origin in previous research where service users engaged with well-being network mapping.

Ethics and dissemination This study has been approved by the London-Chelsea Regional Ethics Committee (ref: 17/LO/0585). The findings will be disseminated to participants, the National Health Service trusts that we recruited from, primary care mental health leads, commissioners and in peer-reviewed journals and academic conferences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2019


  • mental health
  • intervention
  • Physical health
  • Protocol


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