Monday, 14 October 2013

Co-morbidity conference in Manchester is pushing the boundaries of research in mental health

The mental health of individuals with one or more long terms conditions (LTCs) is of great importance for NHS England, practitioners and health service researchers. Approximately 4.6 million people experience one or more physical long term conditions and live with co-morbid mental health complaints. The impact of such co-morbidity is significant and costly, on both an individual, familial, and nation-wide scale.

Last month Manchester played host to a conference thatw as novel as it was timely. The co-morbidity conference "Working together to meet the challenge of co-morbid physical and psychological illness", was the first conference organised by the team behind the CHOICE Project, an NIHR funded collaboration between the University of Manchester, Manchester City Council and Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

The free one day conference comprised of oral and poster presentations, however an emphasis was placed on discussion of issues raised by the speakers. Attendees, including clinicians, researchers and lay members were able to discuss a range of issues including the challenges of multi-morbidity in primary care, collaborative care for patients with LTC and the use of remote technologies to support self-management in the community. Notable presentations came from Professors, Chris Dickens (University of Exeter), Professor Nigel Mathers (University of Sheffield), Andre Tylee (King’s CollegeLondon), Else Guthrie & Karina Lovell (University of Manchester), and AllanHouse (University of Leeds).

Katherine Easton, from the RAT group and CLAHRCSY, presented a poster of her PhD research examining the measurement and impact of symptoms of anxiety in patients with a diagnosis of heart failure. Katherine and members of the RAT group have recently formed a special interest group within the larger RAT research team to explore further the psychology of technology and applications in the area of mental health and LTCs.  A PDF copy of Katherine’s poster is available on request.

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