Integrating physical health, mental health and social care

Our work aims to understand more about the integrated physical, mental and social needs of people with different health conditions.

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People living with health conditions do so with a variety of physical, mental and social needs related to their individual functional capacity and abilities, as well as their environment.

Understanding these needs is key to developing and implementing high quality services and practices that operate as integrated pathways.

Our work in this theme is aligned to the NHS Five Year Forward View that highlights the importance of supporting those living with common mental and physical health conditions; by integrating high quality physical and mental health care, and streamlining the way individuals interact with many different services and agencies as they seek to manage their health.

Depression and chronic pain are leading causes of disability in the UK, and frequently occur alongside other health conditions. Our initial focus in these areas is adding to ongoing work around the North of England Regional Back Pain Pathway, working towards achieving implementation across the full spectrum of chronic pain, as well as across the region; and community-based programmes for older people with depression. Learning from these areas will inform future work on, for example, other mental health conditions, respiratory conditions, stroke and metabolic conditions.

A key partner in the theme is the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS). Early work with NEAS will explore how Emergency Care services can support stroke patients, and we are also interested in understanding how people with other conditions like those mentioned above engage with ambulance services.

A particular feature of the theme is in the area of assistive technology – both digital and physical.

Early projects include:

  • Investigating the needs of older adults with mental health problems in the community
  • Planning the exploration of new methods to model impact and value
  • Exploring new approaches with technology for self-management and point of care assessment
  • Exploring the role of community charities as providers of services for health and wellbeing.

Our theme brings together colleagues from six regional universities, the NHS and social care, and the third sector.

This is a cross-cutting theme which works with colleagues from our other six ARC research themes.