Recovery Research Network (RRN)

2021 RRN Emails

January 2021

Recovery Research Network eBULLETIN

January 2021

RRN Meetings

Due to the ongoing developments with regards to Covid-19, RRN in-person meetings are suspended at the present time.

The coronavirus pandemic is having unprecedented effects both nationally and internationally.  During this time of social distancing and self-isolation, remaining connected to our networks is important.  Please can we encourage our readership to continue to submit material to e-bulletin using the detail below.  As ever, comments are welcome from the readership about articles included in the e-bulletins.

Thank-you. Please stay safe, and our best wishes to you all.

Please submit material to either Shula Ramon or Tony Sparkes. Their contact details are:

Coronavirus and Mental Healh

The impact of coronavirus, and government measures to restrict its transmission, means that we have to pay particular attention to our mental health and wellbeing. There is a considerable amount of advice and information available online. In this edition, we have included some examples at the end of the e-bulletin.

RRN Membership Profile

Anyone who has an interest in recovery research can join the RRN, just fill in the online form available at:

A Call to PhD Students and their Supervisors

Please could we remind the readership that PhD students (and their supervisors) are particularly welcome to join the RRN. The forum provides a unique opportunity to network and build research capacity. The network also provides a collegial environment to present doctoral work.

Recovery Research: We would like to learn from your experience of conducting recovery research. Therefore, would readers kindly get in touch with the Network to let us know about the things that have helped and the things that have hindered during your experience of undertaking recovery research. Please send your comments to either Tony or Shula.

Conferences and Events

In an attempt to restrict the spread of coronavirus, limitations upon the free movement of people are evident in many countries throughout the world.  As you will no doubt be aware, such measures have impacted upon national and international travel and hospitality.

Whilst it is likely that face-face conferencing/events will not be taking place in their ‘traditional’ format, it may be that alternative or innovative platforms are being utilised to deliver such events going forward.  

i)  The University of South-Eastern Norway are hosting a rescheduled seminar with the title: The Politics of Recovery: controversy and co-option in the era of austerity.  Originally scheduled for later this month, the new date will be:  16th June 2021.  For more information please click here

ii)  Writing out of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the guest editors invite papers that orientate towards promoting a better understanding of the processes of recovery and concepts of citizenship and wellbeing for young people who live with substance use and mental health problems.  The deadline for manuscript submissions is: 1st September 2021.  For more information please click here

iii)  A call for papers has been expressed by:  Advances in Mental Health: Promotion, prevention and early intervention.

Title for the Special issue: Peer support in mental health services
Internationally the past decade has seen a burgeoning of lived experience, peer support services often driven by changes in mental health workforce policy. This special issue will focus on research on peer support for consumers and/or carers, in mental health, Alcohol and other Drugs and gambling services.  This issue is particularly interested in gaining an international perspective on peer support. Quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods and systematic review studies will be considered. We welcome publications that report consumer-  or carer-led research and are authored or co-authored by peer support workers.  It is expected that the special issue will be published in Nov 2021.

Process for submission:
1.  Abstracts of 200-250 words due 31 January 2021. Please email these directly to Dr Kitty Vivekananda at
We will inform you by 12 February, 2021  if your abstract has been accepted to submit a full copy of the article.

2.  Full manuscripts of no more than 5000 words  due 11 April 2021.  We will encourage authors to make accepted manuscripts available via a pre-print server so that research is as accessible as possible to the peer support community.

Please contact the Editors of the special issue Kitty Vivekananda if you have any queries about a potential submission.

Submission guidelines: 
Please refer to the Taylor and Francis website for submission guidelines for the journal:

Guest Editors
Professor  Steve Gillard (Professor of Mental Health Research, City University, London, UK ),
Dr Kitty Vivekananda (Psychology and Counselling Programs, Monash University, Melbourne Australia), Dr Phillip Tchernegovski (Monash University, Melbourne), and Ms Chiara McDowell  (Monash University Melbourne), Ms Cate Bourke (Eastern Health, Melbourne).

Papers and Publications

In addition to peer-reviewed literature and work of a purely academic nature, the e-bulletin also welcomes the submission of material that would include grey literatures (such as briefing papers, reports and so on) that attest to the broader impact of personal recovery.

i)  Griffiths, C., Walker, K., Reid, I.,  da Silva, K.M. and O’Neill-Kerr, A. (2021) A qualitative study of patients’ experience of ketamine treatment for depression: The ‘Ketamine and me’ project. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports.  Vol.4 April 2021. Online:

Background: There has been a lack of in-depth interviews investigating patient experience of ketamine treatment for depression. We examined participants’ pathways to receiving ketamine infusion to treat their depression, and their responses to, lived experiences of, and attitudes towards ketamine treatment.
Methods: Qualitative methods were used to conduct in-depth interviews with 13 patients (6 male; 7 female) diagnosed with treatment resistant depression (TRD) with experience of receiving ketamine treatment for depression. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was employed.
Results: For the majority of participants ketamine infusion causes a reported initial ‘high’, enhanced perception, and dissociative experience; followed by a lifting of mood and a reduction in or removal of suicidal ideation and depression symptoms lasting around 3–6 days. This leads to a reported increase in motivation, socialisation, and activity. All participants valued the therapeutic alliance with clinicians which enhanced the treatment experience and all advocated treatment access for those with depression who have not responded to other treatments.
Limitations: Small numbers, purposive sample, participant self-selection, and single site recruitment limit generalisability.
Conclusions: Ketamine for depression can have many beneficial effects, and it is potentially life-transforming for some. Ketamine may be a source of hope for patients for whom other treatments have not been effective. For some, ketamine is not tolerated or does not have anti-depressive effects. Further qualitative in-depth exploration of patient experience and consideration of how ketamine depression treatment access can be appropriately made available are warranted.

ii)  Karbouniaris, S., Abma, T., Wilken, J-P. and Weerman, Alie. (2020) Use of experiential knowledge by mental health professionals and its contribution to recovery: literature review. Journal of Recovery in Mental Health.  4(1) Online:

Objective: This article explores the use of experiential knowledge by traditional mental health professionals and the possible contribution to the recovery of service users.
Design and Methods: The review identified scientific publications from a range of sources and disciplines. Initial searches were undertaken in databases PsycINFO, PubMed, and Cochrane using specific near operator search strategies and inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Results: Fifteen articles were selected. These were published in a broad range of
mental health and psychology journals reporting research in western countries. In the selected articles, a varying conceptualization of experiential knowledge was found, differing from therapeutic self-disclosure embedded in psychotherapeutic contexts to a relational and destigmatizing use in recovery-oriented practices. Nurses and social workers especially are speaking out about their own experiences with mental health distress. Experiential knowledge stemming from lived experience affects the professional’s identity and the system. Only a few studies explored the outcomes for service users’ recovery.
Conclusion: A small body of literature reports about the use of experiential knowledge by mental health professionals. The mental health system is still in transformation to meaningfully incorporate the lived experience perspective from traditional professionals. There is little data available on the value for the recovery of service users. This data indicates positive outcomes, such as new understandings of recovery, feeling recognized and heard, and increased hope, trust, and motivation. More research about the meaning of experiential knowledge for the recovery of service users is desirable.

iii)  Mosher, J.K. (2020) “I remember…so, let’s not forget”: remembering our past lest we repeat it.  Psychosis.  12(4), 368-376

What happens when we, as a profession, forget our past, whether it is what history and research have taught or the values that motivated us to become healers? Here, I explore this question. First, I remember several experiences I have had that illustrate what can go wrong when we “forget.” Then, I review some of our history and research, critically examining it, to remind us of those lessons. Finally, I share examples from my own practice to show how remembering the past can guide us in the present.

iv)  Henson, C., Truchot, D. and Canevel, A. (2020) What promotes post traumatic growth? A systematic review.  European Journal of Trauma and Dissociation.  Online:

People who experience major life crises often report post-traumatic stress. However, the literature suggests that traumatic experiences can also be “catalysts” for positive change (i.e., posttraumatic growth; PTG). PTG (Calhoun & Tedeschi, 2006) can include improved relationships, new possibilities for one’s life, a greater appreciation for life, a greater sense of personal strength, and spiritual development.

While the general population isn’t confronted with traumatic events regularly, individuals such as firefighters, policemen, and EMTs are. But what factors foster the emergence of PTG? To answer this question, a systematic search of four major database (Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, and ScienceDirect) was conducted.

Some of the factors that promoted PTG included sharing negative emotions, cognitive processing or rumination, positive coping strategies (e.g. positive reappraisal), personality traits (e.g. agreeableness), experiencing multiple sources of trauma, event centrality, resilience, and growth actions. Other factors may be mediators of PTG rather than direct influencers (e.g., seeking social support coping, social support, optimism, etc.). Finally, studies show a positive correlation between PTG and support for aggressive behaviour suggesting that growth may be more nuanced than originally thought. By exploring systematically the factors that foster PTG in trauma-exposed professionals, we hope this systematic review would both provide avenues for future research and help design news methods of prevention and intervention for first responders

v)  Howlett, N., Bottoms, L., Chater, A., Clark, A.B., David, L., Irvine, K., Jones, A., Jones, J., Mengoni1, S.E., Murdoch, J., Pond, M., Sharma, S., Sims, E.J., Turner, D.A., Wellsted, D., Wilson, J., Wyatt, S. and Trivedi, D. (2021) A randomised controlled trial of energetic activity for depression in young people (READY): a multi-site feasibility trial protocol. Pilot and Feasibility Studies.  7(6).  Online:

Background: Prevalence of depression is increasing in young people, and there is a need to develop and evaluate behavioural interventions which may provide benefits equal to or greater than talking therapies or pharmacological alternatives. Exercise could be beneficial for young people living with depression, but robust, large-scale trials of effectiveness and the impact of exercise intensity are lacking. This study aims to test whether a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of an intervention targeting young people living with depression is feasible by determining whether it is possible to recruit and retain young people, develop and deliver the intervention as planned, and evaluate training and delivery.
Methods: The design is a three-arm cluster randomised controlled feasibility trial with embedded process evaluation. Participants will be help-seeking young people, aged 13–17 years experiencing mild to moderate low mood or depression, referred from three counties in England. The intervention will be delivered by registered exercise professionals, supported by mental health support workers, twice a week for 12 weeks. The three arms will be high-intensity exercise, low-intensity exercise, and a social activity control. All arms will receive a ‘healthy living’ behaviour change session prior to each exercise session and the two exercise groups are energy matched. The outcomes are referral, recruitment, and retention rates; attendance at exercise sessions; adherence to and ability to reach intensity during exercise sessions; proportions of missing data; adverse events, all measured at baseline, 3, and 6 months; resource use; and reach and representativeness.
Discussion: UK National Health Service (NHS) policy is to provide young people with advice about using exercise to help depression but there is no evidence-based exercise intervention to either complement or as an alternative to medication or talking therapies. UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines suggest that exercise can be an effective treatment, but the evidence base is relatively weak. This feasibility trial will provide evidence about whether it is feasible to recruit and retain young people to a full RCT to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an exercise intervention for depression

vi)  Pierce, M., Hope, H., Ford, T., Hatch, S., Hotopf, M., John, A., Kontopantelis, E., Webb, R., Wessely, S., McManus. S. and Abel, K.M. (2020) Mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal probability sample survey of the UK population.  Lancet Psychiatry 7. 883–92.  Online:

Background: The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on population mental health is of increasing global concern. We examine changes in adult mental health in the UK population before and during the lockdown.
Methods: In this secondary analysis of a national, longitudinal cohort study, households that took part in Waves 8 or 9 of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) panel, including all members aged 16 or older in April, 2020, were invited to complete the COVID-19 web survey on April 23–30, 2020. Participants who were unable to make an informed decision as a result of incapacity, or who had unknown postal addresses or addresses abroad were excluded. Mental health was assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Repeated cross-sectional analyses were done to examine temporal trends. Fixed-effects regression models were fitted to identify within-person change compared with preceding trends.
Findings: Waves 6–9 of the UKHLS had 53 351 participants. Eligible participants for the COVID-19 web survey were from households that took part in Waves 8 or 9, and 17 452 (41·2%) of 42 330 eligible people participated in the web survey. Population prevalence of clinically significant levels of mental distress rose from 18·9% (95% CI 17·8–20·0) in 2018–19 to 27·3% (26·3–28·2) in April, 2020, one month into UK lockdown. Mean GHQ-12 score also increased over this time, from 11·5 (95% CI 11·3–11·6) in 2018–19, to 12·6 (12·5–12·8) in April, 2020. This was 0·48 (95% CI 0·07–0·90) points higher than expected when accounting for previous upward trends between 2014 and 2018. Comparing GHQ-12 scores within individuals, adjusting for time trends and significant predictors of change, increases were greatest in 18–24-year-olds (2·69 points, 95% CI 1·89–3·48), 25–34-year-olds (1·57, 0·96–2·18), women (0·92, 0·50–1·35), and people living with young children (1·45, 0·79–2·12). People employed before the pandemic also averaged a notable increase in GHQ-12 score (0·63, 95% CI 0·20–1·06).
Interpretation:  By late April, 2020, mental health in the UK had deteriorated compared with pre-COVID-19 trends. Policies emphasising the needs of women, young people, and those with preschool aged children are likely to play an important part in preventing future mental illness.

vii)  Agenda (2020) Often Overlooked: Young women, poverty and self-harm.  A briefing by Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, and the National Centre for Social Research.  NatCen: London

Summary of report
Agenda draw upon new analysis of data carried out in three surveys (2000, 2007 and 2014) of 16-74 year olds living in England. Their briefing suggests that:

  • Since the year 2000, rates of self-harm in England have increased across the population; and in young women they have tripled.
  • Self-harm is more common among people who face poverty and disadvantage. This seems to be particularly the case for women.
  • Young women living in the lowest income households are five times more likely to self-harm than those in the highest income homes.
  • Most people who self-harm receive no medical or psychological help as a result, and this is particularly true for young people.

From their summary page, Agenda argue that: A cross-government response to prevention and support, that takes account of gender, poverty and disadvantage, is needed. 

viii)  Niederkrotenthaler, T., Gunnell, D., Arensman, E., Pirkis, J., Appleby, L., Hawton, K., John, A., Kapur, N., Khan, M., O’Connor, R.C., Platt, S. and the International COVID-19 Suicide Prevention Research Collaboration. (2021) Suicide Research, Prevention, and COVID-19: Towards a Global Response and the Establishment of an International Research Collaboration.  Crisis. 41(5), 321–330

Niederkrotenthaler et al. offer a cogent and timely case for the establishment of an international research collaboration with regard to suicide research and prevention at a time of Covid-19.  Their editorial pulls to the importance and relevance of an evidence-based response that focuses upon assessing the impact of Covid-19 upon both mental health, and upon suicide and suicidal behaviour. The authors attend to a number of research considerations that have emerged due to the pandemic, before clearly setting out a case for international collaboration. It is concluded that such a collaboration represents an important step forward in better understanding the impact of suicide and suicidal behaviour at this time, and an appeal is made for colleagues to register suicide prevention research studies to facilitate this initiative:

Other News

i) Following the successful online two half days conference on ‘Shared Decision Making 2020 and Beyond’, we attach a link to the website which has the recordings of all presentations, and slides of our distinguished speakers. You can take a look at the resources here:

The comments and questions are also included on the website.

If you wish to contribute to the website, please contact Prof. Shula Ramon (

ii)  Recovery stories:
Mike Slade’s Narrative Experiences Online (NEON) study has launched www.recoverystories.uka new interactive website which provides online access to mental health recovery stories. We have collected hundreds of stories from around the world, in text, video and audio form, and preliminary evidence suggests that these stories can help people feel connected to others including the storyteller. We are now running three trials using this website, the largest of which is called the NEON Trial.

RRN members can help us in two ways:

1.  Recruitment and participation
The NEON Trial is currently recruiting people who:-

  • Have experienced psychosis or psychosis-like experiences in the past 5 years
  • Have experienced mental health distress in the past 6 months
  • Live in England
  • Aged over 18 years
  • Have access to the internet
  • Can provide informed consent

If you or someone else you know meet the inclusion criteria, more information and eligibility checking can be accessed here www.recoverystories.ukWe would also like to recruit people who have cared for others experiencing mental health problems.

2.  Promotion of the Trial.  Would you help us to promote the NEON Trial through your networks? You can use any of the publicity materials available at or just tweet:
Can real-life mental health recovery stories help you with your own mental health? Access hundreds of recovery stories in the NEON Trial. Help researchers @InstituteMH understand the benefits of accessing other people’s recovery narratives. See

Follow us on Twitter (@neontrials), Instagram (@neontrials) and Facebook today!

iii)  Coronavirus and Mental Health (information)
The following links are intended to illustrate the range of information and advice that is currently available with regard to Covid-19.  It is neither exhaustive, nor is it arranged in any particular order. Apologies for any obvious omissions.

World Health organisation
Social Care Institute for Excellence
Centre for Mental Health
Mental health Foundation
Carers UK
National Service User Network
British Psychological Society
British Association of Social Workers
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Royal college of Nursing
Royal College of Occupational Therapists

iv)  Shula Ramon and Tony Sparkes co-produce the RRN monthly e-bulletin. Please email if there is anything you would like included in the next issue, as we are keen to receive and advertise more news, articles and website references. Information can be posted to either Shula or Tony at the following: