Research into Recovery and Wellbeing

A website about the work of the recovery research team at the Institute of Mental Health

The University of Nottingham

June 2020

Recovery Research Network eBULLETIN

June 2020


RRN Meetings

The 23rd meeting of the Recovery Research Network (RRN) was due to be hosted by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.  Due to the current developments with regard to Covid-19, this event has been cancelled.


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 ebulletins.


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 Health

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 ebulletin.  


RRN Membership Profile

Anyone who has an interest in recovery research can join the RRN, just fill in the online form available at:  If you would like to leave the RRN and have your details removed from our database, please email:


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 almost certain that traditional face-face conferencing/events will not be taking place in their ‘traditional’ format, certainly in the immediate future, please check with the organisers.  It may be that alternative or innovative platforms are being utilised to deliver such events going forward.  

Looking ahead, 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.


Papers and Publications 

In addition to peer-reviewed literature and work of a purely academic nature, the ebulletin 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)  Mazor, Y., Gelkopf, M., and Roe, D. (2020). Posttraumatic growth in psychosis: Challenges to the assumptive world. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(1) 3–10.



Objective: Research has shown high rates of exposure to trauma among people with serious mental illness (SMI). In addition, studies suggest that psychosis and mental illness-related experiences can be extremely traumatic and may lead to significant symptomatology. Indeed, overwhelming traumatic experiences may shatter people’s core beliefs about themselves, the world, and others. However, coping with adversity may also foster a unique outcome; namely posttraumatic growth (PTG). The experience of PTG is contingent on people’s ability to re-examine their core beliefs after trauma. Little is known about whether and how such core-belief re-examination is related to PTG among people with SMI and psychosis, specifically people who experience positive, negative, and general psychopathological symptoms (PANSS).

Method: For the purpose of this study, 121 participants were recruited from community mental health rehabilitation centers and administered trauma- and psychiatry-oriented questionnaires.

Results: In addition to high levels of traumatic exposure, we observed that people with SMI can experience PTG, which is mediated by re-examination of core beliefs, contingent on low levels of illness-related psychopathological symptoms.

Conclusion: The ability to challenge one’s world assumptions and re-establish a functional set of assumptions is critical to the development of PTG. In light of the high levels of posttraumatic comorbidity found in this population, psychiatric facilities should place greater emphasis on treating the traumatic aspects of SMI and on teaching and practicing effective strategies to re-evaluate life after trauma. 


ii)  Diers, L., Rydell, S.A., Watts, A. and Neumark-Sztainer, D.  (2020) A yoga-based therapy program designed to improve body image among an outpatient eating disordered population: program description and results from a mixed-methods pilot study. Eating

Disorders.  Online, 18th May 2020



Poor body image is a critical barrier to eating disorder recovery. This pilot project was designed as a feasibility study to examine a novel group-based, therapeutic yoga and body image program (YBI) for addressing negative body image in those clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and other specified feeding or eating disorder) receiving outpatient level treatment at an eating disorder treatment center located in Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota. Self-administered questionnaires were completed by 67 participants at the beginning and end of the 8-week series, to better understand the acceptability of the YBI program and its potential effects on body image and self-worth during outpatient eating disorder treatment. Quantitative survey questions assessed participants’ body image concerns, while open-ended questions probed participants’ experiences and the perceived impact of the yoga program on their body image. After completion of the yoga program, mean item scores on the body image concern survey improved: increases ranged from 0.3 to 0.8 points on a 5-point scale. In open-ended questions, participants described many positive changes to their body image. Participants reported that the yoga program improved their self-acceptance, self-awareness, confidence, emotional and physical strength, and was a positive form of release. Participants also discussed physical and emotional challenges of the yoga program and how they contributed to self-judgment, vulnerability, and confrontation of uncomfortable feelings. The results of this pilot study are promising and warrant consideration of more rigorous study designs to explore the potential of a body image specific therapeutic yoga program to aid those in eating disorder treatment to improve body image disturbances.


iii)  Brinchmann, B., Widding-Havneraas, T., Modini, M., Rinaldi, M., Moe, C.F.,

McDaid, D., Park, A-L., Killackey, E., Harvey, S.B., Mykletun, A.,  (2020)  A meta-regression

of the impact of policy on the efficacy of individual placement and support.  Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 141(3)  206–220



Objective: Individual placement and support (IPS) has shown consistently better outcomes on competitive employment for patients with severe mental illness than traditional vocational rehabilitation. The evidence for efficacy originates from few countries, and generalization to different countries has been questioned. This has delayed implementation of IPS and led to requests for country-specific RCTs. This meta‐analysis examines if evidence for IPS efficacy can be generalized between rather different countries.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines to identify RCTs. Overall efficacy was established by meta‐analysis. The generalizability of IPS efficacy between countries was analysed by random‐effects meta‐regression, employing country‐ and date‐specific contextual data obtained from the OECD and the World Bank.

Results:  The systematic review identified 27 RCTs. Employment rates are more than doubled in IPS compared with standard vocational rehabilitation (RR 2.07 95% CI 1.82–2.35). The efficacy of IPS was marginally moderated by strong legal protection against dismissals. It was not moderated by regulation of temporary employment, generosity of disability benefits, type of integration policies, GDP, unemployment rate or employment rate for those with low education.

Conclusions:  The evidence for efficacy of IPS is very strong. The efficacy of IPS can be generalized between countries.


iv)  Kopelovich, S.L., Monroe‑DeVita, M., Buck, B.E., Brenner, C., Moser, L., Jarskog, L.F., Harker, S. and Chwastiak, L.A.  (2020)  Community mental health care delivery during the COVID‑19 pandemic: practical strategies for improving care for people

with serious mental illness.  Community Mental Health Journal. Online 19th June 2020



The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a formidable challenge to care continuity for community mental health clients with serious mental illness and for providers who have had to quickly pivot the modes of delivering critical services. Despite these challenges, many of the changes implemented during the pandemic can and should be maintained. These include offering a spectrum of options for remote and in-person care, greater integration of behavioural and physical healthcare, prevention of viral exposure, increased collaborative decision-making related to long-acting injectable and clozapine use, modifying safety plans and psychiatric advance directives to include new technologies and broader support systems, leveraging natural supports, and integration of digital health interventions. This paper represents the authors’ collaborative attempt to both reflect the changes to clinical practice we have observed in CMHCs across the US during this pandemic and to suggest how these changes can align with best practices identified in the empirical literature.

Whilst not explicit in the abstract, (although evident in the key words) the following article specifically targets mental health recovery as an example of a values-based approach within human service organisations (HSOs).  A case is made for the relevance of leaders with social work training to the success of HSOs


v)  Choy-Brown, M., Stanhope, V., Wackstein, N. and Cole, H.D. (2020)  Do Social Workers lead differently?  Examining associations with leadership style and organisational factors.  Human Service Organisations: Management, Leadership and Governance.  Online, 7th June 2020.



What training leaders need to successfully shepherd high quality human service delivery remains less understood. This study aims to evaluate associations between social work training, leadership style, and organizational factors. Participants included leaders (N = 49) and employees (N = 224) working in 10 behavioural health organizations who completed a survey.  Hierarchical linear models were used to analyse multilevel associations. Analyses indicated that leaders with social work training were rated higher in transformational leadership and organizational factors (e.g., lesser stress) on average within both samples. Findings begin an empirical argument for the value of social work leaders for the success of human service organizations.


Other News / Resources


i)  Dr Juliana Onwumere, senior lecturer and consultant clinical psychologist, writes out of Kings College London to encourage participation in a new survey exploring carers' experiences during covid-19.  More information and the survey itself can be found here:


Note:  When following the above link, please click the blue button at the bottom left to access the next page.


ii)  Recovery stories

Mike Slade’s Narrative Experiences Online (NEON) study has launched a 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 ebulletin. 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: