Kizzy Searle is a mental health consumer advisor for the Sydney Local Health District. She has lived experience of complex mental health needs, suicide, C-PTSD and psychosocial disability. Kizzy has engaged with a range of community and public mental health services for her own recovery and shares her experiences and recommendations through her advisory work. Kizzy is also a mental health and trauma speech pathologist and an investigator for the shared-care trial.Elena has a keen interest in providing peer led physical health support for people experiencing mental health challenges and is committed to reducing shame and anxiety around exercise. Diploma of Community Services, Bachelor of Psychology (Honours – Currently Completing)"RegPT, BPsyc, BExc&SprtSci, GCertOHS
Title: Lessons from a shared-care trial with mental-health services, consumers and GPs
Author(s): Stella Jun, Andy Simpson, Catherine Spooner, Snow Li, Mark Harris, Kizzy Searle, Andrew McDonald, Andrew Baillie, Ben Harris-Roxas, Michelle Cunich, Jane Taggert, Nathalie Hansen, Lisa Parcsi, Beatriz Lopez Portillo
Introduction: Communication between healthcare providers is essential for improving the wellbeing of people experiencing severe and enduring mental illness. The SHAReD Study investigates the use of an online shared care tool for enhanced care planning and communication between mental health services (MHS), general practitioners (GPs), and their shared consumers within Sydney Local Health District (SLHD). This study explores the barriers experienced by different stakeholder groups during the recruitment and baseline interview period.
Method: This qualitative process evaluation of the randomised controlled trial draws on reports and reflections from the SHAReD study research team between March 2022 and July 2023.
Results & Findings: The study identified barriers to recruitment and baseline survey faced by different stakeholder groups. Mental health services faced capacity challenges related to high staff turnover –during the pandemic. GPs had limited capacity to trial anything new following the COVID-19 response and many were reluctant to introduce external software due to data privacy concerns. For consumers, some expressed, pre-existing mistrust with healthcare systems and many did not have a regular GP. These recruitment and engagement challenges pre-empted multiple changes in strategy during the study recruitment period, many of which required ethics amendments and changes to the consent process. The recruitment period was extended from 3 months to 9 months to enable these changes to be implemented.
Discussion: The barriers identified in this study illustrate the challenges and complexities of implementing shared-care interventions in the mental health sector. They also highlight the impact of COVID-19 on mental health services and GPs, which may affect the care that consumers receive. The study underscores the importance of considering the perspectives of all stakeholders. This may involve addressing the concerns and challenges faced by different stakeholder groups, including capacity issues, data privacy concerns, and the need for flexible recruitment and engagement strategies.