The RECO study: Realist Evaluation of service models and systems for CO- existing serious mental health and substance use conditions.
  The impact of serious mental health difficulties can be severe, long-lasting, and can seriously affect peoples' lives over a long period of time. It is common for people who experience serious mental health difficulties to have problems with drinking too much alcohol and/or taking drugs, which can add to the mental health difficulties. Mental health services do not always have the skills or treatment available to help people with their alcohol and/or drug use, and alcohol and drug services are not always skilled to help people if they also have mental health difficulties. When developing new services for those who experience both severe mental health and alcohol and/or drugs difficulties, people look to government policy and guidance to help decide what might work best. However, at the moment we do not have a good understanding about what types of services would be most helpful. Therefore the aim of the research is to find out what is most helpful about the current services aimed at people with severe mental health difficulties and alcohol or drug problems. We would also like to find out what it is about effective services that helps people to stay in contact with their workers, get the right help they need in order to achieve their goals. We are a team of health researchers and people with lived experience who have experience of developing and testing treatments for people who experience severe mental health difficulties and also use drug and/or alcohol. Some of us are also psychologists and nurses who have worked in mental health and drug and alcohol services and one of the team has lived experience of using mental health services. We will work with a group of people who have experience of severe mental health difficulties and alcohol and drug use throughout the study, to ensure that we are asking the questions that are important to them. We will also ask their advice on the best ways to recruit people to take part and to help us understand the findings of the research. We will be collecting information in three stages. Stage one will look at published research studies in order to find out what these tell us about the types of services that might work. Stage two will be a survey of the services in England, so that we can see how many there are, and what those services do to help. Stage 3 will involve stakeholder events in 5 locations. We will talk to service users, their carers and staff in mental health and alcohol and drug services to ask them about how local services works, including what aspects seem to work really well and what aspects not so well. We will also ask whether some services work better for certain types of people, for example some services may not work so well for women, people who are homeless or those who have been in prison. in addition to these events we will recruit and interview 10-15 people who represent groups that often don't have a voice. We will use all that we learn from the three stages of the study to help people who fund and provide health services to improve these services. We will also make sure our findings are shared with people in the department of health who develop policies and guidance that will be used in the future when new services are developed. We hope that the results will help service providers to offer people who experience severe mental health difficulties who also use alcohol and/or drugs get the right treatment and support in order to meet their goals.

  • Start Date:

    1 January 2020

  • End Date:

    30 September 2022

  • Activity Type:

    Externally Funded Research

  • Funder:

    National Institute for Health Research

  • Value:


Project Team