Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine

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Helping relationships for patients with psychosis

Centre for Psychiatry

Funding Body: National Institute of Health Research
Project Investigator: Stefan Priebe


People with severe mental health disorders such as psychosis have minimal close relationships and report feeling lonely and socially isolated.

Programmes that foster social relationships such as befriending schemes and peer support have been found to decrease their social isolation and improve their subjective wellbeing, functioning and self-esteem [1].

However, the ingredients of helping relationships for patients with severe mental health disorder are quite unclear.

This project aims to understand the underlying psychosocial processes of helping relationships and to determine whether social (re-) engagement for patients with psychosis can be targeted and facilitated as a new way for patient recovery.

Activities & Output

This research project will use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to answer our aims. We will initially conduct a conceptual review on psychosocial processes in mental health, and then carry out in-depth interviews for patients with schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorders.

Data will also be collected from the naturally occurring interactions (e.g. patient-clinician; patient-befriender) to further aid the identification of relevant processes in helping relationships. This information will help to guide future interactions for those engaged in a relationship with individuals with severe mental illness.

This study is funded by the National Institute of Health Research.

For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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