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Journal article

Debt advice: a missing dimension

Authors:
PALMER David, WHITE Sue E., HOLMES Gill
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Today, July 2008, pp.32-33.
Publisher:
Pavilion
Place of publication:
Hove

This article reports on a pilot study undertaken in Bexley and discusses the specific health issues of this group. Thirty adults with a mental health diagnosis, and who were receiving input from voluntary and/or community mental health services and had worries about existing debts, preventing debt or meeting mortgage or other loan repayments were referred to a debt specialist. The research highlights the link between the alleviation of financial problems via specialist debt advice and improvements in mental health.

Journal article

Getting to know you: reflections on a specialist independent mental health advocacy service for Bexley and Bromley residents in forensic settings

Authors:
PALMER David, et al
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Review Journal, 17(1), 2012, pp.5-13.
Publisher:
Emerald

From April 2009, statutory access to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) has been available to patients subject to certain aspects of the Mental Health Act 1983. IMHAs exist to help and support patients to understand and exercise their legal rights. The aim of this paper is to discuss an audit evaluation of a specialist independent mental health advocacy service provided by Mind based in the London Borough of Bexley. The audit included qualitative interviews with 10 long-term in-patient residents in 2 specialist forensic mental health and challenging behaviour units. The data collected were analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings are considered under the headings: developing trust; diversity; and wellbeing. They indicate that the service's approach, which combines formal advocacy methods with a proactive ethos, had a positive impact on engagement. The importance of trust in the relationships between advocates and service users was highlighted by the study. The audit also indicates a significant increase in self-reported wellbeing, self-efficacy and empowerment for participants.

Journal article

An exploration into the effectiveness of self-help CBT for mothers with mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety in the London Borough of Bexley

Authors:
PALMER David, et al
Journal article citation:
Journal of Children's Services, 7(3), 2012, pp.178-190.
Publisher:
Emerald

This study evaluated the impact of guided self-help cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for mothers with depression/anxiety undertaken in two Sure Start children's centres in the London Borough of Bexley. Twenty three participants who attended an initial appointment with a Psychological Well-being Practitioner were assessed and allocated to a guided self-help CBT intervention. Findings indicated that guided self-help CBT produced a significant clinical benefit for participants with mild to moderate depression/anxiety. Narratives with participants also highlighted improved confidence and self-esteem, positive thinking and better coping strategies, which may have a positive impact on their children and families. The authors concluded that the findings demonstrate the need to recognise and support the therapeutic social milieu, particularly in settings that are familiar and accessible.

Journal article

‘No one knows like we do’: the narratives of mental health service users trained as researchers

Authors:
PALMER David, et al
Journal article citation:
Journal of Public Mental Health, 8(4), December 2009, pp.18-28.
Publisher:
Emerald

This article describes a programme, financed by the Big Lottery Fund and a training grant from Bexley Care Trust, designed to empower service users to participate and contribute to a pilot research project. The projects aims were to work with, develop, train and support service users as researchers, in order to record the narratives of service users who have common experiences of mental health distress and treatment. The research development project set up an advisory group, created and developed a partnership with the University of Kent and provided workshops and training sessions to explore some of the principles of research and ethics. In addition, the group undertook a preliminary literature review, developed and refined a research questionnaire and piloted interviews with six service users. Many issues were raised and lessons learned during the planning and conduct of the project. This paper discusses the process and reflects on aspects of the project’s design and delivery. In addition, this paper highlights some of the difficulties in undertaking service user research and suggests recommendations as to how to overcome some of these complex issues.

Journal article

Face to face: a mentoring project for forced migrants

Author:
PALMER David
Journal article citation:
A Life in the Day, 11(4), November 2007, pp.16-21.
Publisher:
Emerald

Refugees and asylum seekers are vulnerable to mental health problems, and their difficulties are often made worse by the migration process itself. This article describes the Face to Face project, an innovative mentoring project, operated by the Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum (MRCF), which trains migrant qualified doctors to provide mentoring support to fellow refugees and asylum seekers experiencing mental distress.

Journal article

Caught between inequality and stigma: the impact of psychosocial factors and stigma on the mental health of Somali forced migrants in the London Borough of Camden

Author:
PALMER David
Journal article citation:
Diversity in Health and Social Care, 4(3), 2007, pp.177-191.
Publisher:
Radcliffe Publishing

This study was established to assess the impact that psychosocial factors have on the mental health of Somali refugees and how Somali people's perception of mental illness impacts on both community engagement and on accessing and utilising services. Information on service utilisation was drawn from secondary sources and data about users of a refugee centre in London. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of Somali forced migrants accessing the refugee service. The results indicate that the mental health of Somali refugees in Camden is shaped by social factors which characterise exile, and that access to health services is compounded by a preoccupation with post-migration stressors including immigration status, housing, social and socio-economic factors. In addition, Somali forced migrants make considerably less use of community groups due to stigma, which hinders the building of social capital for their members. This research adds to the knowledge base about good practice and service delivery.

Journal article

An exploration into the impact of the resettlement experience, traditional health beliefs and customs on mental ill-health and suicide rates in the Ethiopian community in London

Author:
PALMER David
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Migration Health and Social Care, 3(1), July 2007, pp.44-55.
Publisher:
Emerald

Forced migration and the resettlement experience combine to produce a set of social,, cultural, economic and psychological challenges for forced migrants which may affect integration, mental and physical health, and access to health and social care. This article reports on a pilot study consisting of interviews with an Ethiopian priest, community leaders and Ethiopians working in the community health sector with the aims of improving understanding of the issues, and to inform further study. Initial analysis suggests that this group faces multiple forms of disadvantage which affect mental health. A further interesting dynamic is the relation between lack of 'help seeking behaviour', due to cultural expectations and norms, and lack of access and engagement with Western treatments. Religious mechanisms and activities were also reported as bolstering coping mechanisms. Perhaps most significant was concern about the increasingly suicide rate among this group, many respondents suggesting a direct causal link between suicide and maladjustment in exile.

Journal article

Face to face

Author:
PALMER David
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Today, April 2007, pp.16-17.
Publisher:
Pavilion
Place of publication:
Hove

In October 2006 the Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum (MRCF) received 18-months funding from Capital Volunteering for a pan-London mentoring project for forced migrants with mental health problems. The project, called Face to Face, aims to train 20 migrant doctors to provide this mentoring. The author reports on the projects earlier successes.

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'Unheard voices': listening to refugees and asylum seekers in the planning and delivery of mental health service provision in London

Authors:
PALMER David, WARD Kim
Publisher:
Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health
Publication year:
2006
Pagination:
82p., bibliog.
Place of publication:
London

Noting that research into the mental health needs of asylum seekers and refugees has shown that they are likely to experience poorer mental health than native populations and are amongst the most vulnerable and socially excluded people in society, and that the Department of Health has identified Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as the most common problem among asylum seekers and refugees, this research aims to provide an insight into the views of potential and actual service users, exploring the views of service providers, including community groups and the voluntary sector, and the priorities of commissioners in order to draft a good practice guide on mental health provision for asylum seekers and refugees. The report includes an outline of the context and main themes in research on refugees and mental health, the study methodology and findings, and its recommendations in the form of a good practice guide discussing the main themes and priorities emerging from the service user interviews, partnership working, working holistically, accessibility and engagement, cultural sensitivity and understanding, care provision, and evaluation, consultation and planning and funding for future services.

Journal article

Bridging the gaps: refugee community organisations and the provision of mental health services in the London Borough of Camden, UK

Authors:
PALMER David, ALEMU Ermias, HOPWOOD Julian
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Migration Health and Social Care, 4(4), December 2008, pp.4-20.
Publisher:
Emerald

This research project explored how refugee community organisations (RCOs) could become more involved in the government's health agenda to improve the level of consultation and responsiveness in the design and provision of mental health services for ethnic minorities. The method involved a review of relevant literature, interviews with refugee community organisation leaders and community workers, and a survey of refugee service users' involvement with RCOs. The research found that the causes and effects of mental ill health in refugees as understood by interviewees were consistent with much of the literature in this area. The mental health needs of refugees are very similar across nationalities and ethnicities, and distinct from those of the general population and of other migrant groups. Appropriate responses, as understood by community leaders and professional community workers, are currently only partly and insufficiently provided by statutory health services, and there is extensive unmet need..

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