Panel Paper: ‘When the More Is Not Necessarily the Better' in Mental Health Service Delivery: An Experimental Evaluation of the Program Get Active! in Spain

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Madison B - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jordi Sanz, Catalan Institute of Public Policy Evaluation and Anna Segura, Institut Català d'Avaluació de Polítiques Públiques

Improvements in the treatment of mental disorders have led to a decrease in the use of hospital services, which have been replaced by a community-focused approach. Even if this new approach has been able to improve the quality of life of people suffering from mental disorders, this has also implied a greater co-responsibility for relatives who need to take care of the affected person. Moreover, in those cases in which caregivers do not have enough information and skills to provide correct support to the patient, this new approach can even lead to a worsening of the quality of life of both, the person with a mental disorder and her caregiver.

In the benchmark of the project Activa't (Get Active!), promoted by the Catalan government, Federació Salut Mental Catalunya and Federació Veus, a randomly selected group of 111 families with a person with a mental disorder (out of 224 candidate families) were offered threefold support services for the patient and her main caregiver. Firstly, psychoeducational training. Secondly, a module aimed at empowering both, the patient and the caregiver, to become active health agents in the recovery process of the affected person. And finally, peer support groups. By empowering the person with a mental disorder and her family, this program aims at helping patients move forward in their recovery, as well as at reducing the care burden of the family.

Results concerning program effects on personal recovery of people suffering from a mental disorder and the burden of care of relatives are currently being analysed and interpreted.

One aspect to be taken into account is the low participation of selected families in the bundle of activities, in part given its length and intensity. Therefore, we suggest that a more flexible, modular approach which would allow families to design their own bundle of support services according to their needs could be more suitable to treat families with a member affected by a mental health disorder