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Online recovery stories research receives glowing support

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During lockdown the importance of connectivity is heightened and practical alternatives to face to face contact need to be explored so health services can continue. Mental health services in Cornwall are embracing a research study that gives participants access to a global database of first hand real life recovery stories.

The Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust Clinical Research Team is currently recruiting to the NEON (Narrative Experiences Online) Trial. The research trial is run by the University of Nottingham and is funded by the NIHR. It looks to understand if having access to real life recovery stories is helpful for people with experience of psychosis. The recovery stories have been gathered internationally from people with lived experience of mental health conditions.

Alan Beattie, Assistant Research Practitioner, is keen to share research opportunities such as the NEON Trial with service users and sees the value sharing real life recovery stories can have. He said:

“We are always looking for innovative ways to support each other and our patients. If it’s going to help someone then I’m happy to share it. It’s really important that people feel connected.”

Recovery stories are first-person lived experience accounts, and include elements of both adversity/struggle and of strength/success/survival related at least in part to mental health problems, and which refer to events or actions over a period of time. Participants on the NEON Trial have access to over 400 stories gathered from across the world. After reading each story, they complete a short survey about the impact the story had.

Theo Tomlinson has been actively involved in the study, reading his first recovery story and it had a big impact, as he describes:

‘I could never have expected how impactful seeing my first recovery story would be. I felt a deep sense of recognition from her sharing and without exaggeration made a personally and quietly life changing and affirming connection. It was just what I needed to hear, when I was ready to hear it.’

Prof Mike Slade, who is running the trial, said:

“We really believe that stories can for some people be transformative, and all of the NEON team were delighted to hear that Theo found the NEON Intervention helpful. We hope that other participants will also experience a helpful connection with the stories we have collected.”

The study is currently open for recruitment so if you or someone you know is interested in getting involved please complete the eligibility-checking questions.