International journal publishes social connectedness study

One of our children’s psychologists Dr Sam Hartley has had a paper Social Connectedness (2)published in international journal, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The paper focuses on a piece of work to evaluate whether a tool called the social connectedness scale can improve the recovery of young people with a mental health condition.

The work has been led by Sam and her colleagues Dr Gordon Milson, clinical psychologist, and Bridie Whatson-Lawler, assistant clinical psychologist. All three work within our Healthy Young Minds services.

The symptoms that young people experience are already assessed as a way to track progress.  The tool builds on this by encouraging mental health professionals to look into the impact of a young person’s relationship with their friends, family and wider community.  This is known as social connectedness.

The important link between social connectedness and wellbeing is becoming more widely recognised. If someone has trouble making and keeping friends, or doesn’t have support network at home, it often has a negative impact on their mental health. Likewise, if they have a positive relationship with those around them, it can have a positive effect.

Sam and her team are hoping this tool will provide professionals with a simple way to measure social connectedness and that it will be become another standard part of the process for assessing a young person’s experiences.

The project involved 92 young people from our Hope and Horizon units (our hospital based units for young people).  Alongside other assessments, they were asked to complete the social connectedness scale.

The results of their study were positive; highlighting that the scale can offer another way to keep track of young peoples’ experience and progress, which in turn will help to support their recovery.

You can read the paper here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1359104518807745?journalCode=ccpa

Young people’s mental health research unit

Sam’s evaluation project forms part of our young people’s mental health research unit, which launched on 29 November 2018. 

Sam is part of a wider team of experts, who set up the unit. The aim is to use research to improve the care and support provided to young people, so they can reach their full potential.

You can find out more about the research unit at www.penninecare.nhs.uk/ypmh-research-unit