Peer-supported Open Dialogue – advising on the first national conference

jag press & publicity was approached by Dr Russell Razzaque, Consultant Psychiatrist at North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), to support and advise him, and NELFT press office, on publicity for the first national Peer-supported Open Dialogue conference on Wednesday 11 March, 2015.

Open Dialogue is a humanistic approach to mental healthcare that was pioneered in Finland and has since been taken up in a number of countries around the world, including much of the rest of Scandinavia, Germany and some states in America.

Peer-supported Open Dialogue is a significant departure from the current 1:1 based services used in the UK, yet the results observed so far in other countries are startling. Current data shows that 72% of those with an episode of psychosis, treated via an Open Dialogue approach, returned to work or study within two years, despite significantly lower rates of medication and hospitalisation compared to treatment as usual.

Several NHS Trusts in the UK – including North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), North Essex, Nottinghamshire and Kent & Medway – are setting up pilot Peer-Supported Open Dialogue services over the next couple of years, where service user volunteers join the teams to help build social networks around patients who may lack much by way of network or family.┬áThe initiative, led by NELFT is part of a proposed multi-centre trial to build the evidence base for such services in a UK context, with the ultimate intention of enabling more wide scale take up across NHS services, should the outcome improvement and cost reductions seen in other countries remain consistent.

The day after the conference, The Guardian (online and printed edition) ran a letter signed by GPs, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and others about the quiet revolution in mental health taking place up and down the country. Read it here – The Guardian Online

Other pieces are expected in the nationals and trade press over the next few months.

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