Devon recruitment to research study hoping to reduce carers' distress

Posted in News on 14th June, 2016

A clinical research study is actively recruiting relatives and close friends of people with psychosis or bipolar disorder in Devon to test the effectiveness of a free online toolkit in reducing their distress.

REACT (Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit) is an online toolkit for relatives or close friends aged 16 or over of people with these mental health conditions. Potential participants must be able to understand written and verbal English with access to the internet. 

The toolkit contains: 

  • Information including a resource directory on a full range of support currently available to relatives or close friends with links to websites of the main national mental health organisations and how to access support through NHS health services
  • Advice on strategies to manage common problems
  • Stories from other relatives about their experiences
  • Additional support from a REACT supporter who is a trained relative; and 
  • An online forum for direct contact with other relatives. 

Devon Partnership NHS Trust is one of 48 sites in England currently recruiting people to REACT. Within six weeks of DPT opening the study 107 people have agreed to take part in the study. REACT is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme (14/49/34). The NIHR is the research arm of the NHS. 

Alice Garrood, Senior Research Facilitator at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, said: “There can be a huge impact emotionally, physically and financially on the lives of carers as a consequence of looking after someone with a mental health condition. However, nationally less than 10% of carers receive an assessment of their needs and even fewer receive a service to help or support them. 

“The hope is that the Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit will reduce distress and improve the wellbeing of relatives and close friends of people with psychosis or bipolar disorder.” People interested in hearing more about this study and potentially taking part in it should visit or call Alice direct on 01392 674117. 

REACT is led by researchers from Lancaster University, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool University and University College London. To contact the research team for this study email 

Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them. This might involve hallucinations where a person hears, sees and in some cases feels, smells or tastes things that aren’t there or delusions where a person believes things that when examined rationally are obviously untrue. These symptoms can severely disrupt perception, thinking, emotion and behaviour. 

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects mood from manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high) to depressive episodes (feeling low). Often people with bipolar disorder also experience symptoms of psychosis