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The Community Navigator Study: results from a feasibility randomised controlled trial of a programme to reduce loneliness for people with complex anxiety or depression

Author(s)

BRYNMOR Lloyd-Evans, et al

Publisher(s):

Plos Publications

Background: Loneliness is common among people with mental health problems and predicts poorer recovery from depression and anxiety. Needs for support with loneliness and social relationships are often under-addressed in mental health services. The Community Navigator programme was designed to reduce loneliness for adults (aged 18 and above) with complex depression or anxiety who were using secondary mental health services. Acceptability and feasibility of the programme and a trial evaluation were tested in a feasibility randomised controlled trial with qualitative evaluation. Methods: Forty participants with depression or anxiety using secondary mental health services were recruited from mental health services in two London sites and randomised to receive: the Community Navigator programme over six months in addition to routine care (n = 30); or routine care (n = 10). Measures of loneliness, depression, other clinical and social outcomes and service use were collected at baseline and six-months follow-up. Levels of engagement in the programme and rates of trial recruitment and retention were assessed. Programme delivery was assessed through session logs completed by Community Navigators. The acceptability of the programme was explored through qualitative interviews (n = 32) with intervention group participants, their family and friends, programme providers and other involved staff. Results: Forty participants were recruited in four months from 65 eligible potential participants asked. No one withdrew from the trial. Follow-up interviews were completed with 35 participants (88%). Process records indicated the programme was delivered as intended: there was a median of seven meetings with their Community Navigator (of a maximum ten) per treatment group participant. Qualitative interviews indicated good acceptability of the programme to stakeholders, and potential utility in reducing loneliness and depression and anxiety. Conclusions: A definitive, multi-site randomised controlled trial is recommended to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Community Navigator programme for people with complex anxiety and depression in secondary mental health services. (Edited publisher abstract)


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