Introduction

Loneliness can affect people’s quality of life, physical and mental health and impede recovery for people with anxiety and depression. Social prescribing and “navigation” (signposting and support) programmes to reduce loneliness, and thus improve other outcomes, are promising but lack robust evaluation.

This project aims to develop and test a navigation programme to reduce loneliness for people with complex depression or anxiety.

With reference to current programmes, consultation with social navigation experts, service users and practitioners, we will adapt a programme of navigation support. Following preliminary testing, we will conduct a feasibility randomised trial with 40 mental health service users with anxiety or depression. Treatment group participants (n=30) will receive 10 meetings with a “community navigator” over 6 months, to review relationships and activities and develop community connections. Control group participants (n=10) will receive treatment as usual. Loneliness, social support, activity, mood and service use will be evaluated at baseline and 6-month follow-up. Qualitative interviews with participants and other stakeholders will explore experience of the programme and mechanisms of effect.

The study will yield a manualised intervention and navigator training programme, evidence about feasibility and acceptability of the programme and trial process, and tested procedures for a future, definitive trial.

The Community Navigators Study: loneliness in people with complex anxiety or depression
( https://www.sscr.nihr.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/SSCR-research-findings_RF085.pdf )
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