Piloting the Sababu Intervention in the wake of Ebola

Meredith NewlinMeredith Newlin, Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s, reports from Sierra Leone. Her post incorporates photographs of the Sababu Training Programme in action last month. (1,386 words)

The Ebola outbreak, which reached Sierra Leone in May 2014, quickly became a global health crisis and caused significant psychosocial distress and a disintegration of communities across West Africa. The case numbers are now dropping and Sierra Leoneans talk about the ‘aftermath’ and a shift towards a recovery phase. However, amid a resource-limited system there is still an urgent call to address the psychosocial needs of individuals and families by enhancing the skills and capacity of the existing workforce. Continue reading

Connecting people at King’s

Hannah Reidy

Meredith Newlin

Meredith Newlin

Meredith Newlin and Hannah Reidy from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London recently joined with the rest of the Connecting People Intervention team (from the University of Central Lancashire and the University of York) for a morning event at King’s to raise awareness and share experiences of the intervention.

Around 50 people attended the event from a range of backgrounds and services interested in this model of practice. Many of the attendees were new to the Connecting People Intervention (CPI) model and agency representatives from the pilot study also shared their experience, culminating in the room being filled with a breadth of perspectives and opinions, which lead to engaging discussions throughout the day.

Attendees at the workshop at King's on 15 February

Attendees at the workshop held at King’s on 15 February

After an introduction to the policy and research that fuelled the development of the intervention model, attendees were split into groups of workers who had experience of the intervention and those new to the study. This was the first time we’ve brought workers from the different intervention pilot sites together, and so this event served as a valuable opportunity to learn how other agencies are working with the intervention. We held a group discussion from which the consensus was that the event had been useful and more networking opportunities should be organised, which we will endeavour to do.

‘I feel that I am in a privileged situation – that the use of the model in practice is nearly honed through our own good practice, however I have learnt a lot on how we can improve these practices even further and fully intend to cascade to my colleagues’—a member of a participating agency taking part in the workshop

The attendees who were new to the model were given a ‘potted training on the intervention’ – short bite-size bits of training extracted from training sessions that we had run for the pilot agencies. This was no mean feat – we covered two training exercises that would normally take up to half a day in only 40 minutes – however we feel that we gave a good taster of the training days, and certainly helped to bring the intervention alive and place it in the context of their practice.

Attendees working through materials at the workshop

Attendees working through materials at the workshop

‘Will use this model when commissioning for new services’a comment of one worker new to the CPI model

The final activity of the morning was a panel discussion. Panel members had first-hand experience of the intervention and came from diverse backgrounds, allowing them to answer adeptly all of the questions asked from the room. The panel were: Prof David Morris (P.I. on the Connecting People Study and chair, UCLan); Andrew Hodson (Arts and Media manager, BlueSCI); Audrey Gallier (Social worker: Derby City CMHS Early Intervention Service); and Dr Darren Craddock (Consultant Psychiatrist: Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust).

Panellists, including social worker Audrey Gallier, discuss the Connecting People Intervention

(l to r) Darren Craddock, Audrey Gallier, Andrew Hodson and David Morris discuss the Connecting People Intervention

‘How do you incorporate changes in practice from the CPI model into agency culture such that its principles are sustained beyond the period of the research itself?’—one of the questions raised by a participant at the event

Attendees certainly made use of the networking lunch at the end of the day and many contacts were made for future correspondence. The agencies working within the pilot study had created posters for the event which were displayed during the lunch and allowed an insight into exactly how they had fitted their practice to the intervention.

We were busy taking photos, but that was not the only media coverage of the event. Old Trafford Community Television filmed the morning to form the basis of some of the training materials that we will be producing to allow new agencies to start to use the intervention. In addition, Andy McNicoll from Community Care attended the event and wrote a piece for the magazine, ‘The model that’s ‘reinvigorating’ social work’s role in mental health’. Sadly one of the Principal Investigators of the study – Dr Martin Webber – was unable to attend the event due to illness but he keeps a very active blog of his own, which will give you more insight into his thoughts about the Connecting People Intervention.

Our team thoroughly enjoyed the morning and judging from the feedback it seems that the attendees felt the same! We will be evaluating the event and aim to hold something similar in the North of England later in the year.

Meredith Newlin and Hannah Reidy are both Research Fellows at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. Please visit the CPI study website for more, and see also the study newsletter, issue 2 of which was published earlier this month.