Approximately 1 in 100 people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
Bipolar disorder, previously known as “manic depression”, is a disorder characterised by extreme mood swings, alternating between mania (extreme highs) and depression (extreme lows). People suffering from BD can also show signs of psychosis. Psychosis is a serious mental disorder in which thought and emotions are impaired, causing a person to lose touch with reality. These conditions are thought to affect more than 6 million people in the UK alone. Many relatives of people with psychosis or BD provide a large amount of vital unpaid care, but at huge personal cost in terms of high levels of distress, a significant practical, financial and emotional burden, and increased use of healthcare services. The UK Government recognises the need to support relatives in a caring role and NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommends that this is done by providing them with structured information and support. However, evidence shows that relatives often are not able to access the information and support they need. A recent review of the quality of mental health services has shown that improving support for relatives should be a national priority. REACT is an online resource which has been developed to provide relatives with the information and support they need. It works by providing information about how best to cope with a relative suffering from BD or psychosis, as well as providing a support network with other people in a similar situation. The aim of this study is to find out whether the REACT online toolkit is an effective and cost-effective way of supporting relatives of people suffering from BD or psychosis.
- Lobban F, Robinson H, Appelbe D, et al. Protocol for an online randomised controlled trial to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a peer-supported selfmanagement intervention for relatives of people with psychosis or bipolar disorder: Relatives Education And Coping Toolkit (REACT). BMJ Open 2017;7:e016965.