Study Outputs

View our current and planned outputs.

Protocol Paper Published

Our protocol paper is published in the journal BMJOpen! It outlines why and how we'll conduct the study, analyse the data, and publish the results. To see it, click the button below.

View Protocol Paper

Superuser's Experiences of Mental Health Forums

Postgraduate researcher Catherine Liberty won Best Poster at the FHM PGR Symposium for her work on superuser's experiences of online mental health forums.

View Superuser Poster

1) For people with mental health difficulties, referrers, and commissioners

We will create knowledge exchange videos and animation tools

These tools will widen access and promote greater uptake through a better understanding of the role of online mental health communities and how they work. Aimed at commissioners, referrers, and the general population, these will describe how online communities work, possible benefits, for who, and how to identify safe and supportive communities.

2) For community moderators

We will create e-learning curricula and a Community of Practice.

The E-learning curricula will train and support moderators in reflexive practice including: understanding the moderator role; ethics of moderation; encouraging activity; understanding mental health; spotting moments of change (introductory linguistic analysis); managing challenging situations; widening access and welcoming diversity; identifying and managing risks; looking after yourself; role of supervision & peer support; signposting; continuing professional development (CPD). The content will draw on challenges described by moderators during our interviews, and practical case examples of ways to manage these. Suggested strategies will be piloted in a “sandpit” community by our co-design team, and Community of Practice moderators. Our training will be theory driven and focus specifically on issues relevant to moderation in health communities, distinguishing it from any existing moderator training we could identify that was aimed at online communities to build commercial brands.

The Community of Practice (CoP) for moderators will aim to build capacity through facilitating mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared practice. Such support is crucial to continuing professional development, and to prevent compassion fatigue and burnout. CoPs cannot be “set-up” but come to life through the process of “thinking together”. Our aim is to create the context that could facilitate this process, inviting all the moderators involved in our study, and providing a safe online space for the community to evolve from the outset of the study.

3) For community providers/hosts, commissioners, and policy makers:

We will provide best practice design principles and the resource requirements for implementing these.

We will create a standardised community characterisation and evaluation framework, and methodological guidance on how to evaluate online mental health communities.

Best practice design principles for online mental health communities will widen access, maximise positive impacts, and minimise harms. This guidance will provide 1) High level design principles to guide community design and moderation. 2) Practical guidance for implementing design features to improve the usefulness and safety of online communities 3) Examples of best practice and case studies on community design and moderation practices. The resource requirements to implement these design principles will be based on the disaggregation of the programme theories into resources and reasoning. This will provide information on the resource configuration necessary to provide safe a and effective online community.

A standardised community characterisation and evaluation framework based on the best practice design principles (i.e. consistent and detailed information about each community) will focus on the features identified as crucial to the triggering of underlying causal mechanisms. Need for this framework has been identified by NHSE to support standardised evaluation and comparison of communities during commissioning.

Methodological guidance on how to evaluate online mental health communities will be based on methodological insights from carrying out this study. This will provide guidance for both evaluation of effectiveness and considerations for future economic evaluations.

4) For further theory and practice development:

We will develop a Programme theory and evidence-based tools for online mental health communities.

These will be relevant to the wider research and practise, such as in online health communities of other health conditions, in other countries, and to offline peer-to-peer support.