CRISP conference Glasgow August 2019

Inside Strathclyde Landmark international conference with Yale and New York Universities

Following a successful event in New York last month, Strathclyde’s Centre for Health Policy has hosted another major international conference, in Glasgow, to celebrate the achievements of the Citizenship, Recovery and Inclusive Society Partnership (CRISP).

The transatlantic partnership, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, connects leading EU and US partners to build upon state-of-the-art knowledge and research in the key dimensions of social inclusion and mental health; citizenship, recovery, stigma and public policy.

Involving staff and PhD students from Social Work and Social Policy, Education and Psychological Sciences and Health, this major international programme includes New York University, Yale University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Mental Health Foundation, Ulm University and the Mental Health Finland - all collaborating to tackle health and social inequalities for people experiencing mental ill health.

The aim of this two-day conference at the end of August (led by Emma Miller, Gillian MacIntyre Nicola Cogan and Neil Quinn from the Centre for Health Policy), was to focus on lessons for policy makers and practitioners in the field of mental health. Delegates had the opportunity to hear about the major findings from the CRISP research, advocacy and arts endeavours whilst conference contributors came from a diverse range of backgrounds including academics, practitioners and people with lived experience of using services.

Recovery and citizenship were the key themes of the conference and whilst each day had a distinct focus, a shared concern emerged to develop recovery and citizen-based practice which promotes the voice, agency and participation of people using mental health services.

A successful transatlantic partnership

Neil Quinn, Co-Director, Centre for Health, and Principal Investigator for CRISP, opened the event by highlighting the programme’s achievements: since 2016 it has led 80 international exchanges of academics, PhD students and policy makers; held 20 events including conferences, policy forums and public arts events; and has led to a series of publications, research funding proposals and policy reports.

He said: “The CRISP programme has not only had a tremendous impact on the international research agenda for people experiencing social exclusion as a result of mental health problems but also had a direct impact on policy and practice through supporting the development of innovative approaches to tackling social exclusion.

“The Strathclyde Centre for Health Policy has been proud to lead this initiative that has brought such excellent opportunities for partners and individual staff and students involved in the programme.”

CRISP has had considerable impact in research, policy and practice terms:

  • Helped to bring service users, practitioners and academics together to undertake joint research at national and international level
  • Published a wide range of journal articles in high quality peer reviewed journals
  • Colleagues at Strathclyde and Yale have secured funding to complete research on citizenship that is shaping practice on the ground
  • Strathclyde’s new Centre for Doctoral Training in Public Health and Health Policy has enabled students to undertake comparative research and spend up to a year at New York University or Yale. This is being scaled up as we go forward

Developing citizenship-based practice

The conference also saw a range of international contributors share with the audience developments around citizenship-based practice in their own countries, drawing on research evidence to identify the key benefits and challenges of this approach.

Emma Miller and Gillian MacIntyre, School of Social Work and Social Policy and Centre for Health Policy fellows said: “It was great to engage with a diverse audience, hearing testimony from practitioners about how they want to be supported to have the enabling relationships that they know work best and to learn about their experiences of developing citizenship-based practice for those who have experienced exclusion.

"We are also very hopeful of getting funding to take forward research that builds on this, with a particular focus on recording and person-centred practice”.

Dr Nicola Cogan, School of Psychological Sciences and Health, said “CRISP has facilitated the development of strong, creative working partnerships between Strathclyde and other world leading academic institutions; bringing together academics, practitioners, policy makers and citizens whom we are working with to address structural barriers, stigma and increase participatory research practices.”

Victoria Stanhope, Associate Professor at the New York University Silver School of Social Work added: “As a researcher and social worker based in New York, it was fascinating to hear Scottish practitioner perspectives on recording and person-centred practice. Despite a very different policy context, there were key similarities in our struggle to find the time to build meaningful relationships with the people we work with and to translate our clinical approach to recording. This is a new innovative area of study and I am looking forward to collaborating with the University of Strathclyde on this research.

Next steps

Looking ahead, the partnership aims to identify further funding sources to build upon the success of the work, including:

  • A research funding application submitted to the Chief Scientist Office in Scotland on recording and person-centred planning, to advance the research agenda on recovery and person-centred care and have a direct impact on practice
  • Applying the collaborative research approach used to develop a model and measure of citizenship to a number of settings and population groups, including veterans, students and people with learning disabilities
  • Exploring the potential for an international research project on cross-cultural understandings of citizenship for vulnerable groups
    Developing briefs for policy makers on mental health and social exclusion

More information can be found on the CRISP website.