Question: In adults with mental illness, particularly non-psychotic illnesses e.g. depression, anxiety and personality disorder, how effective are social inclusion interventions such as befriending, peer support groups, drop-in clinics, compared to treatment as usual, in improving coping skills and reducing dependence on mental health services?


The evidence for this summary came from three high quality systematic reviews. One review found that peer support may be beneficial for reducing symptoms of depression compared with primary care and another found a benefit of befriending on remission from depression (based on one study), both compared with usual care. A large review of self-care support networks across a wide range of clinical interventions only included two studies in depression and did not find any benefits for self-care support. All the studies measured depression symptoms and none measured the outcomes specified in the research question (improved coping skills and reduced dependence on mental health services). The review of self-care networks did not compare the interventions to usual care. None of the reviews made any firm clinical recommendations and all stated that further research is required.

More RCTs, conducted in the UK, are needed which specifically address the effects of social inclusion interventions on coping skills and service use in adults with mental health issues.


Pose your question to our team of highly skilled researchers by clicking the button below

Submit Your Question