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Researchers from the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) at the University of Birmingham have been awarded funding for a study investigating the scope and role of voluntary sector provision for anyone in England who is experiencing a mental health crisis. 

Funding for the research was awarded to the HMSC in partnership with the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), Suresearch and the Open University Business School by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) as part of its Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme. 

Led by Dr Karen Newbigging, Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Policy and Management at HSMC, the study will provide a national overview of the range of crisis support offered by the voluntary sector, It will also explore the relative strengths and weaknesses of different types of voluntary sector crisis services, and make recommendations for how the NHS, Local Authorities and voluntary sector can work together.

‘Support from the voluntary sector support is highly valued because it is informal, focuses on social context and builds relationships with the person in crisis,’ says Dr Newbigging.

‘Our study will be the first of its kind to investigate how widely available these different types of crisis support are, what they provide and how they fit with the crisis services offered by the NHS or Local Authority.’

The results of the study will be used to produce guidance on how the NHS can work effectively with voluntary sector organisations to improve mental health crisis care across England to ensure that people can access the right kind of support at the right time.

For more information, contact Luke Harrison at the University of Birmingham Press Office, on 0121 414 5134 or  +44 (0)782 783 2312. Out-of-hours enquiries: +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

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