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Starting in September 2018, the Q Lab’s next project will be in partnership with Mind – the mental health charity.

Our work together will focus on supporting people living with both a mental health problem and long-term physical condition, specifically looking at the experiences of people living with both mental health problems and persistent back and neck pain, and how care can be designed to best meet their health and wellbeing needs.

All those with lived experience or professional expertise on the topic are invited to get involved and help shape our collective understanding of the issue.

Get involved in the Lab

Why this topic?

  • Having either mental health problems or persistent back or neck pain can have an enormous impact on someone’s life: Mental health problems and back and neck pain are important issues in their own right with 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year (Goldberg and Huxley, 1992) and back pain affects around a third of the UK population each year.
  • Many people experience both: There is a strong correlation between mental health problems and persistent back and neck pain with evidence showing that the likelihood of experiencing back pain in people with symptoms of depression have been shown to be 50% higher than in those without symptoms of depression. We also know that people with chronic low back pain have been shown to have a significantly higher frequency of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and sleep disorders, compared to people without low back pain.
  • There are some good examples of work happening in this area and through the Lab process we hope to shine a light on these examples and support people to build on them. We also think there is potential to learn more about the interconnection between mental health and persistent pain, and to develop and test ideas to improve care.

Project overview

Phase 1: Research and Discovery (September – December 2018)
Investing time upfront – drawing on the best evidence and bringing new voices and perspectives to bear – to understand the root causes of the challenge.

Activities will include:

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Site visits

Phase 2: Developing and testing ideas (January – May 2019)
Using the findings from the ‘research and discovery’ phase to pinpoint key opportunities for impact and create momentum for change.

Phase 3: Distilling and Sharing learning (June – September 2019)
Collating what the Lab has learned and how the new insights can be practically applied.