Understanding what matters for people living with severe mental illness – a 24h approach to physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep.

Evidence has shown that people living with severe mental illness are sedentary, struggle to engage in physical activities, and have sleep difficulties, with fatigue, mood and energy being critical determinants of these behaviours. Existing practices tend to focus on one behaviour in isolation, usually through quite rigid engagement opportunities, however our prior research has shown a preference for holistic flexible approaches that focus on balance across behaviours and life contexts.

In this study, Newcastle University wants to measure physical activity, sedentary time, sleep in a flexible and adaptable way (with audio diaries) with people living with severe mental illness, to develop an understanding of how best to support and incorporate sustainable active living in policy plans and practice.

They are looking for:

Newcastle University is recruiting participants who have a lived experience of severe mental illness. You do not need to have a formal diagnosis in order to take part, and you can use your own judgement to determine whether your experience of mental illness is ‘severe’. They are inviting people over the age of 18 to participate, and particularly would like to hear from people in the North East of England and Cumbria.

Expected commitment:

If you agree to take part in the study, they will arrange 2 interviews for you to take part in and 7 days of data collection:

  1. In the first interview, you will have a chat on your previous experiences of exercise, physical activity, and sleep. The researcher will explain you the definitions of movement behaviours and you will then discuss with the researcher your preferences for diary guidelines and adaptations you might want.
  2. After the first interview, you will receive a digital recorder (in person or via post) and will be asked to describe your daily physical activity, exercise, sedentary behaviour, and sleep for 7 days. You could talk about anything relating to these behaviours that is important to you, but will also receive diary guidelines that included prompts such as “Tell me about your; Describe as much as you can; What do you think or feel about it?; What did you do or not do to? Tell me about the; What made you decide to?”. If you would like, they will send you reminders (frequency and modality based on your preference) to audio record your movement behaviours.
  3. Once you recorded movement behaviours for 7 days, they will arrange the returning of the digital recorder and they will arrange the second interview to chat about your experiences of the use of audio diaries.

You will be able to choose when completing the audio diary either throughout the day or at the beginning or end of each day. There is no minimum data entry of audio diaries required to participate in this study.

Your responses will be audio recorded, transcribed, and analysed anonymously. No data identifying you will be published (unless you request otherwise).

Commitment to inclusion:

You can let the researcher know if you have a preference and when will be convenient for you for the interviews. Interviews will last no longer than 1 hour, and will be between you and a member of the research team. An outline of the questions can be sent through beforehand. Interviews can take place in person or remotely if preferred/more convenient.

You will be able to choose if you would like to receive a reminder to complete the audio diary for the week of data collection. If yes, you will be able to choose how often you want to receive the reminder (daily, 2 or 3 times a day, or any higher contact version). Also, you will be able to choose your preferred way to be contacted (text or email).

Closing date: Beginning of December 2023

If you apply for this opportunity please let the organisers know you saw it advertised via Shaping Our Lives. Thank you!

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