[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Non-adherence to anti-psychotics is common, expensive and affects recovery. We therefore examine the cost-effectiveness of adherence therapy for people with schizophrenia by multi-centre randomised trial in Amsterdam, London, Leipzig and Verona. METHODS: Participants received 8 sessions of adherence therapy or health education. We measured lost productivity and use of health/social care, criminal justice system and informal care at baseline and one year to estimate and compare mean total costs from health/social care and societal perspectives. Outcomes were the Short Form 36 (SF-36) mental component score (MCS) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained (SF-36 and EuroQoL 5 dimension (EQ5D)). Cost-effectiveness was examined for all cost and outcome combinations using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves (CEACs). RESULTS: 409 participants were recruited. There were no cost or outcome differences between adherence therapy and health education. The probability of adherence therapy being cost-effective compared to health education was between 0.3 and 0.6 for the six cost-outcome combinations at the willingness to pay thresholds we examined. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence therapy appears equivalent to health education. It is unclear whether it would have performed differently against a treatment as usual control, whether such an intervention can impact on quality of life in the short-term, or whether it is likely to be cost-effective in some sites but not others.Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN: ISRCTN01816159.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Populations in Europe are becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, and health risks differ between ethnic groups. The aim of the HELIUS (HEalthy LIfe in an Urban Setting) study is to unravel the mechanisms underlying the impact of ethnicity on communicable and non-communicable diseases.Methods/designHELIUS is a large-scale prospective cohort study being carried out in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The sample is made up of Amsterdam residents of Surinamese (with Afro-Caribbean Surinamese and South Asian-Surinamese as the main ethnic groups), Turkish, Moroccan, Ghanaian, and ethnic Dutch origin. HELIUS focuses on three disease categories: cardiovascular disease (including diabetes), mental health (depressive disorders and substance use disorders), and infectious diseases. The explanatory mechanisms being studied include genetic profile, culture, migration history, ethnic identity, socio-economic factors and discrimination. These might affect disease risks through specific risk factors including health-related behaviour and living and working conditions. Every five years, participants complete a standardized questionnaire and undergo a medical examination. Biological samples are obtained for diagnostic tests and storage. Participants' data are linked to morbidity and mortality registries. The aim is to recruit a minimum of 5,000 respondents per ethnic group, to a total of 30,000 participants. DISCUSSION: This paper describes the rationale, conceptual framework, and design and methods of the HELIUS study. HELIUS will contribute to an understanding of inequalities in health between ethnic groups and the mechanisms that link ethnicity to health in Europe.
BMC Public Health 04/2013; 13(1):402. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The changes in the organization of mental health care services have made the role of the family even more important in caring for patients with mental disorders. Caring may have serious consequences for family caregivers, with a great impact on the quality of family life. This study reports on the translation, cultural adaptation, and validation of the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire-European Union (IEQ-EU) into the Greek language. METHODS: Caregivers of patients with major mental disorders were interviewed to test a modified version of the IEQ-EU questionnaire. Psychometric measurements included reliability coefficients, exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory analysis by linear structural relations. To measure the concurrent validity we used the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). RESULTS: Most caregivers were female (83 %), mainly mothers living with the patient (80 %), with quite a high level of burden. The Greek version of the IEQ-EU (G-IEQ-EU) demonstrated a good reliability with high internal consistency (alpha = 0.88), Guttman split-half correlation of 0.71, high test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.82) and good concurrent validity with the NHP. A four-factor structure was confirmed for the G-IEQ-EU, slightly different from the original IEQ. The confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that the four-factor model offered modest fit to our data. CONCLUSIONS: The G-IEQ-EU is a reasonably valid and reliable tool for use in both clinical and research contexts in order to assess the burden of caregivers of patients with mental disorders.
Annals of General Psychiatry 02/2013; 12(1):3. · 1.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Childhood trauma is associated with the onset and recurrence of major depressive disorder (MDD). The thermolabile T variant of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T polymorphism (rs1801133) is associated with a limited (oxidative) stress defense. Therefore, C677T MTHFR could be a potential predictor for depressive symptomatology and MDD recurrence in the context of traumatic stress during early life. We investigated the interaction between the C677T MTHFR variant and exposure to traumatic childhood events (TCEs) on MDD recurrence during a 5.5-year follow-up in a discovery sample of 124 patients with recurrent MDD and, in an independent replication sample, on depressive symptomatology in 665 healthy individuals from the general population. In the discovery sample, Cox regression analysis revealed a significant interaction between MTHFR genotype and TCEs on MDD recurrence (P=0.017). Over the 5.5-year follow-up period, median time to recurrence was 191 days for T-allele carrying patients who experienced TCEs (T+ and TCE+); 461 days for T- and TCE+ patients; 773 days for T+ and TCE- patients and 866 days for T- and TCE- patients. In the replication sample, a significant interaction was present between the MTHFR genotype and TCEs on depressive symptomatology (P=0.002). Our results show that the effects of TCEs on the prospectively assessed recurrence of MDD and self-reported depressive symptoms in the general population depend on the MTHFR genotype. In conclusion, T-allele carriers may be at an increased risk for depressive symptoms or MDD recurrence after exposure to childhood trauma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mental health problems are disproportionately higher amongst homeless people. Many barriers exist for homeless people with mental health problems in accessing treatment yet little research has been done on service provision and quality of care for this group. The aim of this paper is to assess current service provision and identify barriers to care for homeless people with mental health problems in 14 European capital cities.
Two methods of data collection were employed; (i) In two highly deprived areas in each of the 14 European capital cities, homeless-specific services providing mental health, social care or general health services were assessed. Data were obtained on service characteristics, staff and programmes provided. (ii) Semi-structured interviews were conducted in each area with experts in mental health care provision for homeless people in order to determine the barriers to care and ways to overcome them.
Across the 14 capital cities, 111 homeless-specific services were assessed. Input from professionally qualified mental health staff was reported as low, as were levels of active outreach and case finding. Out-of-hours service provision appears inadequate and high levels of service exclusion criteria were evident. Prejudice in the services towards homeless people, a lack of co-ordination amongst services, and the difficulties homeless people face in obtaining health insurance were identified as major barriers to service provision.
While there is variability in service provision across European capital cities, the reported barriers to service accessibility are common. Homeless-specific services are more responsive to the initial needs of homeless people with mental health problems, while generic services tend to be more conducive to long term care. Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of different service delivery models, including the most effective coordination of homeless specific and generic services.
BMC Health Services Research 07/2012; 12:222. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Further cross-cultural comparisons are needed on caregiving consequences of chronic psychotic disorders. The EPSILON study (European Psychiatric Services: Inputs Linked to Outcome Domains and Needs) involved five European countries, but not Portugal. We aimed to analyse the impact of severe mental illness in a Portuguese sample and to provide support to comparisons with some of the EPSILON results, focusing on the north-European Dutch centre. METHODS: We studied 108 caregiver-patient dyads by a consecutive sampling of people with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders in psychiatric outpatient services. Relatives' assessments included the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire, European version (IEQ), the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12); the loss, stigma and positive aspects' subscales of the Experience of Caregiving Inventory, and the Social Network and Family Coping Questionnaires. Patients were assessed regarding symptoms, disability and global functioning. RESULTS: Caregiving rewards and negative consequences co-existed. On the IEQ, 49.1 % reported negative consequences and rank order of domain scores was worrying > urging > tension > supervision. More than one-third of caregivers were psychologically distressed according to GHQ screenings. Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire scores were correlated with caregivers' distress, stigma, loss, patient's involvement and other ways of coping, and patients' variables. Some of these failed to be included in a regression model. CONCLUSIONS: Many of these Portuguese caregivers were at risk regarding burden and psychological distress. In comparison with other European samples, caregiving arrangements and assessments were typical of Mediterranean countries, as Italy or Spain. All IEQ scores were significantly higher than those in the Netherlands. On account of small numbers, caution is needed in the interpretation of associations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Irregular migrants (IMs) are exposed to a wide range of risk factors for developing mental health problems. However, little is known about whether and how they receive mental health care across European countries. The aims of this study were (1) to identify barriers to mental health care for IMs, and (2) to explore ways by which these barriers are overcome in practice. METHODS: Data from semi-structured interviews with 25 experts in the field of mental health care for IMs in the capital cities of 14 European countries were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Experts reported a range of barriers to mental health care for IMs. These include the absence of legal entitlements to health care in some countries or a lack of awareness of such entitlements, administrative obstacles, a shortage of culturally sensitive care, the complexity of the social needs of IMs, and their fear of being reported and deported. These barriers can be partly overcome by networks of committed professionals and supportive services. NGOs have become important initial points of contact for IMs, providing mental health care themselves or referring IMs to other suitable services. However, these services are often confronted with the ethical dilemma of either acting according to the legislation and institutional rules or providing care for humanitarian reasons, which involves the risk of acting illegally and providing care without authorisation. CONCLUSIONS: Even in countries where access to health care is legally possible for IMs, various other barriers remain. Some of these are common to all migrants, whilst others are specific for IMs. Attempts at improving mental health care for IMs should consider barriers beyond legal entitlement, including communicating information about entitlement to mental health care professionals and patients, providing culturally sensitive care and ensuring sufficient resources.
BMC Public Health 05/2012; 12(1):367. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a highly recurrent disease. Stress-responsive system dysfunction seems to persist after remission. In patients with more chronic and recurrent depressive episodes, state related HPA-axis dysregulation might be a risk factor for prospective recurrence. This study examines the predictive effect of cortisol on consecutive episodes in remitted recurrently depressed patients. Cortisol was assessed in saliva in remitted recurrently depressed patients (n=55) that were followed up prospectively for 5.5 years after remission. Recurrence was assessed using a well validated structured interview. Lower mean morning cortisol levels predicted earlier time to recurrence over 5.5 year after correction for residual symptoms (p=0.015). Residual symptoms and childhood trauma slightly confounded the association between cortisol and recurrence. Lower cortisol levels were associated with having experienced traumatic childhood life events (42.3% in patients with lower cortisol versus 19.2% in patients with higher cortisol). Our study provides further support for the predictive role over 5.5 year of HPA axis dysregulation, i.e. lower morning cortisol levels, of recurrence in recurrently depressed patients. Childhood trauma is associated to having lower cortisol levels. It might have long term consequences for dealing with stress and the HPA-axis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Socially marginalised groups tend to have higher rates of mental disorders than the general population and can be difficult to engage in health care. Providing mental health care for these groups represents a particular challenge, and evidence on good practice is required. This study explored the experiences and views of experts in 14 European countries regarding mental health care for six socially marginalised groups: long-term unemployed; street sex workers; homeless; refugees/asylum seekers; irregular migrants and members of the travelling communities.
Two highly deprived areas were selected in the capital cities of 14 countries, and experts were interviewed for each of the six marginalised groups. Semi-structured interviews with case vignettes were conducted to explore experiences of good practice and analysed using thematic analysis.
In a total of 154 interviews, four components of good practice were identified across all six groups: a) establishing outreach programmes to identify and engage with individuals with mental disorders; b) facilitating access to services that provide different aspects of health care, including mental health care, and thus reducing the need for further referrals; c) strengthening the collaboration and co-ordination between different services; and d) disseminating information on services both to marginalised groups and to practitioners in the area.
Experts across Europe hold similar views on what constitutes good practice in mental health care for marginalised groups. Care may be improved through better service organisation, coordination and information.
BMC Public Health 03/2012; 12:248. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the achievements of previous research, caregiving assessments in severe mental illness should be crossculturally validated in order to define risk groups or to evaluate family work. This study reports on the psychometric properties of the European version of the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire (IEQ-EU) in Portugal.
A Portuguese translation of the IEQ-EU was developed according to the 'European Psychiatric Services: Inputs Linked to Outcome Domains and Needs' (EPSILON) group guidelines. We then studied 194 caregivers who were related to patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders in psychiatric outpatient services. All relatives were assessed using the IEQ-EU. In order to describe the corresponding patients' sample, the majority (n = 162) was evaluated with the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHO-DAS II); 108 patients were also assessed with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF).
The factor structure of the Portuguese version of the questionnaire was similar to the original; internal consistency was good, with Cronbach's α ranging from 0.71 to 0.87 in the IEQ-EU scales (total score and domains: tension, supervision, worrying, urging); test-retest reliability yielded intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) from 0.80 to 0.94, concerning the same scores. Ecological validity was confirmed. Most caregiving consequences were reported on the worrying domain of the IEQ-EU.
Validity and reliability of the Portuguese IEQ-EU translation were established. Specifically the four IEQ-EU subscale domains seem to be valid in Portugal.
Annals of General Psychiatry 03/2012; 11:8. · 1.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Providing mental health care to socially marginalized groups is a challenge. There is limited evidence on what form of mental health-care generic (i.e. not targeting a specific social group) and group-specific services provide to socially marginalized groups in Europe. AIM: To describe the characteristics of services providing mental health care for people with mental disorders from socially marginalized groups in European capitals. METHODS: In two highly deprived areas in different European capital cities, services providing some form of mental health care for six marginalized groups, i.e. homeless, street sex workers, asylum seekers/refugees, irregular migrants, travelling communities and long-term unemployed, were identified and contacted. Data were obtained on service characteristics, staff and programmes. RESULTS: In 8 capital cities, 516 out of 575 identified services were assessed (90%); 297 services were generic (18-79 per city) and 219 group-specific (13-50). All cities had group-specific services for the homeless, street sex workers and asylum seekers/refugees. Generic services provided more health-care programmes. Group-specific services provided more outreach programmes and social care. There was a substantial overlap in the programmes provided by the two types of services. CONCLUSIONS: In deprived areas of European capitals, a considerable number of services provide mental health care to socially marginalized groups. Access to these services often remains difficult. Group-specific services have been widely established, but their role overlaps with that of generic services. More research and conceptual clarity on the function of group-specific services are required.
The European Journal of Public Health 02/2012; · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Summary background Not only is the heterogeneous concept of depression too comprehensive, it is also insufficiently differentiated. This serves as a barrier to scientific research and obscures the symptoms that should indicate what treatment is required. aim To describe an accurate model for staging and profiling depression. method We placed depressive disorders in the context of the entire course of the disorder and we regarded the course as a continuum of psychopathology. results First of all we distinguish five stages: (1) the prodromal phase, (2) the first depressive episode, (3) residual symptoms following an episode, (4) the relapse episode and (5) the chronic and/or treatment-resistant depression. The higher the stage, the greater the need for complex and specialised treatment. As characteristics for profiling we distinguish (a) aetiological and pathophysiological variables and (b) clinical factors. The latter are the ones that mainly influence treatment from stage 2 onwards. conclusion In our article we give a tentative overview of possible characteristics for profiling. At the moment the clinical factors are the ones used most for assessment. Current research into the value of aetiological characteristics for profiling will increase the applicability of a staging and profiling model.
Tijdschrift voor psychiatrie 01/2012; 54(11):957-63.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate what patients themselves think they can contribute to recovery from depression, and what they find to be effective. The patients' perspective is necessary to improve treatment for depression.
Qualitative, hypothesis-generating study.
The experiences and opinions of 20 patients who had recently recovered from a depressive episode were investigated using the 'concept mapping' method. In the first stage, patients generated statements during group discussions around the question: 'What can people themselves do to recover from depression?' In the second stage, patients individually graded the statements by relevance and grouped them by common characteristics. In the third stage, the statements were analysed and positioned in a concept map.
In the first stage, the patients generated 50 statements which could be grouped into the following 8 clusters: active attitude towards depression and the assistance offered, regimen, explanation of the disease to acquaintances, social contacts, undertaking activities, structured attention for yourself, contact with fellow sufferers, and others. The common factor in statements that patients found the most important was that the focus for recovery should be on oneself.
From the patients' perspective several methods were mentioned by which patients can contribute to their own recovery from depression. Practitioners could use these in their contact with the patient during treatment. This study also provides the basis for developing a self-management module for recovery from depression.
Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde 01/2012; 156(19):A4337.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In psychiatric care professionals perceive some patients as 'difficult', especially patients with long-term non-psychotic disorders. For these patients few evidence-based treatments exist. An intervention program, Interpersonal Community Psychiatric Treatment (ICPT), was developed by the authors. It was evaluated with the aim to increase effective behaviours by both patients and community psychiatric nurses (CPNs).
To assess the feasibility and effectiveness of an intervention program for use by CPNs in the care of 'difficult' patients with non-psychotic chronic disorders, in a controlled pilot study.
A mixed-methods quasi-experimental study using process and outcome measures across several dimensions. Measurements took place at 0, 3, and 6 months.
Three community mental health centres in the centre of The Netherlands.
14 CPNs and 36 long-term non-psychotic patients who were perceived as 'difficult' were selected. Patients were offered either ICPT (20) or care as usual (16). All patients and CPNs could be followed up at all measurements.
Quantitative data included type and severity of psychiatric disorder, psychosocial functioning, needs for care, quality of life and social participation. Also, service use, satisfaction with care, and quality of the therapeutic alliance were measured. Qualitative interviews were conducted with all CPNs and patients in the experimental group.
ICPT was found feasible by both CPNs and patients. Both the experimental and control condition showed improvement on a number of outcomes. ICPT, however, resulted in significantly better results in some areas. Patients' social network size increased and their care utilization decreased. Also, the quality of the working alliance increased and perceived patient difficulty decreased, both as scored by professionals.
ICPT is one of very few intervention programs aimed at 'difficult' non-psychotic chronic patients. In this pilot study was found that it can be successfully carried out by CPNs, is generally experienced as acceptable and useful by patients and CPNs alike, and results in some significantly better effects on both process and outcome measures. In the main study, some alterations will be made to the instruction manual and training program. Also, the diagnostic interview may be briefer, and the characteristics and treatment integrity of CPNs will be included in measurements. Further controlled and randomized research is needed to test the effectiveness of the program in a larger group of patients.
International journal of nursing studies 11/2011; 49(5):549-59. · 1.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine which patient, professional, treatment and/or social variables make community psychiatric nurses (CPNs) label non-psychotic chronic patients as 'difficult'.
A questionnaire was designed and administered to 1,946 CPNs in the Netherlands. Logistic regression was used to design models that most accurately described the variables that contributed to perceived difficulty.
Six variables were retained in the final logistic model. Perception-related variables (feeling powerless, feeling that the patient is able but unwilling to change, and pessimism about the patient's change potential) dominated treatment-related variables (number of contacts per week and admission to a locked ward in the last year) and social variables (number of psychosocial problems).
This research shows that perceived difficulty is related to complex treatment situations, not so much to individual patient characteristics. If the constructed model has good predictive qualities, which remains to be tested in longitudinal research, it may be possible to accurately predict perceived patient difficulty. When used as a screening tool, such a model could improve treatment outcomes.
Social Psychiatry 10/2011; 46(10):1045-53. · 2.05 Impact Factor