Epidemiological studies of people suffering from multifactorial problems, like long-lasting musculoskeletal disorders and mental health problems, describe increasing tendencies. Such problems can lead to reduced contact with motor and sensory aspects of the body with consequences for function in daily life. Research reports a growing evidence of positive treatment outcomes of physiotherapy interventions in mental health departments. However, the research translation and dissemination of this research is still needed. Therefore this project aims to plan a communication strategy and promote physiotherapy interventions among people with mental problems to improve well-being. Data collection will be made by focus groups and an online survey. The communication strategy will benefit to society by increasing the information of the benefits of physiotherapy in improving their mental health. Since 2003, Bergen University College (BUC), donor partner, offers the international postgraduate education for physiotherapists in the field of mental health titled “Basic Body Awareness Methodology” (BBAM). As a result, BUC has become a reference and recognized centre in this field. On the other hand, University Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) offers the Master Degree in Science Communication and after more than 10 years of graduations, the University is an international reference in the field of communicating scientific topics and evidence.
Summary of project results
Epidemiological studies of people suffering from multifactorial problems, like chronic pain, long-lasting musculoskeletal disorders and mental health problems, describe increasing tendencies, also globally. Such problems can lead to reduced contact with motor and sensory aspects of the body with consequences for the movement quality and function in daily life. In fact, patients with depression, stress-related conditions, musculoskeletal disorders and anxiety represent a major group of patients seeking help from physiotherapists all over the globe. People suffering from mental health problems often have body oriented symptoms as well and muscle tension, pain and difficulty with breathing and concentration. At this stage, the presence of physiotherapy services in mental health departments is still very much limited in many countries. Although in some countries like Norway, this field is well established and applied to patients with mental health problems, in others like Spain, the field is still undeveloped and not widely practiced in mental health departments. During a Kick-off meeting in March 2015, key decisions were taken in order to implement the project, logistics, methodology, surveys to be used, interview guides, etc. At the same time, partners explored the key areas and analyzed which are the weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats in the field of mental health physiotherapy. In the rest of the research stay periods, Liv Skjaerven and Daniel Catalan have been working together in Bergen University College, in data collection and publications of at least four scientific articles. In March 2015, both Liv Helvik Skjaerven and Daniel Catalan attended and participated in the “Fysioterapi Kongressen” that took place in Oslo and it is the most relevant event in the Norwegian physiotherapy field. In a second phase, they identified the main stakeholders in the field of mental health physiotherapy and collected perspectives, behaviours, opinions and beliefs from them. The results will be relevant for political decision-making, health service managers, users and providers of healthcare services both in Spain and Norway, and other countries with similar socio-health characteristics. In addition to this study, due to its innovative nature in relation to services for mental health and physical therapy, it may also be useful for other countries, where the field of mental health physiotherapy is not well developed
Summary of bilateral results
Besides attending to various relevant events in the field, partners organized a workshop that took place during the project period. With these regards, they were granted by NILS under the “bilateral relations” call in order to organise a workshop that took place during the 2nd National Conference on Physiotherapy in Mental Health in Barcelona, Hospital del Mar (Spain) on 20 of November 2015 (http://www.fisioterapiasm.es/nils.htm
). During the events mentioned above and in the Norwegian Physiotherapy Congress and the European European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology that took place in Oslo in March and May respectively, the team contacted with key stakeholders in order to discuss the NILS project and get feedback. Moreover, a meeting has taken place with the Executive Committee of the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Mental Health in order to present the NILS project and get their collaboration during the project implementation and presentation of results (please find below a picture of this meeting). Since this experience, partners are developing a very fruitful cooperation between the research partners. They are now planning to prepare a research proposal for the European Commission Research Program Horizon 2020.