Return to life: Otsuka and Lundbeck want people with schizophrenia to achieve their aspirations.

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This article has been sponsored by Otsuka and Lundbeck and has had input from Otsuka and Lundbeck into the editorial content.

Otsuka and Lundbeck’s ‘Head Start’ initiative is a practical, educational and motivational programme, in development, which is designed to give people with schizophrenia (PWS) a head start in their quest to make sense of their experiences, rationalise their choices and return to functionality. It is hoped that the programme, which is being piloted in two mental health trusts, will yield a cultural change for a community that is too often alienated and for a condition that is often misunderstood.

Patient first

NICE guidelines highlight the importance of an integrated approach to promote the best possible recovery for PWS. The pioneering Head Start scheme is designed to be delivered through holistic modules, in mental health trusts (MHTs). It has been co-created by a Steering Committee of mental health experts, people with schizophrenia and a leading mental health charity.

Working with MHTs, Head Start will identify appropriate patients and front-line staff to participate in the programme (30-40 patients per MHT). In addition, one-day coaching workshops will take place at each Trust, forming a specific collaborative approach which brings all members of the front line team together to embrace and commit to Head Start for their patient population and the goals of their Trust.

Front-line staff, including the lead psychiatrist, will also be briefed on approach to evaluation measures that will be provided by PWS ahead of Head Start commencing.

Positive change

Head Start is a flexible resource that empowers PWS, is individually tailored to meet each patient’s needs and drives rediscovery. Another key aim is to work with the MHTs to help them achieve their individual goals for improving mental health care in their community.

One of the most important aspects of carrying out the modules is to firmly establish mutually agreeable goals, while setting time scales for achieving them. Above all the modules must allow PWS space for creative expression, independent thought, positive affirmations and tips to stay on track with their rediscovery.

For Head Start coaches, a series of downloadable workbooks will help guide PWS who feel they have a lack of skills or confidence, to achieving a task or goal.

Ultimately, the long-term aim is to to track progress and share success for the PWS and the Mental Health team at each trust.

“Meaningful, effective involvement can transform people’s lives, improve the quality and efficiency of services and develop the resilience of communities. If commissioners and clinicians really listen to us, respect us and treat us as equals, then our experience of services will improve,” concluded the Chief Executive of a National Survivor User Network.

The Alliance of Otsuka and Lundbeck is committed to supporting and providing value to patients beyond the delivery of medicines, working as a partner with  traditional mental health care  structures, supporting and enabling patients by creating patient-centred and service-led solutions. We believe in going above and beyond the standard role of industry and provide a truly holistic commitment to mental health services and patients.