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ComRes/Healthwatch Mental Health and Service User Literature Review

This literature review explores how people with mental health problems engage with mental health services in England and Wales. More specifically, it investigates the barriers to, and experiences of, mental health services among different groups. It is framed by the publication of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health policy report, and subsequent debates about the document’s influence on mental health service delivery. It also speaks to a moment in which experts, legislators, and the general public are becoming increasingly vocal about the need to prioritise mental health within national health policy.

In exploring barriers to, and experiences of, mental health services, this literature review places a particular focus on twenty-one different demographic or social groups thought to be at heightened risk of mental ill health. The study is grounded on a systematic review of relevant literature, with texts selected for inclusion via a multi-stage search process, beginning with the development of search blocks, leading to online database searches, and concluding with snowball sampling.

Building on this search process, the review identifies intersections between the experiences and risks encountered by the twenty-one groups, and gathers recommendations for improved service delivery.

Crucially, this review also seeks to highlight gaps in the existing literature where further attention is required. As such, it concludes with a discussion of recommendations for further research.

Date Published: July 2018

Categories: GB | Health | Public and communities

Client: Healthwatch


This literature review shares the characteristics of more than one literature review “type”, as set out by Grant and Booth.13 First, it is a systematic review, in that it provides a review of existing literature according to clear criteria (detailed below). Second, it is a scoping review, in that it addresses broad research questions and highlights gaps in the literature. Third, it is conceptual review, in that it provides an overview of the current “lay of the land” in this field of research.

  1. ComRes_Healthwatch_Mental-Health-and-Service-User-Experiences_Literature-review_120519 0.02 MB.

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