RCPsych Wales endorsed projects win University of South Wales Impact and Innovation Awards

Wales news
05 May 2022

Two projects, which have been endorsed by RCPsych Wales, have won a University of South Wales Impact and Innovation Awards.

The awards, which are held annually, celebrate research which makes an impact on the community and wider society in Wales, nationally, and internationally.

Out of the 8 award categories, the endorsed projects, research into Alcohol Related Brain Damage, and a Cultural Competence Toolkit Accreditation, have won ‘Impact on Public Policy and Practice’ and ‘Impact on Health and Wellbeing’ respectively.

Impact on Public Policy and Practice: this award recognises the impact of research where beneficiaries are usually government or public sector organisations e.g. impact on policy making and public policy and practice which can be at local, regional, national or international level.

Research by the University of South Wales (USW) has increased awareness of Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD) nationally and internationally and informed regional and national government policy and professional practice. 

ARBD is an under-recognised but treatable condition associated with debilitating cognitive and physical deficits. Despite this, just 16% of sufferers are diagnosed due to a lack of reliable evidence of ARBD prevalence, lack of awareness and understanding of the condition, and an inconsistent approach to treatment due to the absence of an adequate treatment model.

Since 2015, the Addictions Research Group at the University of South Wales (USW) has been conducting research to improve accurate identification, assessment, and treatment of the condition. Their work has underpinned the Welsh Governments’ Substance Misuse Treatment Framework (SMTF), and the recommendations therein. As a result, the the SMTF was used to inform the development of a SMTF for the whole of the UK.

The research has been endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales and influenced professional practice and staff awareness of ARBD in The Pobl Group (the largest not-for-profit housing association in Wales, employing 2000 staff who support 10,000 individuals at risk of ARBD), via a training and information programme.

As a result of the programme, 86% of staff members now report increased awareness of ARBD and confidence in supporting individuals with the condition.

Impact on Health and Wellbeing: this award recognises research and innovation that can demonstrate an impact on individuals and groups whose health outcomes have been improved, quality of life has been enhanced (or potential harm mitigated), or whose rights or interests have been protected or enhanced through the application of enhanced policy or practice for individuals or in public health.

In October 2016 Diverse Cymru launched their BAME Mental Health Workplace Good Practice Certification Scheme, which offers a Cultural Competence Toolkit for mental health organisations to provide culturally appropriate mental health services for BAME people in Wales, and has been endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales.

Research over many years has identified that a major cause of the inequality in the services provided to BME people accessing mental health services relates to a lack of cultural sensitivity and, as a consequence, a lack of culturally competent mental health services for the BAME community.

The main purpose of the scheme is the development of responsive, appropriate, proactive and culturally sensitive mental health services which makes a practical, ongoing and positive difference to BAME community in Wales.

This aims to make the BAME community in Wales more confident and comfortable when accessing mental health services, and for health care practitioners and professionals in Wales to be more sensitive and knowledgeable about the issues that this community may face in obtaining appropriate mental health services and support.

Nearly 100 services across Wales have signed up to the accreditation.

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