LIVES for families psychological first aid training programme to address COVID-19 psychological distress: A mixed methods acceptability and feasibility protocol
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Introduction: Best practice approaches for addressing COVID-19-related psychological distress among young people (<25 years) and their families remain unclear. Psychological first aid (PFA) is promoted by public health authorities to provide psychological support in the context of extreme events; however, there is limited evidence for its effectiveness. As a prerequisite to conducting a randomised controlled trial to examine programme effectiveness, this project is evaluating the acceptability and feasibility of implementing and evaluating a PFA training programme ('LIVES for Families') for mental health (MH) practitioners to improve their ability to recognise and respond to COVID-19-related psychological distress among their clients.
Methods and analysis: We are using a triangulation mixed methods research design; complementary strands of quantitative and qualitative data are being collected in parallel and will be merged at the interpretation phase of the project. The quantitative strand uses a repeated measures design; a consecutive sample of MH practitioners (n=80) providing MH support to young people or their families are being recruited to participate in the LIVES for Families PFA training programme and complete quantitative measures at baseline (pretraining), 2-week and 6-month follow-up time points. The qualitative strand uses fundamental description and semistructured interviews with a subset of practitioners (n=30), as well as managers of MH agencies (n=20). A mixed methods joint display and associated narrative will generate a comprehensive understanding regarding acceptability and feasibility.
Ethics and dissemination: The Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board approved the study (project number: 11295). Results will be shared broadly with the policy and practice community through publications, presentations and public webinars. As a brief, evidence-informed intervention, the LIVES for Families PFA training programme is suitable in its mode of delivery across care settings. The outcomes of this study could have international implications for mitigating the MH impacts of viral pandemics.
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