WHOLE-SMI builds upon the evidence-based Primrose research but seeks to contextually adapt and implement this innovation for the Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear area of England.

The WHOLE-SMI team, based at Newcastle University, is led by Professor Emily Oliver and supported by Dr Ilaria Pina (Research Associate), Dan Steward (Research Assistant) and Sue Webster (Peer Researcher from McPin).  The project is due to complete by March 2025.

WHOLE-SMI builds upon the evidence-based Primrose research carried out by our colleagues, but looks to contextually adapt and implement this innovation to a North East setting within the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area to holistically support people living with severe mental illness (SMI) to live better lives.  WHOLE-SMI is an implementation study that looks to map the process of implementation of an enhanced, efficient and sustainable service.  The team will provide expertise, support with developing a customized adaptation of the innovation, and continual feedback and service evaluation up to the end of the project.

The team have completed the context mapping phase of the project by conducting interviews and focus groups with experts by lived experience and stakeholders that work in services supporting people with SMI, ethnographic site visits and looking at policy documents.  We wanted to understand how best to adapt and implement PRIMROSE to meet the contextual needs of the North East of England by assessing the current delivery landscape of services that help support people with severe mental illness, identifying gaps in service provision and gaining a better understanding of patient and service needs.  These findings have formed recommendations that have been carried forward into the pre-implementation phase of the project.

In the current and ongoing pre-implementation phase, we are engaging with potential implementation sites in the North East to discuss the possibility of implementing the innovation, how the innovation might be adapted to meet local needs, how current service provision might facilitate or be adapted to deliver the components of the innovation, and identifying training requirements and potential providers for that training.  Our role as researchers is to map the innovation adaptation, implementation process and service evaluation by interviewing service users of the innovation and stakeholders involved in service delivery or implementation.

We are also fortunate to have a dedicated Community Advisory Group made up of a diverse number of people within the local community whose engagement in sharing experiences, feedback and direction continue to be really valuable in each area of the project.