The following is a summary of “Sleep problems and referral intentions in mental health services: service user self-report and staff proxy report surveys,” published in the August 2023 issue of Psychiatry by Faulkner et al.
People with mental health problems have a sleep issue, but only a few treatments are offered that doesn’t involve medication. In the retrospective study, researchers aimed to examine sleep problems prevalence, demand for non-pharmacological interventions like L-DART, and barriers to uptake while assessing factors influencing referral intentions and staff confidence.
A new sleep therapy called Light-Dark and Activity Rhythm Therapy (L-DART was introduced to help people with sleep problems. This therapy feasibility tested on people who had schizophrenia spectrum. They conducted two surveys with mental health staff and people using mental health services. In these surveys, questions related to their sleep problem, the kind of treatment they want, barriers that make it hard, or facilitators that make it easy to try L-DART or similar therapies. Further, they used descriptive statistics and single-level and multi-level ordinal logistic regression to examine the factors linked with sleep problems and referral intentions.
After this survey, many staff and service users noticed that sleep problems were common. Also, they want only non-pharmacological treatments, regardless of their diagnosis or background. However, staff’s willingness to suggest these treatments varied depending on the NHS Trust and the diagnosis of the person seeking help. Both staff members and users had different opinions about sleep disorders and parasomnias and whether to get help. Staff was more assured in recognizing sleep problems instead of solving them. However, training made them more confident in understanding and treating these problems.
The study concluded that sleep problems were common among mental health service users, underscoring the need for non-medication interventions. Both staff and users exhibited willingness for sleep interventions, indicating potential advantages from improved self-management resources and staff training to effectively identify and address diverse sleep issues.