MARCH Research Agenda Prompts

Engaging with community assets

  • What mental health conditions or aspects of mental health remain the most under-researched in relation to community assets?

  • Should we be concentrating research more on prevention or treatment of mental illness or on aspects of wellbeing? Where do we know the least?

  • Are there gaps in our understanding of mechanisms by which community activities affect mental illness that we need to understand in more detail? If so, which types of mechanisms do we need to focus more on?

  • Do we know enough about how engagement with community assets varies depending on a person’s demographic or genetic factors, their social environment or background? If so, which factors are under-researched?

Content of community programmes

  • Do we understand well enough whether engagement with all ‘community assets’ (e.g. arts/culture/heritage/libraries/green spaces/social clubs and groups/volunteering) has the same impact on mental health and wellbeing or whether certain activities are more suitable for certain mental health conditions than others?

  • Are there evidence gaps around the optimum length of delivery for a community programme for people with mental illness and what factors affect this?

  • Would practice be improved if we understood better whether programmes specifically for people with a particular mental illness were more appropriate than broader community programmes that anybody can join?

  • Are there unanswered questions around the impact of different modes of delivery for community programmes e.g. one-to-one/group/digital?

Delivery of community activities

  • Do we need to know more about what predicts a good social prescribing system and why it works better in some areas than others?

  • Do we have a good sense of when in the care pathway for a patient it is suitable to refer them to a community activity, or at what level of mental illness such activities are most relevant?

  • Do we know enough about why some people choose to engage in community activities if they are referred but others do not?

  • Has there been enough research around how we support community organisations in delivering this work, such as what training or partnership work is required?