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Impact of community mental health services on users' social networks

PRiSM Psychosis Study 7

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Thomas Becker*
Section of Community Psychiatry (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, London
Morven Leese
Section of Community Psychiatry (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, London
Paul McCrone
Section of Community Psychiatry (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, London
Paul Clarkson
Section of Community Psychiatry (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, London
George Szmukler
Section of Community Psychiatry (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, London
Graham Thornicroft
Section of Community Psychiatry (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, London
Dr Thomas Becker. Section of Community Psychiatry (PRiSM), Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF. Fax: 0171 277 1462



Social networks are important for people with severe mental illness, and services need to assess whether they succeed in improving social contacts.


In a prospective controlled study, social network data were obtained in an epidemiologically representative sample of people with psychotic disorders both before (Time I) and two years after (Time 2) the introduction of two sectorised community mental health services in south London (one intensive service with two specialist teams, one standard service with a generic team).


There were significant baseline differences between sectors with social networks being smaller in the sector later served by the intensive service. Social network size increased within the intensive service sector, but not in the standard service sector. There was a significant sector effect for the network component of relatives (intensive > standard) and in the other (‘non friends’) component (standard > intensive) after adjusting for baseline differences.


The findings suggest that the intensive sector community mental health service enhanced peoples social networks with their relatives, relative to the standard service. The reverse is the case for other contacts.

PRiSM Psychosis Study
Copyright © 1998 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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