From the CORC team: Luís Costa da Silva reflects on his role as Research Associate at CORC
When I joined CORC two years ago I never anticipated the dramatic change in all of our lives that we are currently experiencing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that I would be writing this blog from my improvised home office. However, perhaps this presents itself as the perfect opportunity to reflect upon these past two years.
A big part of my role is supporting member organisations to collect and use data from routine outcome measures and members on which outcome measures are most appropriate for different purposes. This can be straightforward, or complex. For example, to find out more about how common sleep problems are in young people accessing mental health support, the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust asked us to do some specific analysis using the CORC+ dataset: analysis of 8,596 young people's Revised Childhood Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) suggested that over 50% of young people aged 8-18 accessing CAMHS services across the country endorsed 'often' or 'always' on the 'I have trouble sleeping' question. The analysis of this data set concluded that children and young people who report higher levels of sleep trouble score significantly higher on all subscales of the RCADS, as well as Total Anxiety and Total Internalising. Having such a large database to explore allows us to investigate research questions and deepen our understanding of the difficulties young people experience and projects like this give real satisfaction within my role. You can read more about this specific CORC analysis here.
I have also collaborated on multiple research initiatives and keep contributing to research papers, which are an integral aspect of CORC and a very exciting part of my role, such as the 2019 study about predicting mental health improvement and deterioration in a large community sample of 11-to 13-year-olds.
I enjoy the opportunities to network and put CORC’s work out there. We join the INSPIRE conferences – the International Network Supporting Psychotherapy Innovation and Research into Effectiveness for a couple of enriching days every year. This diverse group of clinicians, researchers, practitioners and psychotherapists share a goal with us, of informing themselves and others about the state of the art in psychotherapy outcome research.
Our CORC Forums are also a highlight in the year, an opportunity to hear from great speakers and to meet with members, network subscribers and partners, and others in the field. I did my first ever presentation to CORC members in 2018, in which we shared the findings of CORC’s survey on the use of outcome measures at a national level and its implications. Another really exciting part of my role is the engagement with young people, a constant source of inspiration, who are asking the right questions and giving us plenty of food for thought.
During my two years at CORC, I have worked across multiple projects. The first ever project I became involved in was We Can Talk, working to evaluate the impact of co-produced children and young people's mental health training in hospitals across the country. My role is to analyse staff surveys and impact data to ensure high quality reports go to partners and build the evidence base for training acute hospital staff in children and young people's mental health, as well as to deliver training to help the We Can Talk project team use and communicate their data better.
My job would not be the same without the fabulous CORC team. I’m proud of being part of a diverse and enthusiastic group of colleagues. Overall, during this two-year journey, I have learned a lot, met many inspiring colleagues, services and young people and their families, and seen changes and growth on many levels. And while perhaps I would prefer to be reflecting about these while sitting in the office among my co-workers, I know that we will overcome this change too and will give our best to continue doing the work we do in this new paradigm we are now living.
Lastly, our CORC team is only one email (email@example.com) away. You can also tweet us @CORCcentral. Me, or a colleague, will be responding to your email or phone enquiries, as well as keeping the Outcome and Experience Measures Hub on the CORC website up to date, intended to serve as an easily accessible resource for individuals looking for information on how to measure children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. So do reach out!