Personalised Mental Health (PerMHa) is an online App, designed to assist psychological therapists. Numerous reviews of controlled trials and practice-based studies have concluded that outcome feedback (OF) can help improve psychological treatment outcomes. OF involves routine monitoring of a patient’s symptoms using standardised measures and plotting these onto a graph that displays a trajectory of changes from session to session.

These graphs help therapists to identify cases that are ‘on track’ towards a good treatment outcome or not. ’On track’ patients show typical symptom severity scores comparable to those observed in cases of other patients starting at the same point, whereas ‘not on track’ cases show significantly worse symptom severity scores than those of other patients starting at the same point. The OF method, therefore, supports therapists in making treatment decisions based on objectively measured, individualised treatment responses rather than relying on clinical judgement alone.

Although the effectiveness of this OF method is well-established, there is scant research about the mechanisms of action. Previous studies have suggested that the OF method helps therapists identify and resolve obstacles to improvement promptly. However, less is known about the types of barriers identified using OF, or the solutions and strategies therapists apply to improve outcomes.

MindLife, in partnership with our collaborators at the Clinical and Applied Psychology Unit at the University of Sheffield, is investigating the OF process and mechanisms of action. Processes are captured using qualitative case notes, including a summary of hypotheses about obstacles to improvement, a plan for troubleshooting, and the implementation and outcomes of that plan. Gathering quantitative outcome data and qualitative process data, we are exploring whether certain obstacles and solutions are associated with clinical outcomes.

To learn more about MindLife’s Personalised Mental Health App, visit the PerMHa website.