Assessing social recovery of vulnerable youth in global mental health settings: a pilot study of clinical research tools in Malaysia
Clio Berry, Ellisha Othman, Jun Chuen Tan, Brioney Gee, Rory Edward Byrne, Joanne Hodgekins, Daniel Michelson, Alvin Lai Oon Ng, Nigel V. Marsh, Sian Coker and David Fowler
A social recovery approach to youth mental health focuses on increasing the time spent in valuable and meaningful structured activities, with a view to preventing enduring mental health problems and social disability. In Malaysia, access to mental health care is particularly limited and little research has focused on identifying young people at risk of serious socially disabling mental health problems such as psychosis. We provide preliminary evidence for the feasibility and acceptability of core social recovery assessment tools in a Malaysian context, comparing the experiential process of engaging young Malaysian participants in social recovery assessments with prior accounts from a UK sample.
Nine vulnerable young people from low-income backgrounds were recruited from a non-government social enterprise and partner organisations in Peninsular Malaysia. Participants completed a battery of social recovery assessment tools (including time use, unusual experiences, self-schematic beliefs and values). Time for completion and completion rates were used as indices of feasibility. Acceptability was examined using qualitative interviews in which participants were asked to reflect on the experience of completing the assessment tools. Following a deductive approach, the themes were examined for fit with previous UK qualitative accounts of social recovery assessments.
Feasibility was indicated by relatively efficient completion time and high completion rates. Qualitative interviews highlighted the perceived benefits of social recovery assessments, such as providing psychoeducation, aiding in self-reflection and stimulating goal setting, in line with findings from UK youth samples.
We provide preliminary evidence for the feasibility and acceptability of social recovery assessment tools in a low-resource context, comparing the experiential process of engaging young Malaysian participants in social recovery assessments with prior accounts from a UK sample. We also suggest that respondents may derive some personal and psychoeducational benefits from participating in assessments (e.g. of their time use and mental health) within a social recovery framework.