What is it about?

We assessed the effectiveness of the Activa't per la Salut Mental (Get Active for Mental Health) program. This program, aimed at empowering mental health service users and their families, was implemented at 12 locations in Catalonia. It included four sequential interventions: orientation, psychoeducation, empowerment, and mutual support. In a randomized controlled implementation trial, we studied the impact on recovery, family caregiving burden, and perceived social support in a sample of 440 individuals. They were grouped in pairs (family units) and assigned to either the treatment or control groups. We collected outcome data using validated tools at the start, 6 months, and 12 months after the first group intervention. Our findings indicate that the group receiving the intervention had better recovery scores than the control group after 6 months, but this gap wasn't statistically significant after 12 months. Additionally, increased participation was linked to improved recovery and reduced care burden. When we looked at sociodemographic factors, we found more favorable outcomes in the intervention group when the person in recovery was younger, their relative was female, or they lived outside of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

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Why is it important?

Enhancing empowerment and recovery is crucial for advancing the rights and fostering social justice for individuals dealing with severe distress and their families. Our study suggests that the Activa't per la Salut program produced positive outcomes, despite the challenges of conducting a randomized controlled trial for a complex intervention. Some issues may have arisen due to the strict eligibility criteria and the extended duration of the evaluated intervention. Based on the experience we've gained, we can confidently say that it has the potential to be scaled up and adapted to other contexts. Further research can provide a deeper understanding of how the program operates and enhance our scientific knowledge regarding the effectiveness of complex interventions and multicomponent programs in mental health.


This project has provided us valuable insights on the collaborative development of a comprehensive support program for individuals with lived experienced of severe distress and their relatives, while subjecting it to the most rigorous evaluation methods. This endeavor requires the active involvement of multiple stakeholders united in their pursuit of enhancing the daily lives of those affected.

Dr Francisco José Eiroa-Orosa
Universitat de Barcelona

For the past few decades, policymakers in the mental health field have emphasized the importance of boosting empowerment and recovery. This study assesses how we can turn theory and evidence into practical solutions. It provides useful information for decision-makers aiming to make the program available to every citizen along the territory.

Maria J San Pío Tendero

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A randomized controlled implementation trial of a multicomponent integrated care program to empower mental health service users and their relatives throughout the recovery process., American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, October 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/ort0000704.
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