Finland used to have the worst statistics in Europe for mental health. Until a group of family therapists in Tornio, Lapland, got together and asked how they could do it better. The result was something called Open Dialogue. They claim that 80% of people experiencing a first episode psychosis made a full recovery compared to only 20% in the UK.

Open Dialogue is changing the way we think about people in distress. Instead of asking what’s wrong with a person, the focus is on what has happened to them. The entire social network is included in the treatment by coming together for meetings in which all voices are encouraged to be heard.

Consultant Psychiatrist and author Dr. Russell Razzaque is in the process of introducing Open Dialogue into the NHS. He runs year-long courses for mental health professionals, as well as peers and carers.

Here is the promo that Green Lane Films was commissioned to produce.

Green Lane Films was also commissioned to film the first two years of training for online learning purposes. This was so that training could eventually be rolled out in situ as NHS employees find it difficult to take time out for training with the over stretched case loads in the mental health services.

Dr Russell Razzaque secured government funding for clinical trials to take place in the UK. So far the only research available was done in Finland, by the medical team itself. Given the potential for bias the results do not hold up to international scrutiny. If the NHS Open Dialogue clinical trials, that are being researched by an independent body show positive result, the mental health services will change for the better.

Providing Open Dialogue is intensive in terms of manpower and time and therefore costs – but only for the first two years. If it proves effective, this will surely offset the longer term costs of a system that is having to treat the same people again and again over their lifetime.

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