Skye Barbic: Measuring personal recovery in individuals with chronic mental health conditions

In brief

Skye Barbic is developing a scale that will enable mental health consumers and clinicians to track personal recovery and identify appropriate next steps for promoting recovery. The tool has the potential to lead to new standards of care for people who utilize mental health services and for guiding mental health reform.

Read more about Skye’s research in our latest Student Spotlight. Student Spotlights are brief profiles of up-and-coming student researchers

Read this Student Spotlight below or download the PDF.

What you need to know

Skye Barbic is developing a scale that will enable mental health consumers and clinicians to track personal recovery and identify appropriate next steps for promoting recovery. The tool has the potential to lead to new standards of care for people who utilize mental health services and for guiding mental health reform. 

About Skye

Born and raised north of Montreal, Skye is a postdoctoral fellow in the Sociel Aetiology of Mental Illness (SAMI) program at CAMH. She is currently working on a project with Dr. Sean Kidd and Dr. Kwame McKenzie to develop a comprehensive measure of personal recovery for individuals with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.

Skye is a registered occupational therapist who completed a Master’s degree in mental health rehabilitation at Queen’s University and a doctorate degree in rehabilitation at McGill University.

In addition to her studies, Skye taught courses in occupational therapy and supervised occupational therapy students at both McGill and Queen’s. She also worked on an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team for several years helping individuals with severe mental illness. The experience led Skye to pursue research to better understand and help individuals with severe mental illness find a path to recovery.

Skye’s research interests focus on bringing rigour and expertise in measurement to the field of mental health. Her dissertation, supervised by Drs. Nancy Mayo and Susan Bartlett, looked at the emotional health of caregivers of stroke victims. She has received two doctoral research awards, one from the Heart & Stroke foundation of Canada and one from the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation. In her spare time, Skye enjoys cycling and spending time with her husband and two children.

What is Skye’s Research About?

During her postdoctoral year, Skye is planning to create an assessment tool to understand and measure personal recovery. The tool will be called the Personal Recovery Outcome Measure (PROM). The first step: interviewing 30 individuals with mental illness to better understand the concept of “personal recovery”, and how a person can move toward or away from their path toward personal recovery. 

The second step: creating items for the PROM from the results of the interviews and from a review of existing measures of recovery. The third step involves administering the questionnaire to 300 people receiving outpatient mental health services from one of three health centres in the United States and Canada. Skye will then conduct analyses to determine whether the scale is valid and reliable. 

How can this research be used?

The scale that Skye develops would be available for mental health consumers and clinicians to use to track personal recovery and identify appropriate next steps for promoting recovery. The tool will have potential for developing new standards of care for people who utilize mental health services and for guiding mental health reform. It is also Skye hopes that her research will help “rehabilitation and recovery play a bigger role in mental health research and services”.

What’s next for Skye?

Skye hopes to continue to conduct and promote research in mental health. In particular, she hopes to be able to develop program evaluation skills to evaluate recovery interventions from multiple perspectives (patients, providers, systems) and to learn methods to influence healthcare policy in Canada. She also wishes to continue to teach and mentor occupational therapy students. Her ultimate goal: to become an independent investigator and educator in Rehabilitation Sciences in a leading academic centre. 

For more information about Skye’s study, please contact her at skye [dot] barbic [at] camh [dot] ca

Author: Karen Roberts
Date: April 8, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

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