New social inclusion measure could change lives

New social inclusion measure could change lives

24 January 2022

An award-winning Orygen researcher’s unique measure of social inclusion is set to deliver significant benefits for people living with mental ill-health.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Kate Filia designed, tested and refined the Filia Social Inclusion Measure (F-SIM16), a 16-question self-report form that can be used to assess someone’s level of social inclusion.

The tool is vital to better understanding the relationship between mental health and social inclusion, and in turn help improve treatment and outcomes for people.

A disproportionate number of people with mental ill-health experience social exclusion – facing challenges in key areas of life, such as housing, finances, employment, education and relationships.

“Using the F-SIM16 in clinical settings could create more targeted and personalised needs-based care, and ultimately change the trajectory of recovery for people living with mental ill-health,” Dr Filia said.

“There are many potential applications of the F-SIM16 which could significantly improve lives. These include better understanding the dynamics between mental health and social inclusion, determining service gaps, and informing policy development and service reform to improve social inclusion and the health and wellbeing of people with mental illness.

While other social inclusion measures exist, the F-SIM16 is unique in combining a strong theoretical foundation with significant input from people with lived experience of mental ill-health, across four stages of research.

The latest stage involved 506 participants, and resulted in reducing the number of F-SIM questions from 135 to 16, with four questions relating to each of the four priority life domains identified: housing and neighbourhood, finances, employment and education, and social participation and relationships.

You can read more about the most recent study in this paper published in the journal Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences.

Dr Filia’s work on the F-SIM16 has been recognised through her Society for Mental Health Research’s Early-Mid Career Best Research Paper Award, TheMHS Early Career Research in Mental Health Award for Excellence and through being named as a Science in Public 2021 Fresh Scientist.