University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Compassion in mental health: a literature review

Rooney, Joy ORCID: (2020) Compassion in mental health: a literature review. Mental Health and Social Inclusion. ISSN Print: 2042-8308, Online: 2042-8316 (In Press)

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To systematically review the current literature on compassion in mental health from a historical, service user and carer (SUAC)/academic researcher perspective with respect to the current paradigm/biomedical model
Searches were conducted in CIANHL Complete, Academic Search Complete, British Education Index, ERIC, MEDLINE, PsycArticles, Scorpus, Proquest Central using a simplified PRISM approach.
In the UK, the SUAC-movement facilitated the adoption of more compassionate mental health in statutory services. Across the world, compassion-based approaches may be viewed as beneficial, especially to those experiencing a biomedical model ‘treatment’. Healthcare workers, suffering burnout and fatigue during neoliberal economics, benefit from compassion training, both in their practice and personally. Randomised control trials (RCTs) demonstrate compassion-type interventions are effective, given sufficient intervention timing, duration, and design methodology. Psychology creates outcome measures of adequacies and deficiencies in compassion, demonstrating their importance statistically, with reservations. The effective protection of mental health by self-compassion in both SUACs and health care professionals is evident. It is clear from qualitative research that SUACs prefer compassionate mental health. It also makes a large difference to mental health in general populations. Implications for practice and suggestions for future research are given, including a necessity to fund RCTs comparing compassionate mental health interventions with the biomedical model. Unless statutory mental health services adopt this emerging evidence base, medics and their SUACs will continue to rely on pharmaceuticals.
This is the first integrated literature review of compassion in mental health from a historical, SUAC/academic researcher viewpoint using all research methodologies.

Item Type: Article
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This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: compassion, self-compassion, mental health, biomedical model, service users and carers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RT Nursing
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Joy Rooney
Date Deposited: 28 May 2020 10:15
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2020 14:31

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