At the heart of the matter: Co-designing a lifestyle based mental health intervention for patients

following a cardiovascular event

For people with heart disease, poor mental health is related to worse health outcomes, including increased risk of future cardiac events, readmission to hospital, increased mortality, and lower quality of life. These patients also face increased barriers to care and feel that their mental health needs are often unmet within the current health care system.

Encouragingly, we know that the same lifestyle therapies delivered as part of cardiac rehabilitation, such as exercise and nutrition counselling, are now also considered foundational treatments for depression. This significant overlap should be utilised for cardiovascular patients and is often under-recognised by clinicians and patients alike.

This project aims to address this by exploring patient needs through group modelling techniques and using the experienced-based co-design framework to co-design a lifestyle intervention tailored towards patients’ mental health needs following a heart event. The data generated in this study will be used to seek category one funding to develop this intervention and assess its feasibility. The team hope to start recruiting consumers and clinical stakeholders to take part in workshops later this year.

Dr Sarah Gauci (SOLVE-CHD Postdoctoral Researcher) was able to secure funding for this project through Deakin University’s Faculty of Health Research Capacity Building Grant Scheme (HAtCH)

The Team:

  • Dr Sarah Gauci, Deakin University
  • Dr Susie Cartledge, Monash University
  • Dr Wolf Marx, Deakin University
  • Prof Andrea Driscoll, Deakin University

Figure. The three-phase approach to co-designing a mental health intervention for patients following a heart event