IntroductionStrengths-based approaches mobilise individual and environmental resources that can facilitate the recovery of people with mental illness. Strengths model case management (SMCM), developed by Rapp and Goscha through collaborative efforts at the University of Kansas, offers a structured and innovative intervention. As evidence of the effectiveness of strengths-based interventions come from Western studies, which lacked rigorous research design or failed to assure fidelity to the model, we aim to fill these gaps and conduct a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to test the effectiveness of SMCM for individuals with mental illness in Hong Kong.
Methods and analysisThis will be an RCT of SMCM. Assuming a medium intervention effect (Cohen's d=0.60) with 30% missing data (including dropouts), 210 service users aged 18 years or above will be recruited from three community mental health centres. They will be randomly assigned to SMCM groups (intervention) or SMILE groups (control) in a 1:1 ratio. The SMCM groups will receive strengths model interventions from case workers, whereas the SMILE groups will receive generic care from case workers with an attention placebo. The case workers will all be embedded in the community centres and will be required to provide a session with service users in both groups at least once every fortnight. There will be two groups of case workers for the intervention and control groups, respectively. The effectiveness of the SMCM will be compared between the two groups of service users with outcomes at baseline, 6 and 12 months after recruitment. Functional outcomes will also be reported by case workers. Data on working alliances and goal attainment will be collected from individual case workers. Qualitative evaluation will be conducted to identify the therapeutic ingredients and conditions leading to positive outcomes. Trained outcome assessors will be blind to the group allocation.
Ethics and disseminationEthical approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Hong Kong has been obtained (HRECNCF: EA1703078). The results will be disseminated to service users and their families via the media, to healthcare professionals via professional training and meetings and to researchers via conferences and publications.
Trial registration number12617001435370; Pre-results.