'No one knows like we do' - the narratives of mental health service users trained as researchers

Palmer, David, Williams, Lucy, White, Sue, Chenga, Charity, Calabria, Verusca, Branch, Dawn, Arundal, Sue, Storer, Linda, Ash, Chris, Cuthill, Claire, Bezuayehu, Hazel and Hatzidimitriadou, Eleni (2009) 'No one knows like we do' - the narratives of mental health service users trained as researchers. Journal of Public Mental Health, 8(4), pp. 18-28. ISSN (print) 1746-5729


In 2008, Mind in Bexley received a research development grant from the Big Lottery Fund and a training grant from Bexley Care Trust to empower service users to par ticipate and contribute to a pilot research project. The project aims were to work with, develop, train and suppor the service users as researchers, in order to record the narratives of service users who have common experiences of mental health distress and treatment. The research development project set up an advisory group, created and developed a partnership with the University of Kent and provided workshops and training sessions to explore some of the principles of research and ethics. In addition, the group under took a preliminary literature review, developed and refined a research questionnaire and piloted interviews with six service users. Many issues were raised and lessons learned during the planning and conduct of the project. This paper discusses the process and reflects on aspects of the project�s design and delivery. In addition, this paper highlights some of the difficulties in under taking service user research and suggests recommendations as to how to overcome some of these complex issues.

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