Chapter

‘Still out there?’ Is the service user voice becoming lost as user involvement moves into the mental health research mainstream?

Kati Turner and Steve Gillard

in Critical Perspectives on User Involvement

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427519
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305590 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847427519.003.0018
‘Still out there?’ Is the service user voice becoming lost as user involvement moves into the mental health research mainstream?

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Service user involvement in mental health research has moved on from the pioneering research that characterized the turn of the millennium: the surveys of service provision environments supported by the Sainsbury Centre's User Focused Monitoring initiative; the emancipatory user- and survivor-led research typified by the Strategies for Living project run from the Mental Health Foundation; and the Service User Research Enterprise's bold work on Electro Convulsive Therapy, challenging ideas about who decides what research outcomes are. Policy changes are promoting individualised mental health and social care services, and a need for the people who use those services to be involved in the evaluation of these new forms of service delivery. Service user involvement in research has become mainstream and has moved into the university. This chapter questions whether the distinctive voices of service user researchers, heard clearly but kept at arms' length during those pioneering years, retain the radical edge as they speak from within the university. Is service user involvement in research ‘still out there’? By way of a dialogue between a service user researcher and university researcher, the current role and impact of service user involvement in research is critiqued.

Keywords: service user involvement; mental health; collaborative research; lived experience; cultural obstacles

Chapter.  4616 words. 

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