I have a deep personal commitment to research and innovation in the area of mental health. Whilst there is an epidemic of mental health disorders in this country, our mental health outcomes are not better than in the Third World. In order to improve this lamentable situation, it is vital for the user voice to be put at the heart of mental health provision.
Currently, decisions about provision are heavily influenced by the research and opinions of the pharmaceutical industry and the psychology professions – which, for all the expertise they may have, are not succeeding in improving mental health outcomes.
To make sure that users really get what helps them, it is crucial to temper commercial and professional research with the responses and information of the people who actually receive treatment. Treatment must benefit end users in ways that are appreciable to them. Being better means feeling better, not just elimination of symptoms as assessed by a professional.
It is also vital to understand and overcome the blocks in the system which are holding up positive change.
My work represents the service user voice through qualitative research, and supports mental health providers in bringing about positive change.
I sit on the Advisory Board of the ‘Time to Change’ anti-stigma campaign, and have carried out one of the largest pieces of qualitative research conducted into improving end users’ experiences of psychotherapy.
Conference papers on these themes can be downloaded from the ‘Documents for Download’ section in the right hand column of this page.