2004 Conference

Although substantial work has been undertaken in developing methods of involving service users in research, the forensic mental health context does present a number of unique problems associated with access, the need to maintain security, confidentiality and the protection of individuals.

The UK Department of Health’s Forensic Mental Health Research and Development Programme commissions research on the management of people with personality disorder or severe mental illness within settings of differing levels of security, from maximum secure hospitals to those in community settings. It also commissions work related to the mental health of prisoners.

The Programme has taken a variety of approaches to involving service users in the research process

  • Commissioning an expert paper “User Involvement in Forensic Mental Health Research and Development” by Alison Faulkner and Brigid Morris.
  • Inviting service users to sit on the Programme’s Advisory Board
  • Involving service users in the peer review process including a pilot study being undertaken within Rampton High Secure Hospital to involve patients from forensic settings in peer reviewing
  • Commissioning research projects which address service user involvement in forensic mental health research

This paper will describe the problems and solutions of service user involvement in forensic mental health research and will raise issues around meaningful service user involvement in research commissioning.

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