2012 Conference

This presentation will use an experiential and interactive approach (a workshop involving live performance and group discussion) to reflect on the experiences of a group of service user and academic researchers in UCLan working together to investigate independent mental health advocacy. The workshop will mainly explore how the service use researchers experienced and negotiated their involvement in the advocacy project alongside the academic team of researchers.

Affirming, as well as challenging and unsettling, aspects of involvement for both service user and academic researchers will be examined. The presentation will also explore the service user and academic researchers’ views on the amount and quality of the support available to the service user researchers during their engagement with the project.

The workshop will be structured around 3 short plays/vignettes followed by group discussion and take 90 minutes. We will consider recording of the plays on film so that they could be used in further discussions and reach a wider audience via online forums.

Finally, the learning points and issues for discussion will be mainly drawn from the
service user and academic researchers’ reflections on their learning and development through their personal and collective experience of involvement in the project.


Able ~ Laura

Laura Able has been a mental health service user of various types of provision and as the system rarely let’s go once labelled; still has to go through the motions of being a recipient of the medical model once or twice a year.

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de la Haye ~ Stephanie

Stephanie de la Haye is user of mental health services for the past 25 years and has a diverse portfolio that includes, non-executive director of the Richmond Fellowship, Sheffield Hallam University BA Social work, Practice assessor, research associate Sheffield University, SHARR, National MHFA instructor, Chair & Founder of S.O.D.I.T a mental health charity.

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Newbigging ~ Karen

Karen Newbigging, Principal Lecturer, School of Health, University of Central Lancashire. Karen is a researcher in mental health policy, service user and survivor involvement, advocacy, equalities and related areas. Karen led the review of Independent Mental Health Advocate services and is interested in exploring new ways of working in partnership with mental health service users.

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Poursanidou ~ Dina

Dina Poursanidou is an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Manchester and also uses mental health services. Dina had her first major mental health crisis in 1991 when she was studying for a Master’s degree. Following this crisis, Dina embarked on a journey of self-discovery and healing and completing a PhD.

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Ridley ~ Julie

Julie Ridley is an academic researcher at UCLAN in the School of Social Work. She is an experienced researcher who has worked in partnership with peer researchers in mental health and other areas, including as mentor supporting user and community groups to conduct research in Scotland.

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Sadd ~ June

June Sadd has worked for the charitable sector for over 20 years as a volunteer and professional. This has been mainly in the Health and Social Care field often with a focus on groups or service users getting involved or having a voice. Often with those who are seldom heard, vulnerable or diverse.

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