I am a social scientist and mental health service user. I started to work in the field of user-led research in mental health in a London charity where I developed the model of User Focused Monitoring (UFM). In 2001 I went to the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London where I am now co-director of the Service User Research Enterprise (SURE). I have developed models of patient-centred systematic reviews and participatory research in a mental health context. My journey back from the blight of ‘community care’ started with my involvement in the UK user/survivor movement and I remain determined to maintain those roots.