Evidence Library

Title: Cases for change: User involvement in mental health services and research.
Author: Clark, M., Glasby, J. & Lester, H.
Date Published: 2004
Reference: Research Policy and Planning, 22(2), 31-38.
Are service users or carers authors: No/Not Known


This paper describes the authors' experiences of involving mental health service users in research on adult mental health services. It identifies key benefits of user involvement in research in terms of:

Impact on the research:
  • the user perspective helped shape the analysis of themes and trends as well as the academic's views
  • the focus of the research was changed to emphasise the diversity of views on causes of mental illness, how best to deal with mental distress and how best to organise services.

Benefits for the service user researcher:

  • using skills that were thought to have been lost
  • developing new skills and knowledge
  • greater self-esteem and confidence
  • social interaction
  • earning money
  • making use of users' experience and knowledge.

Impact on the academic researchers:

  • more thought given to service users needs particularly in terms of language used in reports
  • assumptions, attitudes and values were challenged.

However, the pressure of work did lead to the service user researcher becoming unwell during the course of the project. This led the researchers to question whether they had provided adequate support.

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Related entry: none currently available

Categories: health
public health
social care
Identifying topics, prioritising and commissioning
Analysing and interpreting
Writing up and disseminating
impact on research
impact on service users involved
impact on researchers
impact of public involvement
journal article

Date Entered: 2007/03/03

Date Edited: 2012/11/21

Additional Info: