There are lots of reasons why researchers should collaborate with people with experience of using health and social care services. For an insight into public and patient involvement in research, from the perspectives of all involved, check out this repository of Healthtalk videos.
For some years I have been a member of the National Centre for Mental Health Service User and Carer Research Partnership (SUCRP). Much as the Service User and Carer Group Advising on Research (SUGAR) based at City University London has been doing, SUCRP is now creating opportunities for mental health researchers to secure service users’ and carers’ views on their ideas and project proposals. Slots are available, right now, and information (including on how to book in) can be found in the flyer below:
This is an excellent initiative, which needs publicising and support. Spread the word.
Last week I had the opportunity to join colleagues at the Millennium Stadium for the launch of Health and Care Research Wales. This is the new name for what was, until very recently, the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR).
I’ve written before about the reorganisation of the research infrastructure here in Wales (see here and here), and Thursday’s event was an important unveiling of the outcome of recent deliberations. For a shortcut, here’s the public information video:
And, for a single-page diagram of how everything is fitting together, follow this link. As this shows, one of the things Health and Care Research Wales has done is to (re)commission a number of Centres and Units, an example of the former being the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH).
By the looks of things, funding streams are to remain much as they were under NISCHR, with opportunities for PhD, post-doctoral and project awards to follow. Researchers in Wales can continue applying for support to many (but not all) of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) programmes. This is vital, because it is through this mechanism that funding is available for studies into health services and delivery (amongst other things). This is an area of research in which Wales has no dedicated funding stream of its own, and in which the new Centres and Units may be interested to varying degrees.
Finally, a word on a Welsh Government centrepiece, HealthWise Wales. This is aiming to prospectively, and electronically, recruit many thousands of people into future health and social care research.
The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), a NISCHR-funded research centre, has opened a consultation on future mental health research priorities for Wales. For more information, and instructions on how to make a contribution, follow this link. I see the NCMH is also planning a live Twitter discussion on Thursday August 21st 2014, between 7pm and 8pm. The hashtag pulling all of this together is #TellNCMH.
Here are my priorities, as submitted this morning:
- How do we make mental health services more person-centred and collaborative, particularly at a time of financial constraint and cuts to public services?
- What do service users need to promote recovery, and how can services be organised and provided in ways which reflect this?
- What is shared decision-making in mental health, what are its effects, and what can be done to improve it?
- New roles in mental health, including peer support: what is the impact on users, workers and organisations?
- Understanding and improving the experiences of organising, providing and receiving mental health care across system interfaces (eg, transitions from home to community crisis services, or community crisis services to inpatient care, or from hospital to home, or from community CAMHS to inpatient CAMHS, or from 18-65 to older people’s services, or across interprofessional interfaces, etc).
In my response I made the additional point that parity of esteem means investing in mental health services and also in mental health research (see my recent post here). More generally, I suggested we need research into the causes of mental ill-health and distress and into actions and interventions (physical, psychological, social) which help, and research into the experiences of people receiving and working in services, and research into the organisation and delivery of services.