The impact of involvement in mental health research on views about mental health services and service use: findings from a UK survey

Patterson, Sue, Trite, Jenny and Tim, Weaver ORCID logoORCID: (2016) The impact of involvement in mental health research on views about mental health services and service use: findings from a UK survey. Mental Health and Addiction Research, 1 (2) . pp. 47-51. [Article] (doi:10.15761/MHAR.1000112)

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Background: Involvement of service users in mental health research, whether predicated on rights-based or instrumentalist arguments, is appropriately understood as a purposive social action likely to have both intended and unintended consequences. Despite rhetoric and some evidence that involvement is a good thing and confers benefits on the people involved, the impact on involved individuals remain underexplored.

Aims: To describe the impact of involvement in research on views about mental health services and service use.

Method: A cross-sectional survey of service users involved in mental health research across the UK. Data collected from 166 respondents using an online questionnaire were analysed using the framework approach and narratively synthesised.

Results: Involvement, through enabling ‘behind the scenes’ access shaped views of service users about services and service use. Increased awareness of challenges and shortcomings of service delivery shifted expectations, commonly empowering service users to proactively engage in treatment. However, for some respondents, disillusionment led to discontinuation of services.

Conclusions: Empowerment is a common outcome of involvement but a minority of service users may become critical and drop out of services. People considering involvement in research should be informed about the potential impact on their views and service use and be appropriately supported during involvement. The theory of user involvement needed to support robust examination of process and outcomes must encompass unintended consequences.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): user involvement, research, mental health, impact, survey, qualitative
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 25839
Notes on copyright: Copyright: ©2016 Patterson S. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Depositing User: Timothy Weaver
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2019 08:44
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 19:28

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