New research to investigate mental health

Researchers commissioned to transform mental health care in England and Wales are appealing for service users in the Nottinghamshire area to take part in the ground-breaking project.

The team from The University of Nottingham’s School of Health Sciences is working with experts from Manchester University and healthcare professionals to create a system that will involve mental health patients more closely in the planning and delivery of their care.

The researchers are appealing for patients to contact them to contribute their own personal understanding and experiences of ‘care planning’, what user/carer ‘involvement’ actually means to them, and what impact they feel care planning has. This information will then be used to develop a tool to accurately measure user/carer involvement, which is currently lacking in assessing care planning.

The Enhancing the quality of user-involved care planning in Mental Health Services (EQUIP) programme is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research programme and will run for five years. Its recent review of current mental health policy implementation has shown that service users are not being involved enough in the planning of their care even though that has been the aspiration.

Leading the research at Nottingham, Professor Patrick Callaghan, Head of the University’s School of Health Sciences, said:

“These interviews are crucial in giving people on the frontline of receiving and delivering mental health care the opportunity to influence the way that care is provided. Our study will provide a platform for those using mental health services, the people supporting them, and staff providing care, to influence the research and ensure that our end product will benefit everyone involved”.

The EQUIP project has already trained a number of service users and carers in research methods so that they can become fully involved in every aspect of this research programme, including interviewing participants. Andrew Grundy, a service-user who was trained as a mental-health researcher especially for this project, said:

“It’s the opinions of service users, carers, and mental health professionals themselves that are vital in improving the future of care planning. I’m really looking forward to hearing people share what has worked well for them and how they feel things could be improved.”

Interviews will last up to 90 minutes and a choice of dates and locations throughout Nottinghamshire are available. If you would like to take part in an interview, or would like more information about the project, please contact Research Associate Andrew Grundy on 0115 823 0483 or by email:

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