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Opportunity to shape mental health research in Scotland

Opportunity to shape mental health research in Scotland

27th August 2019

Do you have lived experience of accessing mental health treatment? NRS Mental Health are looking for people to join their Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) advisory group to help inform their work.

Getting involved provides an opportunity to discover how research within the NHS is developed. Working with the NRS Mental Health research teams your insights will make research more relevant to those it is designed to benefit. This can happen in different ways, including:

  • Joining focus groups to provide feedback on research plans
  • Improving patient information leaflets
  • Simplifying the way researchers talk about the results of their research to make findings more accessible to everyone.

NRS Mental Health provides support to improve the quality and quantity of research and promote excellence in mental health clinical research in Scotland. This includes both commercial and academic studies across a wide range of areas including imaging, psychosocial, genetic, multi-centre clinical trials, and e-health. Your experiences, thoughts and opinions can help inform and improve the quality of mental health research.

Professor Andrew Gumley, NRS Mental Health Clinical Lead, encourages patients and the public to get involved:

“Involving patients and the public in mental health research is crucial. Mental health researchers and clinicians need to understand and incorporate the expertise of people with lived experience of mental health problems to improve the design of mental health research and support the development of new treatments and therapies. Our Public and Patient Involvement Group will help ensure that researchers can access such expertise in planning future mental health research and in return NRS Mental Health will support members of the PPI group to develop their confidence and expertise in making a contribution to mental health research.”

Catherine Deith, NRS Mental Health Network Manager, explains patients are more than participants, their involvement is crucial at every stage:

“Involving patients and the public in the research process rather than just as participants in a study is crucial to improving the quality and relevance of studies, ensuring their perspectives are incorporated and central to all that we do. It helps us in NRS Mental Health to identify topics for research and ensure these topics are relevant to patients, carers and members of the public; ensures that our researchers ask the right questions, in a way the public can understand and makes patients feel comfortable; and ultimately improves not just the quality of research by adding another point of view to the way research is undertaken, but also the findings that will go on to influence patient treatment and care.”

Chris White, Network Service User Involvement Worker, shares his experiences of being involved in research:  

“Involvement has been a foundation of my recovery. Others seeing my value helped me recognise my worth and opened up opportunities to do something good.”

What is involved?

The Advisory Group meets three or four times a year and meetings are generally ninety minutes. Advisory Group members are also encouraged to attend the NRS Mental Health Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), a one-day event normally held in October of each year. All travel expenses to attend meetings and the ASM will be reimbursed.

In addition to attending meetings, members may on occasion be invited to take part in focus groups or to comment on research information sent to them. If members are unable to attend a particular meeting or provide feedback on papers, the Network will always try to find other ways that members can be involved. Members will not be under any obligation to assist in a study and can withdraw from the advisory group at any time.

How do I apply to join the advisory group?

  • No prior experience or specialist knowledge of research is required
  • People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to apply
  • Anyone with a lived experience of a mental health condition can apply to join the advisory group
  • You will be asked some basic information about yourself, what interests you about mental health research and why you would like to be involved in mental health research.

You may then be invited to attend an informal information session, where you can meet researchers and current advisory group members

If you would like to apply to join the advisory group or would like more information about getting involved, get in touch with NRS Mental Health via:

Emailing us does not commit you to joining the group, but gives us permission to get in touch with you and answer any questions you may have.

Interested in finding out more?

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