Service User and Carer Group Advising on Research

Your dose of SUGAR for January, and a sweetener for February!


After a lovely break for Christmas, during which we hung up our research hats for an afternoon and went out to enjoy a meal together, it was back to business in January with three very different projects to consult on. All of our visiting researchers came from East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), and are based at the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, Newham, which is part of the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine.


First, we welcomed PhD student Sophie Walsh, who is developing an app-based wellbeing intervention for people living with depression or anxiety. The group discussed the basics of what they thought would, and would not be helpful features of such an app, and thought about what kinds of groups may benefit from using it.


Dr Domenico Giacco, a psychiatrist interested in improving the experience of involuntarily admitted service users asked for SUGAR’s views on a proposed intervention, and Dr Victoria Bird asked us to examine draft interview questions for a large Europe-wide project exploring different models of care delivery. There were lots of views expressed, particularly around the experience of involuntarily detained service users, which Domenico said “further increased my confidence that the topic of my proposal is of importance and I received many helpful suggestions on which I will capitalise whilst revising the application”.


The schedule for our next meeting on the 26th February has already been set. Dr Rose Thompson, a researcher based at ELFT/QMUL, is coming to obtain some input from SUGAR on her proposed project, which aims to explore how the ethical issues faced by workers hoping to support service users to develop close, supportive relationships may be managed, which is sure to turn up some interesting discussions.


We’re also going to take some time to plan a few bits for the future, before hearing from Dr Chris Flood. Chris is a mental health nurse at the School of Health Sciences, City University London, with close links to ELFT. He’s looking to gather the thoughts of SUGAR about the merits of his proposed project, which will explore the effects of violent assaults at work on mental health workers. Chris is particularly keen to get SUGAR’s views on whether increasing our knowledge in this area will positively benefit service users and carers.


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