Service User and Carer Group Advising on Research

November 17, 2016
by David Thomas

SUGAR at NPNR 2016!


On the 14th September 13 SUGAR members and City University of London staff travelled up to Nottingham to attend the 22nd International Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) Conference 2016.  Most of the group stayed in the Crown Plaza hotel which was beautiful and the staff were extremely friendly.  The hotel was only a stone’s throw away from the conference centre so we could walk there and back without any difficulty. Some of the group also took the chance to explore Nottingham a little in their spare time while others preferred to relax in the hotel’s sauna and swimming pool!


This year the SUGAR workhop carried on from the previous year’s Dragons Den winner (Cher Hallet) and looked at how her proposed study into Intra Muscular medication administration had been developed into a full research proposal. It was quite a tough year in terms of competing for the audience members attending as so much was going on at the same time as our workshop but the people who did attend engaged very well and were all extremely impressed with Cher’s passion surrounding this project and the input SUGAR had into helping her and the team get it off the ground.



Jay Hudson and Sally Barlow were also both members of the “Tweet Team” who were tweeting on behalf of the Mental Elf Service and the conference as part of a new initiative. This helped those people who could not attend the conference keep up to speed hence making it more inclusive and user friendly.

We had good feedback from people at the conference and everyone was impressed at just how active the SUGAR members were in asking questions in workshops covering a range of interesting and sometimes sensitive issues. The drawings accompanying this short blog are once again courtesy of our very own excellent artist Michael Ahern!






November 17, 2016
by David Thomas

Our SUGAR stall at ELFT Mental Health Reaserch Day.

On Wednesday 5th October East London Foundation Trust presented a mental health research day where they invited SUGAR to have a stall promoting what we stood for and how we advised on research as service users and carers. The day was organised by Professor Stefan Priebe and his excellent team including Karin Albani who promotes and plans the event every year. Both have strong connections with SUGAR and are firm supporters of our group.

This half-day conference had the format of very brief presentations on a wide range of research projects that are being conducted in the Trust. Thus, you got information on 14 different projects, ranging from epidemiological studies to clinical trials and qualitative work.

Alan Simpson, Michael Ahern and Claudette Brandon were there representing SUGAR and giving out booklets and engaging with researchers, clinicians and other professionals in the mental health field to promote the good work we do in our monthly SUGAR meetings. Below are some pictures of our stall taken on the day.



November 7, 2016
by David Thomas

Our friends from Japan visit!

We were delighted to see our frieds from Japan on Thursday 29th September when they paid us a visit for our monthly SUGAR meeting.

Prof Kazuyo Kitaoka is based at Kanazawa University and Prof Kayoko Ohnishi, at Sonoda Women’s University in Hyōgo, Japan.

Both have visited before and have set-up a mini SUGAR Japan, which is more of a peer support project and they have sent us a video clip before to use at a conference.

This time they brought a new person, Junko Katsuragawa, who has been awarded a fellowship and is keen to establish a similar SU research group along the lines of SUGAR. Stigma is MUCH more of an issue in Japan so this is a massive shift.

We had a lovely time together and exchanged gifts and they were extremely generous as always. They seemed very impressed with the group dynamic and were keen to know about how we went about recruiting for new members and how well we managed a large group and for everyone’s voice to be heard.

We’re very glad to say they had a safe journey back to Japan and who knows, one day we could be visiting them to see just how far their own service user group has developed……