If you follow me on Twitter (@SDenegri) you might notice that I regularly RT the work of the McPin Foundation which exists to ‘transform mental health research by putting the lived experience of people affected by mental health problems at the heart of research methods and the research agenda.’ It’s a fabulous organisation.
Prior to Christmas they produced the second of their Talking Point Papers – Patient and Public Involvement in Research: Why Not? Written by McPin Researcher, Kirsten Morgan, and based on copious interviews with people in mental health research, it’s an excellent overview of the key issues in that field.
For me personally, the strongest message I heard was a desire on the part of public involvement’s die-hard fans and its sternest critics, to stay clear of dogma; to focus time and attention on how, when and where public involvement can make the most difference to research: pragmatic, proportionate, purposeful.
You may have seen the new ‘We swear’ public awareness campaign by MQ Transforming Mental Health on buses and in the media. It is trying to draw attention to the lack of help and support available to young people and how research might help. The challenges in young people’s mental health are stark as today’s report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health shows.
Young people must be at the heart of development the research agenda as I am sure you will agree. So I’m delighted to hear that McPin is setting up a new Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group to help run a Priority Setting Partnership to identify the to ten research priorities in young people’s mental health. If you are 14-24 and interested in joining or know someone who might be, further details can be found here. Applications need to be in by 13th February I believe and places are limited.
Finally, you may recall that last year a Mental Health Taskforce Chaired by Paul Farmer (Mind) published a comprehensive report and recommendations on improving mental health. In January the Prime Minister followed up with a keynote speech on mental health with a big focus on young people. You can see some of the detail of the latter announcement here and the NIHR ‘call’ that it put out on the day here.
Talking with people in the Department of Health last week it was good to hear how progress is going with the development of the Taskforce’s recommendation of a mental health research strategy. Also, how people with mental health issues have been involved in its genesis so far. There is much work still to be done but mental health may at last be getting the focus in needs.
In the meantime if you wish to keep on top of the NIHR’s mental health research results you can do so via its NIHR Dissemination Centre ‘Signals’ here.
Watch this space. It’s going to be a busy year in mental health research with an important part for us all to play.