We have reached a birthday milestone and created a strategy for the organisation: that feels like a real achievement and significant changes are planned in order to deliver our vision for transforming mental health research. Our strategy is modest, but focused, centred on our key concern to put expertise by lived experience at the heart of mental health research. Over the past two years we have delivered a lot of projects to various funders including the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and set up a public involvement in research programme led by Thomas Kabir. In 2015 we are particularly keen to develop our staffing team, and support opportunities to bring people together to discuss new research ideas, and current challenges in mental health research.
Recently we held a consultation session for an academic team developing ideas for a research proposal – these are always inspiring sessions and highly valued by both those talking and those listening. Keeping careful note of changes made as a result of public consultations on research ideas is crucial for considering impact of the expert by experience voice. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to meet new people, extending the invitation of service user and carer involvement far and wide. We want to do more of this.
Our staff team is changing and we are really pleased that Karen James will start as our Research Manager (maternity cover) post from 1st April. Karen is just completing her PhD and has been working with us recently on our wellbeing research, developing this from a research idea to a therapeutic approach that could be used in a new model of care. Just touching on wellbeing networks, we saw the publication of our research report in February – all 300 pages. There are summaries as well and you can access them on the NIHR health service and delivery research programme site . Our briefing papers describe this work. As part of our team developments we will be looking for an operations manager to join us later in the year to help us with all the significant functions that a charity needs including communications and fundraising. We don’t do much fundraising except through the Prudential RideLondon event which this year is on Sunday 2nd August. Please do spread the word if you know anyone who likes cycling. We need people to ride for Mental Health Research! It is 100 miles through iconic city roads and countryside. More information is available, so please do email us at email@example.com.
Collaboration is a theme in our work and vision for how to improve the quality of mental health research. One way in which we collaborate with others is through the Alliance of Mental health research funders. With the general election in May 2015 we need to clearly articulate why research matters and why mental health research matters. This is often not well articulated and we are keen to work with others with ideas to raise awareness of how evidence informed practice – based upon research and evaluation activities – can improve the wellbeing of communities everywhere.