Ruth worked as a lecturer in Sociology and Social Care for 13 years before stress led to depression, unstable moods and being awarded medical retirement. Soon after leaving work she was supported to research the experiences of people who had lost their occupation following mental health problems by the Strategies for Living project at the Mental Health Foundation. She has since worked in mental health research with Bristol Mind, Rethink Mental illness, and within the Mental Health Research Network, as well as contributing a service user perspective to training health and care professionals, especially social workers, and commissioning. She recently worked as a researcher at University of West England (UWE), evaluating the impact of Public Involvement in Research on 8 health research case studies which included substantial contributions from ‘the public’, and is a member of the West of England Joint PPI Strategy Group. These days cycling, gardening and singing help her to manage her moods.