‘Outside the Original Remit’: Co-production in UK mental health research, lessons from the field

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ABSTRACT

The aim of this discursive paper was to explore the development of co-production and service user involvement in UK university-based mental health research and to offer practical recommendations for practitioners co-producing research with service users and survivors, informed by an overview of the key literature on co-production in mental health and from a critical reflection on applied research through the medium of a case study. The paper is co-written by a mental health nurse academic and a service user/survivor researcher academic. The authors argue that the implications of co-production for mental health research remain underexplored, but that both the practitioner and service user/survivor researcher experience and perspective of co-production in research can provide practical reflections to inform developing research practice. The theories and values of emancipatory research can provide a framework from which both practitioners and service users can work together on a research project, in a way that requires reflection on process and power dynamics. The authors conclude that whilst co-produced investigations can offer unique opportunities for advancing emancipatory and applied research in mental health, practitioner researchers need to be more radical in their consideration of power in the research process. KEY WORDS: co-production, mental health nursing research, patient and public participation, research methodology, service user and survivor research. Publication from the MDX CoProduction team Lambert & Carr (2018) IJMHN

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