Patient and public involvement in mental health

Patient and public involvement in mental health

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Patient and public involvement in mental health

14th March 2023

Over the past decade, the role of patient and public involvement (PPI) in mental health research has grown enormously as its value to research excellence has been recognised and accepted. Over the past few years, PPI has cemented itself as both a core value of high quality clinical research and an intrinsically important part of any successful and well-regarded clinical research trial.



The NRS Mental Health Network wrote its first PPI Strategy paper in early 2020 but, as the COVID pandemic tore across the world that strategy was put on pause, as our focus changed to finding ways to maintain contact with our PPI members against the limitations and challenges the pandemic brought us all. 

The pandemic pushed all of us to adopt new ways of communicating with each other to ensure that research relationships, PPI included, were maintained and nurtured during those long months of imposed isolation. Over that timeframe we learned how to run successful virtual and remote PPI meetings, we updated our model of involvement for our PPI members and realised the need for us to provide improved support, resources and learning for our members too.

This inspired us to write a new PPI Strategy paper, one that takes what we learned during the pandemic and applies that learning to increase the accessibility of our PPI to as wide and diverse audience across Scotland as possible. 

In addition, the Mental Health Network is now able to offer itself as a resource to assist and support researchers who might want some lived experience input on their trial’s/study’s participant facing documents. Currently, this role is being undertaken by our Peer Researcher, whose plentiful research experience coupled with her own lived experience, offers her the ability to view those documents from both a patient and a researcher perspective.

Finally, we were excited to have our first hybrid Annual Scientific Meeting back in November at Strathclyde University’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow. AThs was a wonderfully engaging and successful day - included in the day’s agenda, our Peer Researcher and our Involvement Worker delivered a PPI presentation to describe the changed engagement and involvement approaches that the pandemic brought and, crucially, how our new PPI strategy seeks to build on that learning and improve so much of what we, and our PPI members, hope to achieve together as we move forward over the next few years.

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