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Aims for service user involvement in mental health training: staying human

Laura Lea (Department of Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Tunbridge Wells, UK)
Sue Holttum (Department of Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Tunbridge Wells, UK)
Anne Cooke (Department of Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Tunbridge Wells, UK)
Linda Riley (Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 12 September 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of service user involvement in mental health training but little is known about what staff, trainees and service users themselves want to achieve.

Design/methodology/approach

Three separate focus groups were held with service users, training staff and trainees associated with a clinical psychology training programme. Thematic analysis was used to identify aims for involvement.

Findings

All groups wanted to ensure that future professionals “remained human” in the way they relate to people who use services. Service user and carer involvement was seen as a way of achieving this and mitigating the problem of “them and us thinking”. The authors found that groups had some aims in common and others that were unique. Service users highlighted the aim of achieving equality with mental health professionals as an outcome of their involvement in teaching.

Research limitations/implications

The samples were small and from one programme.

Practical implications

Common aims can be highlighted to foster collaborative working. However, the findings suggest that service users and carers, staff and trainees may also have different priorities for learning. These need to be recognised and addressed by mental health educators.

Originality/value

This was the first study to explore in depth the differing aims of different stakeholder groups for service user involvement. Clarification of aims is a vital first step in developing any future measure of the impact of service user involvement on mental health practice.

Keywords

Citation

Lea, L., Holttum, S., Cooke, A. and Riley, L. (2016), "Aims for service user involvement in mental health training: staying human", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 208-219. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-01-2016-0008

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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