The modernisation of mental health day services: participatory action research exploring social networking

Wendy Bryant (Brunel University, UK)
Geraldine Vacher (Central and North‐West London NHS Foundation Trust, UK)
Peter Beresford (Brunel University, UK)
Elizabeth McKay (University of Limerick, Ireland)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Publication date: 17 November 2010


The modernisation of mental health day services has been shaped by concerns about the social exclusion of people with enduring mental health problems. Initiatives have emphasised the use of mainstream facilities and an individualised approach. In contrast, service users have sought to safeguard opportunities for peer support in safe places. This participatory action research brought together service users, staff and others involved, to explore how these different views could be transformed into modernised services. The research took place in an outer London borough from 2003‐2007, using varied methods to explore social networking, including a visual method, action research groups and individual interviews. The research was designed and adapted to enable the involvement of people with different capacities and interests. Each stage generated findings for local modernisation, pointing to the importance of a safe space, service user knowledge of social and recreational activities and how self‐help groups develop and thrive. The final reconfiguration of local services reflected these research outcomes. Credible and useful outcomes can be achieved from collaborative research, allowing time and creating opportunities to shape interpretations of policy. Emerging initiatives are more likely to reflect service user perspectives and receive their support.



Bryant, W., Vacher, G., Beresford, P. and McKay, E. (2010), "The modernisation of mental health day services: participatory action research exploring social networking", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 11-21.

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