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Mental health service users in research
Critical sociological perspectives

Patsy Staddon
Hardback, 200 pages, 234 x 156 mm
Other formats available
12 Jun 2013


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North America customers can order this book here from the University of Chicago Press.

"The most sparkling aspect of this edition assembled by Staddon is its turn away from psychiatry towards sociology."
Disability & Society
"A testament to how far the survivor movement has come in the long struggle to get the experiences of mental health services users taken seriously in the production of knowledge."
Journal of Social Policy
"A useful reference book for health care professionals in pre- and post-qualification training, and for all those interested in service user research."
Dr Paul Godin
"Draws on the experiences of key contributors to this area and provides a comprehensive and accessible discussion of the challenges and tensions within mental health research."
Journal of Social Policy

About This Book

This book aims to show the value but also the difficulties encountered in the application of 'insider knowledge' in service user research. Mental health service users in research considers ways of 'doing research' which bring multiple understandings together effectively, and explains the sociological use of autobiography and its relevance. It examines how our identity shapes the knowledge we produce, and asks why voices which challenge contemporary beliefs about health and the role of treatment are often silenced. An imbalance of power and opportunity for service users, and the stigmatising nature of services, are considered as human rights issues.Most of the contributors to the book are service users/survivors as well as academics. Their fields of expertise include LGB issues, racial tensions, and recovering from the shame and stigma of alcoholism. They stress the importance of research approaches which involve mutualities of respect and understanding within the worlds of researcher, clinician and service user/survivor.

Author Biography

Patsy Staddon is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Plymouth, and a survivor researcher in the sociology of alcohol and mental health. She is a member of INVOLVE and Shaping Our Lives, and chairs the service user controlled WIAS (Women's Independent Alcohol Support).


Sociology and survivor research: an introduction ~ Angela Sweeney
Mental health service users’
experiences and epistemological fallacy ~ Hugh Middleton
Doing good carer-led research: reflecting on ‘Past Caring’
methodology ~ Wendy Rickard and Rachel Purtell
Theorising service user involvement from a researcher perspective ~ Katherine C. Pollard and David Evans
How does who we are shape the knowledge we produce? Doing collaborative research about personality disorders ~ Steve Gillard, Kati Turner and Marion Neffgen
Where do service users’
knowledges sit in relation to professional and academic understandings of knowledge? ~ Peter Beresford and Kathy Boxall
Recognition politics as a human rights perspective on service users’
experiences of involvement in mental health services ~ Lydia Lewis
Theorising a social model of ‘alcoholism’: service users who misbehave ~ Patsy Staddon
'Hard to reach’? Racialised groups and mental health service user involvement ~ Jayasree Kalathil
Individual narratives and collective knowledge: capturing lesbian, gay and bisexual service user experiences ~ Sarah Carr
Alternative futures for service user involvement in research ~ Hugh McLaughlin
Brief reflections ~ Patsy Staddon.


ReviewsOwn it? Review it!

Mental health service users in research
This book is an important and welcome addition to the literature on service user research. It brings together contributions from researchers who are service users and academics and both, to reflect on their own experiences of research from a wide range of perspectives. In doing so, many themes familiar to those who have worked in this field, including power imbalances and how to address these, research hierarchies and the low status previously assigned to service user research are fully explored from different viewpoints, but with the additional aim of seeking to explore ways in which service user and academic researchers can work together as equal partners in co-producing knowledge. The considerable challenges that need to be overcome to achieve this are also openly addressed in the discussions.,Key themes of the book are the ways in which personal and professional experience shapes knowledge and how to develop collective knowledge from personal narratives. A human rights based approach to service user research underpins many of the contributions in the book. ,This book will be extremely valuable for all those involved in research in this field. My only concern is that the cost of the book may prevent these ideas reaching the widest possible audience. ,,
Reviewed by Jeanie Molyneux

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