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Mental health research service user and carer involvement award winners announced

MQ and McPin mental health awards

Published: 26 October 2020

The winners of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN), McPin Foundation and MQ Service User and Carer Involvement Awards 2020 have been announced.

The winning study team was EFFIP: E-support for families and friends of individuals affected by psychosis, based in South London. The runner up was the DIAMONDS (Diabetes and mental illness, improving outcomes and self-management) Research Programme.

The awards aim to recognise the achievements of researchers who involve service users, carers and the public in each stage of the research process – from initial design and participation, to the evaluation of outcomes. The awards will also celebrate the dedication and diligence of the public who get involved in mental health studies and make a difference to the development of new care and treatments.

Thomas Kabir, Head of Public Involvement at McPin, said: “The McPin Foundation offers our congratulations to everyone involved in the EFFIP Project Reference Group and the DIAMONDS studies. The service user and carer involvement in both these studies has been and continues to be exceptional. We hope that many others will follow their good example.”   

Lea Milligan, Chief Executive Officer of MQ: Transforming Mental Health, said: “In a constantly changing world, our awareness of the fragility of our own mental and physical health has never been greater. MQ Mental Health Research believes it is only by working alongside those with direct experience of mental ill health that we are going to be able to see a brighter future of better diagnosis, treatment and prevention become a reality. MQ is honoured to support the Service User and Care Involvement award 2020 and highlight the dedicated work that is leading to breakthroughs in understanding mental health.”

NIHR National Specialty Lead for Mental Health, Kathryn Abel, explains why this award is so important:

“Good mental health is essential to all of our lives. Much progress has been made to develop high quality research which underpins the progress needed to secure better mental health for individuals and the population as a whole. But we have been aware for some time that research in mental health and people’s participation in it has lagged behind other specialties.

World Mental Health Day was celebrated on October 10th and the research community came together with the public and research funders to endorse four future priorities taking us into the next decade. These goals especially recognise the growing gaps in mental health for our young people and the very real physical health risks associated with mental illness.

We at NIHR CRN are dedicated to increasing everyone’s access to high quality research. We recognise how important service user and carer involvement is if our research is truly to benefit lives through better prevention, better treatments and better services. This means research in mental health urgently needs greater and wider participation and particularly needs to recognise what helps people to participate in research and what research people want to help them in their lives. These awards from NIHR CRN, McPin and MQ for service user and carer involvement in mental health research recognise outstanding achievements in this vital area.  And I am delighted to announce this year’s winners ‘EFFIP (E-support for Families & Friends of Individuals affected by Psychosis) project: A randomised controlled trial of a co-produced online intervention for carers' – this is a topic close to my heart having worked for over 25 years with families with psychosis and seen first-hand how crucial family and carer engagement is to the lives of people with serious mental illness. This project provides the hope for a low cost scalable solution which can be flexible over time to support families and friends of people living with psychosis. Many congratulations to Jacqueline and the EFFIP team.”

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