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University Signs National Declaration to Involve Mental Health Survivors in Research

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The University of Worcester has signed up to national standards to ensure people with mental health difficulties are meaningfully involved in mental health services.

The 4PI project, developed by the National Survivor User Network, aims to make sure service users and carers are involved in the planning, delivery and evaluation of the health services which affect them.

The Project lays out a set of standards - Principles /Purpose /Presence /Process and Impact (4PI) – which relate particularly to the need to meaningfully involve services users in mental health services and to challenge the traditional hierarchy of research in this field.

Dr Jan Quallington, Head of the University’s Institute of Health and Society, has signed the University up to the standards.

“Signing this document is a demonstration of the University’s ethical commitment to involving service users and carers in all aspects of its work,” she said. “Such a principled way of working accords fully with our engagement with the IMPACT group of service users and carers who are already a key element of our Institute activity.”

Dr Peter Unwin, who facilitates the engagement of IMPACT at the University, added: “The aim is to ‘hard wire’ the service user and carer voice and experience into the planning, delivery and evaluation of health and care services. The project aims to share good practice, centralise resources, strengthen existing networks and build an infrastructure that connects and coordinates involvement.

“The clarion call of the 4PI project, ‘nothing about us without us’, is a real challenge to professionals and policy makers, especially in times of austerity. Mental health services often suffer the most in times of cutbacks and it is user-led initiatives like 4P1 that can make a difference by ensuring user and carer voices are heard in articulate and persuasive ways.”