User research in mental health should be seen as a separate specialism in a “hierarchy of emergence” and this is argued for with reference to the metaphor of a car crash that has a multiplicity of perspectives. Technical language and approaches are not always sufficient: proximity to our conditions may increase the accuracy of interpretation. The piece then describes the quest to establish user research at the Humber Mental Health Teaching Trust and points out the importance of determination by Trusts to provide resources and facilitation. In the process of this, quality criteria for assessing user research projects are briefly presented. Service user research in the mental health field presents a challenge to traditional, reductionist methodologies that are often unable to acknowledge the validity of multiple, competing versions of understandings of the same phenomenon. After establishing a case for such an approach, I will describe aspects of our experiences in attempting to establish research by the Humber Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust.
How to CiteShields G. & Walsh M. (2006) “Establishing the Rationale for, and Practice of, User Research at the Humber Mental Health Teaching Trust”, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice. 3(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/mhldrp.2006.32193