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.
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.