Get involved with Research

When we talk about involvement in research we are generally talking about using your personal experience to advise and work with researchers to make sure their study is as relevant and accurate as possible to the lives of people who live with mental health problems. When you are involved with the research you take an active role in helping to design and influence it. You contribute what personal experience you feel is relevant or helpful to develop the research. For example, an experience of having a particular mental health problem, using services, or being a carer. Being involved in research in this way is commonly referred to as Public and Patient Involvement (PPI).


What is the difference between participation in research and involvement?

You can also become a participant in a research study, where you will receive some kind of intervention to test its effectiveness. You are the subject of the research which has already been planned and developed. You contribute personal information to be used as data. You can find our more about being a participant here.


Why is it important to get involved in research?

It is important because those who have expertise from experience bring a different knowledge and perspective that others do not have. They have an important role in making sure that the relevant research questions are asked, helping to ensure participants have a positive experience and help challenge researcher assumptions. It is not only a great opportunity to improve research and its impact, but can also be very personally rewarding.


If I did choose to get involved in mental health research what kind of thing would I be doing?

There are a number of valuable contributions that people with expertise from experience can make. Below are a few examples of how they can help influence research throughout the research process.



  • You are asked your opinion on materials given to participants ( e.g. information sheet and consent form).

    You may point out things such as there is too much technical jargon, or some of the words are not appropriate. You’d then have a chance to propose alternatives and edit the materials.


  • The proposal for the research is to interview service users with a particular mental health problem (e.g. bipolar) about their experiences.

    You may comment that you need to reassure participants that the services they are using will not know what they have said, and this will not affect them receiving treatment.


  • The researchers think that the most interesting point made during interviews that they conducted is, (just for an example) how easy it was for participants to access services.

    As someone with experience of that treatment, you may comment that what you thought was most interesting was what they said about their relationship with their therapist, as from your own experience this made a massive difference to your response to treatment.

Public involvement at McPin 

We have developed a Public Involvement in Research programme over recent years which includes working with a range of partners and our advisory group to promote ‘expertise from experience’ in research and learn more about how to deliver public involvement initiatives.


Where can I find out more about Public Involvement in research?

If you want to find out more about Public Involvement, INVOLVE – which champions Public Involvement in the NHS – has produced a number of guides.


How do I get involved?

If you want to know about our opportunities to get involved with research at McPin you can also see editions and sign up to our bulletin. The bulletin outlines research involvement opportunities both at McPin and at other mental health organisations.

We also regularly post opportunities on Twitter and Facebook.


Being a research participant

Opportunities to get involved
in mental health research

Find out more about becoming a research participant. This could involve providing information or data about you to researchers as part of their study.

Find out why you might want to be a research participant, common questions and queries and where to find information and opportunities.

See our public involvement bulletin. It primarily advertises public involvement in research opportunities both with McPin and other organisations. You can also opt to receive the bulletin straight into your inbox.