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We are a mental health research charity that believes research is done best when it involves people with relevant personal experience or, as we call it at McPin, lived experience.

Our work

Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people in the UK, yet investment in mental health research remains low.   

Society needs greater investment in high-quality research, so we can create care and services based on the expertise of those affected by mental health issues. 

Doing so increases the chance that this money will be well spent, and that research will have a real-world, positive impact.  

And mental health research doesn’t just cover medication – it can include therapies, peer support and exploring innovative new ways to improve lives, such as virtual reality. This means the more high-quality research, shaped by those with lived experience, that’s done, the more people will be empowered to find what works for them.  

Lived experience shapes everything we do.  

Our team works with researchers and organisations (e.g. universities, the NHS & grassroots organisations) to lead the way in putting mental health lived experience at the heart of research.  

We provide:  

  • Research Conducting robust, innovative health and social care research, with specialist skills in peer research  
  • Evaluation Helping organisations monitor and evaluate the impact they are having  
  • Public involvement Advising on, and providing, involvement strategies, including advisory groups and peer review panels and involving young people  
  • Influencing Ensuring the voices of people affected by mental health issues are at the centre of key conversations 
  • Hosting Providing services to individuals and organisations so they can deliver their agenda for mental health without having to set up a charity of their own  
  • Training We provide training on how to approach peer research, public involvement, co-production and more, plus mentoring and support
Find out more about working with us

Involving people with lived experience of mental health issues and their families in research is the right thing to do.

We have also found that doing so can:   

  • Ensure research addresses relevant questions which have the greatest impact on people’s lives  
  • Help researchers engage positively and ethically with participants  
  • Challenge researchers’ assumptions in their study design & data interpretation  
  • Make study findings accessible and engaging for more people  
  • Empower people with experience of mental health issues  
  • Diversify the experiences informing the research agenda and methodologies  
Find out more about how we work

Our work aims to benefit both the research sector, through knowledge and capacity building, and people with lived experience of mental health issues, along with their families and wider communities.   

We care about the wellbeing of everyone we work with and carry out regular reflective practice to make sure our researchers and experts from experience are supported and feel empowered. 

Find out more about our impact

McPin was established in 2007 by Dr Nick McNally andDr Vanessa Pinfold (“McPin”) as a small grant-giving family foundation.   

 In 2012, we refocussed to become a mental health research organisation with an emphasis on promoting lived experience-focussed research.  

From April 2013 we were joined by researchers from the Rethink Mental Illness Research Team, and have continued to grow and seek out relevant collaborations.  

Find out more about us

Our speakers 

We have a passionate, knowledgeable team, with experience spanning the sector.  Below is a brief introduction to our senior leadership team.

Dr Vanessa Pinfold (She/Her)

Dr Vanessa Pinfold (She/Her)

Co-Founder & Research Director 

Tanya Mackay (She/Her)

Tanya Mackay (She/Her)

Head of Research and Involvement

Clare Walsby (She/Her)

Clare Walsby (She/Her)

Senior Operations Manager 

Contact us

For all press and comms enquiries please get in touch with our Communications Team below

Ali McClary

Ali McClary

Communications Manager

[email protected]
Katherine Lofthouse

Katherine Lofthouse

Senior Research Communicator

[email protected]