Our news – March 2015

As we approach the end of our second year at the McPin Foundation, it’s a good time to reflect on our progress in the last year and the new, exciting work we have planned. Our research work centres on five themes: Children, Young People and Families; Improving mental health support; Wellbeing and Connectedness; Inclusion and combating stigma; and Collaborating with people with lived experience. The last area touches all of the work that we do. We have on-going projects in each of these themes, and if you’d like to find out more about them, please do visit our website.

A key milestone this year has been setting up our Public Involvement in Research programme, its advisory group and various projects including partners2. We have started pieces of work which we continue to develop like our online involvement in research forum. This will enable people interested in mental health research to communicate with each other easily. More on progress with the forum over the summer.

Reflecting on this past year, we are also coming to the end of a few major research projects this month, so look out for the reports of our findings later this year. This includes the evaluation of Time to Change’s work to change attitudes among school children; the final year of our large survey of discrimination experiences among people who use mental health services (Viewpoint Survey) and our user-led evaluation of the IAPT for Severe Mental Illness pilots, commissioned by NHS England.

So what next? We are starting a new and exciting evaluation in April to look at the impact of peer support for people living with a mental health problem. We will be working with St George’s, University of London in South West London to evaluate one of the largest programmes of peer support across England so far. The peer support programme is being set-up by Mind, Bipolar UK and the Depression Alliance, and is funded by the Big Lottery. It will provide a great opportunity to learn about the value of peer support – how does it work and for whom? It will also include working with peer researchers and others to look at the principles and values of peer support, and considering from commissioners how it fits with plans for mental health commissioning intensions going forwards. The project will take place over two years.

This work is one of a growing number of projects that we are delivering to improve the mental health of communities everywhere. To help us to deliver all this work, we are also growing. We are about to recruit two new researchers, a new Public Involvement in Research co-ordinator and a new administrator. We are also going to have more opportunities for people to influence our work in lots of different ways, from working as a peer researcher on a specific project, to sitting on a Lived Experience Advisory Panel. A great way to find out about these opportunities is to sign up to our new Public Involvement in Research bulletin. The first edition came out in January and it lets you know about opportunities to get involved, not just with us, but also with other research organisations. Please sign up for the involvement bulletin here , and you will receive it by email.