Our Yearly Round Up

McPin will be marking its 5 year anniversary in our current form. Before this the charity had no members of staff. It was essentially a grant making charity. The most important aspect of our work is working alongside people with mental health problems as colleagues, advisors and friends of the charity. When thinking about what we have achieved, we need to ask our team are we doing enough, and are we doing it in the best way to transform mental health research? I don’t think we are and 2018 will be an important year for progressing our ideas to train more people to work in research drawing upon expertise from experience.


Saying that, we have been busy! Looking back on 2017, the team have been working extremely hard and we share a few of our highlights with you here.


This year saw the launch of our ‘Right People, Right Questions’ project. We want to know people’s questions about the mental health of young people, and we will look to see which ones research could help answer. We received over 5,500 research questions from 2,600 people; our young people’s advisory group produced a video to help us.  Thank you to everyone who took part. Keep an eye out on Twitter (@youngpeopleMHQ) as we will be moving to ‘Right People, Right Questions’ phase two in the Spring of 2018.



_______________________ The core values that underpin mental health peer support _______________________

We also completed our evaluation of community based peer support, jointly with St Georges’ University of London. This was a project commissioned by Mind, funded by the Big Lottery Fund known as “Side by Side”. We were tasked with looking at the impact of community based peer support on the outcomes of people giving and receiving peer support such as changes in social networks, feelings of hope and levels of wellbeing. At the same time we wanted to understand the value base of Side by Side, understand people’s experiences of peer support, consider how capacity building in the sector might be sustained and talk to commissioners about funding. This resulted in a lot of work! Our peer research team carried out over 70 interviews and we are still working our way through all the data collected but summary reports are available. The interview study also provided the foundation for the production of a toolkit which Mind launched last month.


In 2017 we have worked on many more pieces of research work for organisations including Voiceability, Men’s Health Forum, Thrive London, MacMillian cancer care. Some of this work included developing theory of change models for them. Theory of Change seems to be of interest to lots of community organisations, helping them plan, do and review activities as well as develop evaluation processes that can track outcomes over time. We have also run several patient and public involvement groups bringing together people interested in bipolar research. We like this type of work as it ensures we get to learn alongside a range of different people and can use our peer research model in new ways. For 2018 we want to use more creative research methods and develop new public involvement approaches. We also want to write more about patient and public involvement, co-production in research and peer research. Terms that overlap!


In terms of our public involvement work we are supporting an ever increasing number of studies. There has been much interest in the role of the immune system in mental health. We are supporting a study called SINAPPS which is investigating a possible treatment for some people with psychosis due to problems with their immune system. The study has featured on the BBC programmes Victoria Derbyshire and Trust me I’m a Doctor and has been covered in the national press extensively. During 2017 we have supported two major studies looking at developing talking treatments for specific groups of people. We part funded and supported the MindTech digital technologies priority setting partnership. We will be hosting the final workshop for the project in March 2018. In the next year we hope to do much more work with approaches such as virtual reality. This is a rapidly developing area of research which appears to hold great potential to the health of people with mental health problems.


One milestone this year was publishing our personal wellbeing networks research in the British Journal of Psychiatry. We wrote a blog about why this felt important. Since then, we have hooked up with researchers in Southampton and are meeting in December to consider how our personal wellbeing mapping concept could be taken online. There seems to be increased interest in digital applications with initiatives such as MindTech and NewMind. We hope to do more work in this area and explore ethical considerations with stakeholders.



We end the year welcoming two new trainee researchers to McPin, both appointed to use peer research skills on a range of projects including peer support and employment, as well as financial and mental health. We cannot deliver our work without expert and well supported staff. And in a year when world mental health day was all about workplace wellbeing, we end 2017 making a renewed commitment to do more, and do better to fulfil our charitable objectives. We thank all our newsletter readers for their support, and wish you all the best for the festive season.