Making A Difference (MAD) Research Group

Group type: 3. Institution or initiative-specific

Contact details

Named contact: Michael Ashman MPH DipHE, Service User Development Worker

Email address:

Telephone: 01302 796507; mobile: 07799 413853


Care of Michael Ashman

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

The Opal Centre

Tickhill Road Site

Tickhill Road



Remit of the group

The Making A Difference (MAD) Research is a collaboration between mental health service users in Doncaster and local mental health workers and academics. The group’s purpose is to develop and implement user-led research into the experience of Mental Health Act (MHA) assessment and/or detention.

Frequency of meetings

The group is currently meeting monthly, but will meet more frequently when required

Who can consult the group?

We would welcome contact from any service users, researchers or mental health staff with an interest in MHA processes.


No current website


None to date

More about the group (optional)

The group was formed following Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) work funded by NIHR South Yorkshire Research Design Service in 2013 and facilitated by Michael Ashman of Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) and Jill Thompson, The University of Sheffield (TUoS). The work was commissioned in response to a perceived need within RDaSH to evaluate the experience of assessment under the MHA, with a view to using the knowledge gained to facilitate quality improvement work.  The purpose of the 2013 PPI work was to establish whether service users within the RDaSH catchment felt that MHA research was desirable, gather views on how such research should be conducted, and identify local service users who may be willing to take this research forward.

The PPI work resulted in the formation in February 2014 of the Making A Difference (MAD) Research Group. The group currently comprises 5 local service users and the RDaSH Service User Development Worker, Michael Ashman. The group is supported by Doncaster MIND, RDaSH R&D and TUoS’ School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). The group has been engaged since February 2014 in research training for the group members, and is currently developing a pilot study into experience of MHA assessment, with a view to developing a substantive bid for a major research project later in 2015.