Talking Point: RCTs- the straitjacket of mental health research?

talking point 1On Thursday 8th October 2015 at Jerwood Space in Southwark we held our first public event to launch our Talking Point paper series. This was an important night for the McPin team as part of our mission to #transformMHresearch. Our first paper looked at the role of Randomised Control Trials in mental health research, authored by  Alison Faulkner, survivor researcher and trainer. Alison’s report was titled “Randomised control trials – the straightjacket of mental health research?” You can read the paper here

We live tweeted from the event and had a very active contribution from both those in attendance and those following the tweets, including academics, peer researchers, service users and health and social care professionals. Read the #RCTDebate twitter discussion here.

What are our talking point papers?  

They give people with lived experience the opportunity to discuss and debate under-discussed or particular difficult issues in mental health research. We hope that these papers, and the discussion around them, will aid us in our mission to ‘transform mental health research’. The funding for the Talking Point papers is from the McPin Foundation but the views expressed in the papers are the author’s own.

What did others says on the night?

We are in the process of collating comments generated from our discussion. These will be published in due course. Professor Sonia Johnston explained the use of RCTs and her experience of them within a career that has used mix methods and various naturalistic, observational and qualitative studies alongside RCTs to build an evidence base for effective supports in mental health . Her presentation is available here: In defence of clinical trials (up to a point!)

What will happen next?

We’re going to summarise the discussion around RCTs in mental health in a series of blogs. You can read the discussion on twitter by searching the hashtag #RCTDebate – and please feel free to continue to use it to share your views. You can also get in touch with us at