Reflecting on our mission to #transformMHresearch

Just recently, the McPin Foundation have been reflecting on our mission to “transform mental health research”. We have been busy in the past year as our 2014-2015 infographic shows: McPin Foundation 2014 2015.

To help keep us focused on this mission, we will regularly be using the hashtag #transformMHresearch on our social media outputs. This is to remind us, and our audiences, that we’re here to do things better, in particular through championing the voice of experts by experience – those directly affected by mental health problems – as actively steering, and doing, mental health research. But what have our achievements been towards this goal to #transformMHresearch? Such reflection is very important in the light of the collapse of another charity – Kids Company – and all the media attention surrounding charity management, fundraising, and delivering the charity objectives for beneficiaries.

  • What do we at the McPin Foundation seek to achieve?
  • Are we delivering our work efficiently and effectively within our values framework?
  • What could we do things differently?
  • What do our stakeholders think of our work?

We are a research organisation so the asking of questions is commonplace in our work. Seeking answers and processing data into reports are also core activities. Recently we have completed evaluation reports for a London based charity on its innovative service supporting vulnerable women and written an article for Mental Health Today magazine about our wellbeing networks research. So writing is also a familiar task for staff at McPin. What is far less familiar and comfortable is fundraising. We do very little fundraising currently. Most of our income is through contract work or consultancy. Our one fundraising event of the year was last weekend with 5 people taking part in the Prudential ride London course. We are very grateful to them for completing the 100 miles, wearing the branded shirts proclaiming “I’m supporting mental health research” and raising funds to support our peer researchers. Their support is currently paying for our peer review panel to help researchers write improved funding applications, service user researchers to write papers for publication, a two day training session for our peer research team and a series of talking point papers. We will need to improve our fundraising efforts in the future however to achieve our goal to #transformMHresearch, as most charities had 100’s of people riding for them not a handful! Making mental health something the public engage with and alongside that ‘research’ is quite a task. The sector does need more resource, mental health research is underfunded so there is much we can do to increase funding levels, and also consider what is funded. It is our ambition to fund PhD studentships in the future.

So in reflecting on how we are doing the team know there is a lot more to do. We have made a start in our first 2 years alongside other charities that are dedicated to mental health research showing this is an important voice in the sector. Research matters. Evidence informed practice matters. The alliance of mental health research funders that we chair pulled together case studies in a manifesto expressing why research is important: to provide hope for the future said one carer; to transform our understanding, treatments and prevention approaches said a junior doctor; to improve medications said one service user.

The McPin Foundation are building an expert team of researchers and PPI specialists, we are engaging with many more peer researchers in our work and we are always looking to develop new collaborations. We encourage you to stay in touch with us by signing up for our newsletter. We seek to build a community who share our mission to #transformMHresearch – and to do that we need to develop conversations on our twitter feed, on our  facebook page, at events, in blogs, at conferences and in person. Please do join the conversation!