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Carers Voices in Mental Health Care: Tracing the Impact of their involvement in the Policy Landscape SSS13

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: SSS13

Service-user and carer involvement is a central tenet of contemporary mental health policy in the UK and has been consistently supported by research. Its origins can be traced back to the rise of consumerism in health care in the 1980s, which redefined the notion of mental patients from passive to active consumers of services. The new ideology of consumerism that dominated the agenda of shaping public services had the unexpected consequence of strengthening the social movement of disenfranchised service users, which served to propose a social model of mental distress and recommended various reforms, including the acknowledgement of patients as experts. In recent years, emphasis has shifted from including the patients/service users and the public as passive receivers of care services to actively involving them in the planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services. However, evidence of the involvement of carers in mental health services is scarce, with carers being often excluded from decisions concerning treatment. Carers and staff perspectives remain marginalised in the recent history of patient and public involvement. There is a need to make their perspectives visible, which in turn can be utilised to influence carer involvement in mental health care.

The aim of this project is to explore carers and professionals’ experiences and memories of carer involvement in mental health care since the inception of this policy in living memory in one region of England. The main aims are as follows:

  1. To use a participatory action research driven approach to co-produce oral histories with carers and professionals in order to explore how carer involvement has been experienced and understood through time and place.
  2. To explore how the co-produced oral histories can be used to inform and influence the implementation of carer involvement in contemporary mental healthcare so that their voices can be heard.

The nature of the research is such that a qualitative approach, focusing on oral histories will be used within an overarching design of participatory action research. It is expected that the applicant will tailor the research design to the project aims and objectives as these are refined in the early stages of the study.

School strategic research priority

This project aligns with the Centre for Behavioural Research Methods and the Centre for Public and Psychosocial Health

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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