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Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)

Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)

Room at Bottom

The Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) undertakes research that tests the effectiveness of services and treatments from the perspective of people with mental health problems and their carers.

The unit was founded by Professor Til Wykes, who was its first director, and followed from her research which championed service user involvement in all aspects of research. The unit was launched in its current form in 2001 following a local conference that identified service user involvement in all aspects of research as the top priority of service users. SURE is established on the premise that the research priorities and perspectives of service users are different from those of people who work in mental health services, and from those of people with a solely academic background. Our aim is therefore to involve service users in a collaborative way in the whole research process: from design to data collection, through to data analysis and dissemination of results.

SURE is the largest unit within a university world wide to employ people who have both research skills and first-hand experience of mental health services and treatments. We carry out service user led studies as well as collaborations with academics in all aspects of mental health research. We also play a part in developing service user researchers through graduate training and opportunities to learn new research skills. For academics wanting to involve service users in their own projects we provide specific advice on issues such as good practice in our local advice clinic.

SURE is led by two co-directors:

  • Professor Diana Rose - the world’s first Professor of User-Led Research and a social scientist and mental health service user who pioneered user-focused research.
  • Professor Til Wykes, a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation, who heads the Centre for Recovery in Severe Psychosis (CRiSP) in the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Pyschiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. CRiSP has a tradition of involving service users in its research and laid the foundations for the launch of SURE.

Our work on consumer perspectives on ECT influenced current NICE guidelines, and in 2011-12 Professor Diana Rose co-chaired the NICE Guidelines on the Service User Experience in Adult Mental Health Services. Professor Til Wykes also leads the Patient and Carer Involvement Theme in the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health. Today we continue to contribute a breadth of experience, understanding and alternative perspectives to the local, national and international research we carry out.

Image: Maureen Scott, Room at the Bottom, Bethlem Gallery.


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