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Mental health, ethics and law

Public & Patient Involvement (PPI)

Our approach to PPI is twofold. It recognises the value of service-user involvement at each stage of the research process, as well as the importance of disseminating our research through engagement outside the immediate academic sphere.

Service-user involvement in research:

Patients (and carers) who have expertise both by experience and training are an invaluable resource.  Not only do they bring insight into the illness experience itself, but can help further understanding and communication in an area where there are often complex issues of trust between patient and clinician, due to the nature of the disorders and the legal framework for medical intervention.
Examples of our work here include: 
  1. A study of fluctuating capacity funded by the Wellcome Trust in which service user expertise is key to co-producing concepts of advanced directives fitted to Bipolar Affective Disorder.
  2. NIHR funded study of capacity to consent to biomedical research in patients experiencing psychosis (“DECIDE”).  In the DECIDE study, a service user and carer advisory group has been involved at every stage of the study design. It has advised on matters ranging from the legitimacy, value and relevance of the research question itself to more procedural components, such as the construction of information and consent sheets, the eligibility criteria and recruitment strategies.

Public engagement:

Mental health, ethics and law attracts considerable public interest in the form of breaking news stories but also in the form of the “culture industries” such as film, radio, theatre, art installation and public seminars. We have found radio and public seminars an effective medium for communicating topics in mental health, ethics and law but are also experimenting with other media.
  1. Mentally Ill and refusing surgery. Inside the Ethics Committee. BBC Radio 4 (2010).
  2. Am I really free? Medical Matters. BBC Radio 4. (2011) 
  3. Mental Capacity and physical health. All in the Mind. BBC radio 4. (2013)
Public seminars:
  1. The Bethlem Gallery ('Art and the Other' - on the ethics of otherness) Panel presentation on 'Too similar, too different? The paradoxical dualism of psychiatric stigma' 
  2. The Maudsley Philosophy Group Trust ‘Ulysses contracts - Homer's Odyssey, fluctuating capacity and psychiatric advance decision-making for mania’ 
Our PPI collaborators:
Maudsley Philosophy Group Trust
Bethlem Gallery and Museum of the Mind
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