On 12 April I did a presentation at the Psychosis Research Unit Spring Meeting at Manchester University. My paper, entitled ‘From Willow Ward to academia: the identity and other struggles of a researcher service user‘, focused on the identity and other struggles that I have had to fight (and I am still fighting) in my journey back to academic research following my mental health crisis in 2008-2010.
My purpose in this paper was to
- Use my story to ask wider questions about the challenges and support/development needs of mental health service users actively involved in University-based mental health research
- Use my lived experience as data to interrogate and problematise mental health service user involvement in University-based research
- Demonstrate that the reality of involving mental health service users in University-based research is a lot more complex, messy, troubled, and full of contradictions and ambivalence compared to the respective rhetoric
- Contribute to a critical understanding of the manifold and complex ways in which affective/emotional and socio-cultural dimensions of experience interplay in shaping mental health service user involvement in University-based research.
The paper was very well received and (I felt) provoked a very interesting discussion.
My presentation can be viewed here From Willow Ward to academia_DPoursanidou_PRU conference_Manchester_12 April 2013_blog version