Article: Service user involvement in mental health services

An article examined the impacts of user involvement in mental health, drawing on a study of three National Health Service foundation trusts in the United Kingdom.

It said that change in the NHS and in social care had altered what service users and their organizations could achieve, but service user involvement had become embedded into the new systems. It said that ‘traditional’ styles of confrontation and campaigning had given way to more corporate and professional modes, but this posed many challenges for organizations. ‘Ordinary’ service users were found to have some involvement in service planning and delivery and were supported by staff.

In addition, it said that new opportunities and forums had arisen for user involvement, including the possibilities for involvement in NHS foundation trusts, but issues of appropriate styles of behaviour and negotiation arose.

The article noted the potential for personalization to offer service users more control of their own care, but the study found little evidence that this was happening and there was uncertainty and confusion surrounding its development. The authors recommended further research on the applicability of personalization to the field of mental health.