We believe it is crucial to involve people with lived experience of mental health problems, and accessing mental health services, in designing and implementing our programme, to ensure that the needs of service users and carers are represented and reflected in everything we do.
Think Ahead’s Service User and Carer Reference Group was established in November 2014. It is chaired by Dr Sarah Carr, who is an expert in service user involvement in research and development within mental health and social work, and brings her own lived experience of accessing mental health services.
The fantastic service users and carers in the group provide us with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and invaluable advice. Their input fundamentally shapes our work. For example, since the group’s creation it has been involved in developing:
- Our approach to participant recruitment and assessment.
- The design of practice placements.
- The programme’s academic curriculum.
- Our brand and our communications strategy.
The Service User and Carer Reference Group meets regularly throughout the year.