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Opportunities for people with lived experience

Service User and Carer Reference Group

How our Service User and Carer Reference Group works is currently being independently reviewed by Steve Gilbert OBE, in order to ensure we are using the most effective and inclusive approaches. We aim to continuously improve the way we involve service users and carers, and will keep this page updated.

We believe it is crucial to involve people with lived experience of mental health problems, and accessing mental health services, in all our work – 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. The members of the group provide us with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and invaluable advice, and 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. Outside of these meetings, members can also get involved in various aspects of our work such as assessing, teaching, and presenting at events.

The group is led by an independent chair, Oliver Wood. Read more about Oliver.

Membership criteria for the Service User and Carer Reference Group are:

  • Experience of using mental health services, and/or experience of caring for someone who has experience using services.
  • Knowledge and/or experience of the role of mental health social workers within services.
  • A commitment to put forward service users’ and carers’ views and needs.
  • Ability to work with other members of the group, as a team.
  • Preferably, some knowledge of debates within and about mental health social work – e.g. about the profession’s role within services, or what best practice looks like. (This is desirable, not essential.)

To find out more about what it’s like to be a part of the SUCRG, take a look at this article written by Caroline, one of the group’s members.

We are currently at maximum capacity for SUCRG membership, so unfortunately we won’t be able to accept new members at this time. If you have any other questions about the group, do get in touch:

Get in touch with us about the SUCRG