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University of Nottingham scientists team up with the public in new mental health research project

Experts from the University of Nottingham will collaborate with members of the public on a new research project that will help reshape our understanding of mental health issues, thanks to funding from UKRI.

Mike Slade, Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion, from the School of Health Sciences at the University and the Institute of Mental Health, will lead the first citizen science and mental health study – the Citizen Science To Achieve Coproduction at Scale (C-STACS), thanks to the largest public engagement grant ever awarded by UKRI.

C-STACS is one of five research projects being funded by UKRI across the UK, totalling £1.46million, where the public are directly involved in the research process. The projects will involve collaborations between a diverse range of organisations including universities, museums, arts organisations, city councils, mental health charities and grassroots community groups.

Each project will enlist members of the public to actively conduct research that will inform their findings. C-STACS will drive innovation in the treatment of mental health issues and the support available to enable people to live as well as possible.

Professor Mike Slade, the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham said: “I’m delighted that we are leading the first citizen science and mental health study. This is the largest public engagement grant ever awarded by our funder UKRI, underlining the importance of improving mental health in and beyond the UK.

“Our aim is to harness the expertise of our nine partners, including the NHS and organisations led by mental health service users, to make a real difference to people living with mental health issues. By the end of the first year, we will have started a project about innovation in the mental health system and a project about self-management, and we hope that many people will choose to contribute as citizen scientists to improving mental health for all.”

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UK Research and Innovation said: “In the last year, science, research and innovation have become something that people talk about every day, as we have seen how research directly affects our daily lives.

“UKRI is committed to breaking down the barriers between research and society and involving the public in research is one way we aim to do this.

“These exciting new projects will see researchers and communities collaborate on a range of issues that affect our societies, from plastic pollution to mental health, supporting people from outside of the research and innovation system to bring their unique experiences and perspectives into the research process, helping them to develop new skills and knowledge which they can use in their own lives.”

The study is co-led with the Centre for Mental HealthImROCKCL Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)McPin FoundationMental ElfNational Survivor User Network (NSUN)NHS ConfederationNottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Social Spider community interest company.