Involving people who self-harm in research design

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Background: Involving service users in mental health research is expected in the United Kingdom.

Purpose: This report outlines the process of exploring a proposed research project with a group of service users. The proposed research project is part of a doctoral pathway that was designed to explore the experiences in a general hospital of people who were admitted with self-harm in terms of their contact with mental health services.

Methods: A consultation event was held where the researcher outlined the proposed format of the project and the expected aims and outcomes. The group members were asked to consider the validity of the question being asked and to consider questions they felt needed to be asked as part of the process.

Results: The research question was amended in light of the consultation, and the process influenced the research methodology. Some interesting and unexpected linguistic points were noted during the consultation.

Conclusions/Implications for practice: Although the process was time consuming in terms of setup, it was immeasurably valuable in adding real-world value to the project and ensuring that the research outcomes would be more likely to be meaningful to both service users and professionals alike.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-70
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Nursing Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • service user
  • self-harm
  • involvement
  • engagement
  • mental health research


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