Examples of Irish Service User Research and Issues Emerging Mike Watts M.Psych. Sc. PhD Student, School of Nursing and Midwifery. National Program Coordinator GROW in Ireland. Ex Service user Exploring Recovery From Mental Illness Through the narratives of members of GROW in Ireland Who am I ? An ex service user Medical family Years of terrifying levels of anxiety Drug, alcohol abuse and personal injury Voices and strange ideas Diagnosed as ‘pathologically shy’ 1969 and prescribed Librium Married to Fran We met in Kabul 1969 Diagnosed postpuerperal depression, schizo affective disorder, schizophrenia and bi polar 1973 1988 Both of us have recovered, a journey which started with GROW What is mental illness? Illness? Distress? Lack of resources? Choice/attempt to control? Call to change? A normal human process? Spiritual formation? What is a human being? A universal soldier A sword of TRUTH The protection of friends Developing character On the battlefield of life Two Definitions of Recovery The Medical model The empowerment model Two languages Two sets of values Truth as the Medical Model Mental illness a disease The person isn’t that relevant Recovery = cure through medication Life long condition Same as spinal chord injury Ongoing dependence Disease Friends of the Medical Model Drug Companies The Mental Health Act RTE and the media The HSE Universities Ethics Committees Power and Profit Character of Medical Model Authoritarian Elitist Clinical “Value Free” Up and out! Isolated as human beings Blame,Shame & Fear Truth of service user I feel useless I am powerless I am afraid Life has become too difficult Character of service user Full of pain Self absorbed Distrustful of self or others Hopeless Vulnerable Down and out Isolated as a human being There is no hope for me “Friends” of Service User The medical model The Drug Company The Researcher The university The trade union The Medical Model Service User We are all vulnerable service user and professional To despair or false certainty To isolation or false friends To pride or shame To fear or overconfidence To paternalism or dependency To false ideas or experience To feeling we know best To our beliefs or those of others To power or powerlessness To prestige or stigma Psychopath Psycho-the-rapist Psychiatrist Schizo Up and out Down and out We are all subject to taunts and jibes whether labelled schizo or shrink Service User Research is Fighting for Dialogue For validation as a human being Overview of my research Exploring the recovery narratives of 30 - 40 seasoned members of GROW Research questions What are the ‘things’, people, beliefs, attitudes and events that help recovery, How might these answers impact on Vision for Change? Give hope to others Training of professionals Generating leadership Saving money Creating community Barriers Two languages Bildung! The inability to see another view The dominance of the medical view The lack of resources for service users Barriers In post modern times ‘knowledge’ is bought and sold. Human beings have become cogs in multi nationals These have more power than governments The mental health system is about power One example The medical model is the lense through which Trinity’s ethics committee peers. All my sample consider themselves recovered and fulfill GROW’s definition of recovery Ethics Committee Comments Classify as particularly vulnerable! Tick the box for mentally ill! Ethics committees are not forums for discussion!!!! Allelujiah Opportunities Service user research empowers service users Removes barriers Allows new views Humanises the system Gives a voice To Do List Community Wisdom Compassion Build on days like today Encourage others to follow Engage in the battle for life Befriend professionals A University of Life Projects Alternatives School interventions Prevention Retraining Meaning and Reenchantment Compassion wisdom The success or failure of efforts in community care Will depend less on mental health professionals ability to create supportive environments or teach specific skills and more on their ability to find and encourage naturally occuring niches. I believe service user research is a prime example of this.