Service User Research Ambassadors

What is our role?

Our goal is for everyone who uses the Trust’s services to get the chance to take part in research. It is well known that service users benefit enormously from research, and we are lucky to be building on solid foundations at the Trust since it is the top mental health Trust in England for the number service users involved in research! However, there is still patchy participation in research across the Trust and we are committed to improving access and understanding the barriers to underrepresented groups.

Some of the reasons to contact us

If you have lived experience – you are our community! I want to speak with as many of you as possible to raise awareness of research opportunities and to understand the barriers that might stop you participating in research.

If you are a clinician – you are often the conduit for offering research to service users, so please reach out if you’d like to discuss the benefits of offering research to service users or to help me understand what would help you make this offer routinely.

If you are a clinical researcher – you provide the service that we are promoting. I want to work with you to help you reach and meet the needs of diverse service users across the Trust. Please get in touch if you want to know more about the service user networks that exist across the Trust and its community.

If you are a Research Champion – you are our partners in promoting the benefits and importance of research with clinicians. I want to support the growth of the research champion network and represent the service user voice as a motivator for your work. Let me know how I can help!

Research club

The Research Club is a collaboration between the SLaM recovery college and Lived Experience Research Ambassadors. It was developed to ensure that research at the Trust and the IoPPN, King's College London is discussed with service users, staff, and all at Trust. We aim to ensure that our research is accessible to our service users.

The sessions involve researchers talking about their findings and how the research has shed light on how improve their current work and treatments as clinicians. A participant of the study often attends and explains what it was like to take part in the research study.

Email saskia.perks@slam.nhs.ukfor more information.

The online meeting is held monthly, the upcoming dates for 2023 are:

28 September -  Lewys Beames - Post coercive practice review intervention (POWER) study

POWER study is looking at ways of reducing harm for service users who have experienced coercive practices, such as physical restraint (physically holding a person), in mental health wards. 

This research has the potential to help us understand how to make these discussions helpful and ultimately could significantly improve experience of mental healthcare and reduce risk of harm for service users.

26 October - Rachel Olive - Exploring multilingual voice-hearers’ experiences

There is very little research on what it is like to hear voices others don’t hear (sometimes called auditory-verbal hallucinations) for people who speak more than one language (multilinguals).  This study involved interviewing multilingual voice-hearers about what languages they spoke, how they learned them, and their relationships with the voices they heard. We will discuss the findings of the study, which revealed a wide range of experiences, and complex interactions with the voices. 

30 November - Dr Julie Williams - Integrating Mental and Physical Health Systems

The Integrating our Mental and Physical Healthcare Systems (IMPHS) project, which took place at South London and Maudsley, aimed to: 

  • Understand the difficulties that adults living with long-term mental illnesses may face when managing their physical healthcare
  • Test and evaluate interventions that could improve integrated mental and physical healthcare. 

Over several years, the team developed a body of work that could be shared with healthcare professionals, organisations, patients and carers. In this session, the IMPHS team will provide an overview of the project and share their learnings.

Service User Research Advisory Group

Service User Research Advisory Group (SURAG) aims to better understand the needs of the people who take part in research. It is an open space for service users to talk about their experiences of being research participants. It ensures that services users, as experts by experience, can advise on the research, engagement and dissemination activities. Attendees are encouraged to reflect on personal experience to ensure their voices are heard and can shape the design and implementation of the research locally.

 The meeting is held monthly on MS Teams 2pm - 3pm and is open to all Trust service users and staff with lived experience of menta health difficulties. To join, email:

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