Improving Service User Involvement in Mental Health Nursing Education: Suggestions from Those with Lived Experience.

Páll Biering, Aine Horgan, Moira O'Donovan, Rory Doody, Eileen Savage, Claire Dorrity, Hazel O'Sullivan, John Goodwin, Sonya Greaney, Einar Bjornsson, Julia Bocking, Liam MacGabhann, Siobhan Russell , Martha Griffin, Kornelis Jan van der Vaart , Jerry Allon, Arild Granerud, Elisabeth Hals, Jarmo Pulli, Vatula AnnaliinaHeikki Ellila, Mari Lahti , Brenda Happell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Service user involvement in mental health nursing education is increasing and a developing evidence base is demonstrating more positive attitudes towards people labelled with a mental illness. To date, most research on this approach has focussed on the perspectives of nursing students, with very limited research drawing on the expertise and opinions of service users. The aim of this study was to explore potential improvements in mental health nursing education, and ways service user involvement can be enhanced as defined by service users themselves. An international qualitative research project was undertaken involving focus groups with service users (n = 50) from Australia and five European countries. The research was coproduced between Experts by Experience (service users) and mental health nurse academics. Data were analysed thematically. Findings reflected two broad themes: (1) improvements to content, including: further emphasis on developing emotional intelligence, understanding mental distress and broader context of care; (2) Improvements to service user involvement, including: support, format, and teaching and learning techniques. These findings provide direction for maximising the benefits of service user involvement and show the value of the expertise of service users.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119–127
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge and thank:
- Erasmus + for the funding which made this innovative project possible.
- The service user organisations at each country who supported the research and assisted with recruitment
- the service users who generously gave of their time to participate in an interview


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