Hopefully many of you will know about – and have registered on – our patient and public involvement (PPI) website (patientsactiveinresearch.org.uk).
Every Friday, an email goes out to those who are registered, highlighting new opportunities on the site and where and how they can get involved. As I have explained on this blog, the site has changed from our purist aim of being about PPI, and also includes opportunities to participate in trials and other studies. As I wrote: “A patient in a waiting room may lack the time or the will to wonder in much detail what a poster asking for their help is all about. If they then visit the site, we’re keen to give them as many chances as possible of finding things there that interest them.”
For the first time recently, we ran a “special issue” of the Friday roundup email, highlighting the large flurry of opportunities that had been added about mental health. Hot on its heels, today’s roundup focuses on seven recently added opportunities in dementia research – and what better time, as this is Dementia Awareness Week.
Indeed, it’s a busy week in the research calendar as May 20th was also International Clinical Trials Day. The NIHR Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility held an open day, where I spoke about PPI in a mental health setting. It was a fantastic event – so well publicised there was standing room only and lots of really fascinating talks and displays. (www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/resources/2015/04/CRF-Open-Day-Programme-19th-May-2015.pdf).
It’s a busy time for our activities that support mental health research more generally. The steering group for the James Lind Alliance (JLA) Priority Setting Partnership on depression (of which I am a member) met recently, to discuss the several thousand questions received in response to their survey aimed at identifying the depression research that matters most to those affected and those who care for them, be it in a personal or professional capacity. And here in Oxford we are busy working towards a meeting next month of the bipolar steering group. There, we will take the next steps in analysing and sorting over 14,000 questions received for the JLA exercise in bipolar – the huge response thanks in part I suspect to a tweet by Stephen Fry.
All in all, recent activities have taken me firmly back to my roots in mental health research, and mental health service user involvement in that research. Much food for thought; and hopefully a few steps towards better lives for those affected and those who love and care for them.