Service users, carers and healthcare professionals need to get more involved in mental health research. That is the message of a DVD recently launched by the Mental Health Research Network of England’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The DVD, which will be widely distributed across the country, is called ‘One in Four’ to reflect the ratio of the population who will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

Every year more than 250,000 people are admitted to psychiatric hospitals, and it has been estimated that improved mental healthcare in England could save the government as much as £3.1 billion annually, the Mental Health Research Network noted.

Building a research base to tackle the problem is complicated, though, by the challenges of getting service users involved, the Network said. The new DVD, which was launched at the House of Commons in London, aims to raise awareness about both mental health and mental health research.

Service user participation may cover a broad range of activities, from feedback to a questionnaire or patient information sheet to playing a central role in conducting, or communicating the results of, research.

“We are committed to achieving a programme of research that reflects the needs and views of patients and the public,” commented Professor Til Wykes, director of the NIHR Mental Health Research Network. But treatments “can only advance if we conduct studies, and for that we need lots of participants”.

“We also want to encourage more service users and carers to become involved in all aspects of research via our service user and carer arms, and this DVD outlines how people can get involved and the importance of doing so,” Wykes added.