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On being a mental health service user and becoming a service user representative: an autoethnography.

Peacocke, R. L., 2013. On being a mental health service user and becoming a service user representative: an autoethnography. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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PEACOCKE,Richard Leopold_D.Proff._2013.pdf



This thesis is my autoethnographic account as I pursue a career as a Service User Representative with the Dorset Mental Health Forum over several years leading up to 2010. This is a period of change in both the social care and health worlds as they impact on to people suffering from mental distress. In this period are introduced Personal Budgets and a three-year pilot scheme to look at the viability of rolling out Personal Health Budgets, in which Dorset is selected as one of 20 sites nationally. There is also a change of government from a Labour administration to a coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, but this does not seem to have changed the planned modernisation of both social care provision and healthcare provision started by the outgoing Labour government. Also in this period we see the wide-ranging revision of the Mental Health Act 1983. My original contribution to knowledge is in describing the development of a service user representative model that works well in Dorset, UK. This thesis is not about the history and development of the mental health service user involvement but I do offer a précis of the history of service user representation for those unfamiliar with it. This thesis is laid out in roughly chronological order. I try to show how I changed my views with the help of other people over the period. I also try to explain what it is that ails me. The reason I do this is to paint a picture of a person who is in general "normal" but suffers from mental disorders that sometimes alter the way he sees the world. It is with this backdrop that I ply my trade of being representative of and to other mental health service users. I lead the reader from a consideration of method and methodology and ethics, through the precursors of my mental illness, to how that illness has been treated by the National Health Service, and how it impacts on my role. The main way that I do this is by offering a vignette of my life and then immediately afterwards analysing that vignette in the light of emergent themes. In this way, I ensure that the emergent themes are themselves based in a reality that can be accessed to some degree by the reader. There were challenges along the way including personal ones, such as having to take time out from my studies to attend courses of psychological treatment and having several heart attacks leading to hospitalisation, as well as the usual ones of finding people to contribute to my research. I end this thesis by offering a model that service users may find illuminating when setting up their own service user representation services.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:D.Prof. – Doctor of Professional Practice. If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:21386
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:18 Aug 2014 10:07
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:03


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