The Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) undertakes research that examines mental health services from the perspectives of those that use them, explores empirically and conceptually the impact of service user involvement in research (in terms of both process and outcomes), and critically interrogates how service users have changed knowledge production globally.
The unit was launched in its current form in 2001 following a local conference where service user involvement in all aspects of research was prioritised. SURE is established on the premise that the research priorities and perspectives of service users are different from those of people who work in mental health services, and from those of people with a solely academic background. Their aim is therefore to drive research through service user knowledge, to involve service users in a collaborative way in the whole research process and also to situate this theoretically.
Internationally, SURE is the largest unit within a university to be predominantly composed of people who have both research skills and first-hand experience of mental health services and treatments or alternative supports. They carry out service user-led studies as well as collaborations with academics in all aspects of mental health research. They also play a part in developing service user researchers through graduate training and opportunities to learn new research skills. SURE promotes and supports good practice in service user and carer involvement in health and social care research more broadly and engages with local communities in South London, nationally and internationally.
The SURE Research Group is led by Professor Diana Rose – the world’s first Professor of User-Led Research and a social scientist and mental health service user.