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Mental health, patient and public involvement and research methods: Interconnections in the real world

Williams, Nicola L


Nicola L Williams


Comprising a collection of seven published papers, this body of work explores methods of involving the public in the development of health services, as well as furthering the understanding of their attitudes to stress, depression and help-seeking.

An exploration of the ‘messy reality’ of health research in practice is also included, both in terms of undertaking the research and also of publishing it within a doctoral journey.

The work demonstrates a significant and original contribution to the literature in the following ways:

- Establishing the prevalence of common mental health problems and help-seeking: A large scale population survey demonstrated that one in three people had a mental health problem, and although only 25% had sought help from their general practitioner, most (78%) had sought some form of help from friends or family

- Further development of a theoretical framework for mental health literacy: Health panel discussions demonstrated that the ways in which people prefer to seek help do not match current service provision. It also showed that it is more challenging for people to recognise symptoms as they emerge than when viewed 'with hindsight' and, furthermore, that accumulated adversity is perceived to be a key risk factor

- Development of a new emergent model of self-disclosure: Two main styles by which people disclose personal stories were conceptualized and validated – ‘announcers’ and ‘confessors.’ The concept was refined to show how a variety of factors not only hinder or facilitate disclosure but also how they impact on the style by which people disclose.


Williams, N. L. Mental health, patient and public involvement and research methods: Interconnections in the real world. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Keywords mental health, depression, helpseeking, health panels, patient and public involvement, disclosure
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