Studying in autumn 2020 during coronavirus

Centre for Coproduction in Mental Health and Social Care

What is coproduction?

Co-production is an approach to research, policy and practice in mental health and social care based on the principle that people who use services have valuable knowledge and expertise. Co-production means developing equal and reciprocal relationships between professionals, people using services, and communities to produce knowledge and services that are potentially more effective overall.

The Centre for Co-production  encourages interdisciplinary co-productive academic research, teaching, practice and radical mental health scholarship within and outside the Department of Mental Health, Social Work and Integrative Science in the School of Health and Education at Middlesex University.

The Centre consolidates, supports and expands the existing activity and expertise in co-production within the Department. It provides a hub for innovative and radical scholarship that is co-produced between service users, their organisations and communities, carers and staff and the infrastructure for expanding co-production activity in mental health and social care.

Why use Coproduction?

  • Recognising Expertise: If you want to know about an issue ask the people it affects and who understand it!  In care environments, people are participating in service delivery and shaping improvements more effectively to meet the end users’ needs
  • Building Learning Communities: Coproduction can build confidence in individuals, empower groups and strengthen communities. This way of working can build social capital and remedy some of the issues caused by having people who are removed from an issue attempting to fix it. When  people’s diverse lived experience, expertise, time, skills, and resources are engaged it increases all our capacity to solve issues
  • Coproduction has an ethical purpose as well as a practical one – it raises our expectations around working together by moving from model of ‘participation’  to one of co-creation by gathering a range of people with different perspectives to work together contributing different and essential knowledge to for solutions which meet the needs of the those affected

What are our aims?

To value lived experience and to work with individuals and communities in a respectful and effective manner to find solutions to their research, education and practice needs.

To ensure that coproduction is part of research and teaching across the Department’s activities, including enhanced collaboration with the department’s service user networks and organisational partners.

What can the Centre for Coproduction in Health and Social Care do for you?

We can help you to design and evaluate projects and improve the services that impact on you.

We can support you to design and implement research that meets your needs and helps you answer your questions.

We can deliver training and support you to host conferences.

Coproduction can be used in any circumstance where there are people who are impacted by the outcome – if you have any ideas to share or questions please contact us at

Keeping Control: Exploring mental health service user perspectives on targeted violence and hostility in the context of adult safeguard

For a great example of coproduction see the StarWards project.

Willis, Paul and Almack, Katharine and Hafford-Letchfield, Trish and Simpson, Paul and Billings, Barbara and Mall, Naresh (2018) Turning the co-production corner: methodological reflections from an action research project to promote LGBT inclusion in care homes for older people. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), 15 (4). ISSN 1660-4601 Open Access:

Hafford-Letchfield, Trish and Formos, Marvin (2016) Mind the gap! An exploration of the role of lifelong learning in promoting co-production and citizenship within social care for older people. RELA; European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning for Adults . ISSN 2000-7426 Open access:

Hafford-Letchfield, Trish and Thomas, Bernadette (2018) Bridging communities through co-learning and participation in parenting programmes: A case from the families and schools together project. In: Paulo Freire and Transformative Education: Changing Lives and Transforming Communities. Melling, Alethea and Pilkington, Ruth, eds. Springer Nature, London, pp. 1-14. ISBN 978-1-137-54249-6

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