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Dan: spreading the word about mental health research

Oxford’s Dan is a Research Champion, where members of the public volunteer to spread the word about health and care research.

Dan said: “I feel research is essential for future generations.

“I stumbled across research when attending a health festival in the grounds of Oxford’s Warneford Hospital.

“I had just become a mental health peer support worker and was attracted to the prospect of helping others through research. 

“My interests were expressed on the day, my mind was opened and I was soon promoting the benefits of mental health research.”

He said: “I visited my local Research Champion website and after looking into it briefly I decided I wanted to get involved to help others like me.

“I’ve experienced issues with my mental health my whole life and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in my early 20s. I’ve now realised it’s part of my personality and have started to view it positively.

“Promoting mental health research is essential to help others benefit from its findings and address the stigma attached to mental health.

“The Research Champion programme has continued throughout the global pandemic and myself and fellow champions have continued to meet virtually during these challenging times.

“This has enabled monthly structure and interaction and has been a welcome escape from day-to-day life in lockdown.

“I’m certainly looking forward to natural human interaction away from technology though. I do remind myself I’m a man, not a robot.

“Research Champions have been involved with promoting research and the vaccination process throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus on research into specific health conditions has also continued throughout.”