Published on 17/04/2023
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Meditate project stakeholder group photo
L to R Prof. Maidment, Dr Jo Howe, Mediate stakeholder group members. 


  • Members of the Lived Experience Stakeholder Group meet at Aston University for the first time to give feedback on the project
  • MEDIATE investigated how medication for severe mental illness can be optimised
  • Research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Researchers from Aston Pharmacy School welcomed people with lived experience involved in the MEDIATE research project to campus for a one-day workshop on 17 March to enable these members of the Lived Experience Stakeholder Group - who all live with and take medication for severe mental illness (SMI) - to meet in person to give feedback and discuss their participation in the project.

The group members have participated in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded project since January 2022 until its conclusion in March 2023.

The MEDIATE project investigated how medication can be best optimised (safely getting the right drug at the right dose to the individual at the right time) for people living with SMI.

The first part of the workshop allowed participants to discuss with the research team their involvement as people with lived experience of severe mental illness in the project. 

Dr Jo Howe, MEDIATE project researcher at Aston University, said: “Although this group was formed to help us as researchers, we became aware that involvement in the group has also helped group members. They enjoyed linking with their peers, despite having had different lives and journeys, they discovered shared experiences, which helped them feel less isolated. 

“Importantly some members said that their involvement in our research improved their self-confidence and helped them to speak about their medication concerns with their healthcare team.”

The second part of the workshop bought the group together to gauge opinions on three separate research projects currently being planned by the MEDIATE research team. The group were able to give useful insights to help shape the research teams future project proposals. 

Max Carlish, MEDIATE group member, said: “Our participation throughout this project has really made us feel that we have been influencing the direction of the research. With our unique service user perspectives helping to make the research findings practicable and applicable to the vitally important - and often overlooked - area of medication optimisation.”

Mustak Mirza, MEDIATE group member, added: “People will trust their leaders when the leaders do the thing that make them feel psychologically safe. And I believe and feel you (the MEDIATE Team) have done that. Many thanks for being so kind.”

Dr Jo Howe added: “Input from the group has been invaluable for this project. Their involvement has shaped the trajectory of our research and they have been instrumental in identifying gaps in the research evidence. 

“It really was fantastic to meet everyone in person, I felt like we connected at a deeper level and I’m really looking forward to working with everyone again on future research.”

Professor Ian Maidment, MEDIATE project lead at Aston University, said: “It is vital that the people who this research affects are actively involved in the process. We aimed to do this in MEDIATE and working with this group has really helped inform the research. For example, any guidance or outputs we produce will be centred on real world experience and are therefore much more likely to have an impact.” 

For more information about Aston Pharmacy School please visit our website. 

Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston University is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

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