Staff Profile


Ms Laura Lea

Co-ordinator of Service User and Carer Involvement

School: School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology

Campus: Tunbridge Wells

Tel: 01227 927104

Profile summary

Departmental Role:

Laura co-ordinates service user and carer involvement for the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programme facilitating a number of projects that enable trainees to learn from people who have used mental health services. In addition she provides consultation about service user and carer involvement in mental health service provision.

Laura has extensive experience as a freelance trainer and writer. Previously she has worked with Sussex Partnership Trust, Mind, Together, Royal College of Psychiatrists and NHSU amongst others. Her area of interest is service user and carer involvement, lived experience, the experience of using services and caring for someone who uses services. Laura’s previous work as a social worker and her own experiences of living with the challenge of ill health enable a perspective from which she advocates a holistic approach to mental health service provision.

Main areas of responsibility

Laura works with staff, members of the community, trainees and trusts to facilitate the involvement of service users and carers in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programme. She co-ordinates Salomons Advisory Group of Experts by Experience (SAGE) and the first year placement advisor schemes for clinical psychology doctoral trainees.  She has written: A guide to involving Service Users and Carers in Teaching.

Current Interests

  • Service user and carer involvement in training, education, practice, and delivery of services
  • Mental health and spirituality
  • Recovery and social inclusion
  • Self-management of health conditions

Research and knowledge exchange

Laura's research interests include:

The place of personal experience in training and practice.

Measuring the impact of service user and carer involvement in training on the practice of mental health workers.

Teaching and subject expertise

Laura co-ordinates the teaching unit 'Service user and carer perspectives' and teaches in the critical and community psychology unit.

External activities

Referee and member of Editorial Board,  Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Emerald.  ISSN : 1755-6228

Member of CAPITAL Clients and Professionals in Training and Learning a West Sussex service user group.

Publications and research outputs

Strauss,C.Rosten, C.Hayward, M.Lea, L. Forrester, E.and Jones, A.(2015) Mindfulness-based exposure and response prevention for obsessive compulsive disorder: study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial. Trials Journal. Available at:(

Wood, H., Lea, L. and Holttum, S. (2013) Finding the personal in the clinical psychology swamp, The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice,  Vol. 8 Issue 1, pp.15 - 25

Holttum, S. Lea, L. Morris, D. Riley,L and Bryne, D. (2011) Now I have a voice: service user and carer involvement in clinical psychology training.Mental Health and Social Inclusion Vol.15 Issue 4 pp.190-197

Lea, L. (2010) 'What's it Like Having a Nervous Breakdown? Can you recover?'  In Stickley, T. and Basset, T (eds). Voices of Experience: Narratives of Mental Health Survivors. Wiley-Blackwell.  

Waite, J., Basset, T. Lea, L and McMenamin B. (2009) E-learning for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Modules for Mental Health Assessors. Department of Health/Royal College of Psychiatrists.  Available at:

Lea, L. (2008) Providing Service User Centred Care. In Stickley,T and Bassett, T(eds). Learning about mental Health Practice.  Wiley-Blackwell.

Lea, L. (2006) Acute Solutions and Beyond: Lessons to be Learnt from Service User Involvement.  Journal of Mental Health Workforce Development, Vol.1 Issue 2, pp.34-37. 

Lea, L. Campbell, P. and Basset, T. (2005) Involving Service Users and Carers. In The Ten Essential Shared Capabilities learning pack for mental health practice, NHSU.

Lea, L. (2004) Body, Mind, Spirit and Soul. Mental Health Today. September issue, pp.35-37.|


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 03:57:00