Dr Sarah Carr BA (Hons), MA, PGCert, PhD, FRSA

Dr Sarah Carr

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Senior Fellow in Mental Health Policy
Institute for Mental Health

Contact details

52 Pritchatts Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sarah Carr is an academic with a particular interest in service user and survivor knowledge and research. She has personal experience of mental distress and mental health service use and uses this to inform all her work.


  • PhD: ‘An exploration of personalisation reforms, service user participation and diversity strategies in adult social care and mental health in England’, School of Health and Social Science, Middlesex University London
  • PG Cert Research Methods for Social Science and Health, King’s College London
  • Diploma Social Policy, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Master of Arts Theology, University of Manchester
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theology, University of Leeds


Sarah originally studied Theology at the Universities of Leeds and Manchester. Prior to taking up the post of Senior Fellow at Birmingham, Sarah was an Associate Professor of Mental Health Research at Middlesex University London. Before transferring to the academic sector she was a Senior Research Analyst at the Social Care Institute for Excellence where she led on a five-year Department of Health and Social Care commissioned personalisation policy implementation programme.

Sarah is active in the mental health service user and survivor movement in England, particularly around research and policy. She has co-edited two books on service user participation in research and policy with Professor Peter Beresford of Brunel and Essex Universities.


Service user and survivor knowledge, research and participation; co-production; peer support; disability and psychosocial disability; social care and social policy; voluntary and community sector mental health support provision; the history of psychiatry and sexuality

Other activities

Sarah is a member of the editorial boards of Disability and Society and The Lancet Psychiatry. She is a National Institute for Health Research, School for Social Care Research (NIHR SSCR) Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Visiting Fellow at the School of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York. She was Chair of the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and regularly writes research blogs for the Mental Elf and also blogs for Mad in America.

Sarah was principal investigator for the first NIHR SSCR funded user-led study which explored mental health service user perspectives on targeted violence and abuse in the context of adult safeguarding. She is the lead for Policy Research Unit, which is based at University College London and King’s College London. She is a co-applicant on the Open Dialogue: Development and Evaluation of a Social Network Intervention for Severe Mental IIlness (ODDESSI) study, which is the first trial of Open Dialogue in the NHS in England, focusing on peer support and the experiences of service users and families.service user and carer participation at the Department of Health and Social Care/NHS England Mental Health