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.


Co-lead for the Service User and Carer Involvement module for the IMH Mental Health MSc.

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision areas:

  • Service user and survivor involvement
  • Mental health peer support
  • Mental health social care and policy
  • Voluntary and community sector mental health support provision
  • Mental health and lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) populations

Those wishing to apply to work with Dr. Carr are advised to contact her by email.


  • Service user and survivor knowledge, research and participation
  • Co-production in mental health
  • Mental health peer support
  • Disability and psychosocial disability
  • Mental health social care and social policy
  • Voluntary and community sector mental health support provision
  • Mental health and lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) populations
  • 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 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). She was formerly Chair of the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and regularly writes research blogs for the Mental Elf and blogs for Mad in America.

Sarah was Principal Investigator for the first NIHR SSCR funded user-led study. The research explored mental health service user perspectives on targeted violence and abuse in the context of adult safeguarding in England. While at Middlesex University London she was Co-Director at The Centre for Co-production in Mental Health and was Chair of the Service User and Carer Reference Group for Think Ahead.

She is currently the PPI lead for the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit and for the UKRI Loneliness, Social Isolation and Mental Health Network. She is a co-applicant on the ‘Open Dialogue: Development and Evaluation of a Social Network Intervention for Severe Mental IIlness (ODDESSI)’ study, the first trial of Open Dialogue in the NHS in England and a member of the Expert Advisers Panel for the NICE Centre for Guidelines.

Sarah is Principal Investigator for an NIHR SSCR funded, user-controlled study on avoidable harm in adult mental health social care.


Peer reviewed journal papers since 2010

Carr, S., Hafford-Letchfield, T., Faulkner, A., Megele, C., Gould, D., Khisa, C., Cohen, R. & Holley, J.(2019) “Keeping Control”: A user‐led exploratory study of mental health service user experiences of targeted violence and abuse in the context of adult safeguarding in England Health and Social Care in the Community First published online 30 June 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12806 (Open Access)

Faulkner, A., Carr, S., Gould, D., Khisa, C., Hafford-Letchfield, T., Megele, C., Cohen, R. & Holley, J. (2019) ‘Dignity and respect’: An example of service user leadership and co‐production in mental health research Health Expectations First published online 26 September 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12963 (Open Access)

Carr, S. (2019) ‘I am not your nutter’: a personal reflection on commodification and comradeship in service user and survivor research Disability and Society Published online 17 May 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2019.1608424

Carr, S. & Spandler, H. (2019) Hidden from history? A brief modern history of the psychiatric “treatment” of lesbian and bisexual women in England The Lancet Psychiatry Published online: February 11 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30059-8 (Open Access)

Rose, D., Carr, S., & Beresford, P. (2018) ‘Widening cross-disciplinary research for mental health’: What’s missing from the UK Research Councils mental health agenda? Disability and Society 33 (3) pp.476-481 (Open Access)

Carr, S., Holley, J., Hafford-Letchfield, T., Faulkner, A., Gould, D., Khisa, C. & Megele, C. (2017) Mental health service user experiences of targeted violence and hostility and help-seeking in the UK: a scoping review Global Mental Health 11 (4): e25. doi: 10.1017/gmh.2017.22. eCollection 2017 (Open Access)

Carr, S. (2017) Renegotiating the contract: Comment on The WPA-Lancet Psychiatry Commission on the Future of Psychiatry The Lancet Psychiatry 4 (10) pp.740-741

Carr, S. & Pezzella, A. (2017) Sickness, ‘sin’ and discrimination: Some contemporary challenges for UK mental health nursing practice with lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people and communities Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 24 (7) pp.553-560

Carr, S. (2017) Lonely in a crowd: invited commentary on Webber and Frendt-Newlin (2017). A review of social participation interventions for people with mental health problems Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 52 (7) pp.781-783

Needham, C. & Carr, S. (2015) Micro-provision of social care support for marginalised communities: filling the gap or building bridges to the mainstream? Social Policy and Administration 49 (7) pp.824-841

Webber, M., Treacy, S., Carr, S., Clark, M. & Parker, G. (2014) The effectiveness of personal budgets for people with mental health problems: a systematic review Journal of Mental Health 23 (3) pp.146-55

Carr, S. (2014) Implementare i Personal Budget per l’assistenza sociale: alcuni insegnamenti fondamentali dalle esperienze e dalle evidenze empiriche inglesi ed internazionali Sociologia e Politiche Sociali 16 (3) pp.79-109

Carr, S. (2011) Sarah Carr to replies to Glasby et al, ‘A Beveridge report for the 21st century?’ Policy & Politics 39 (4) pp.618-21

Carr, S. (2011) Enabling risk and ensuring safety: personal budgets and self directed support Journal of Adult Protection 13 (3) pp.122-136

Carr, S. (2011) Uniformity or equality? Integration, equity and the challenge of personalisation Journal of Integrated Care 19 (3) pp.42-47

Carr, S. (2011) Personal budgets and international contexts: Lessons from home and abroad Journal of Care Services Management 5 (1) pp.300-322

Carr, S. (2010) Remote or related? A mental health service user’s perspective on leadership International journal of leadership in public services 6 (2) pp.20-24

Bowlam, S., Carr, S. & Gilbert, P. (2010) The Partnership Project: learning from experts by experience in mental health services: the Jersey Partnership perspective International journal of leadership in public services 6 (2) pp.54-67

Carr, S. (2010) Seldom heard or frequently ignored? Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) perspectives on mental health services Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care 3 (3) pp.14-25

Ross, P.D.S & Carr, S. (2010) ‘It shouldn’t be down to luck’: training for good practice with LGBT people – Social Care TV Diversity in health and care 7 (3) pp.211-216


Recent reports and monographs

Carr, S. (2019) Mapping a complex landscape: A literature review of mental health care and support, 2014-2017 Birmingham: University of Birmingham

Carr, S., Beresford, P. & Coldham, T. (2017) Assisted Dying: Developing the debate. Exploring the issue of assisted dying and its legislation in the UK York/London: Joseph Rowntree Foundation/Shaping Our Lives

Carr, S. (2016) Position paper: Are mainstream mental health services ready to progress transformative coproduction? Bath: National Development Team for Inclusion

Carr, S. & Patel, M. (2016) Practical guide: Progressing transformative co-production in mental health Bath: National Development Team for Inclusio,

Allen, R., Carr, S., Linde, K. & Sewell, H. (2016) Making the difference together: guidance on gathering and using feedback about the experience of social work from people who use services and their carers London: Department of Health

Webber M., Scott C., Carr, S. & Coldham, T. (2015) Evaluation of Mental Effectiveness Training for people with experience of using mental health services York: University of York.

Carr, S. (2014) HSMC Policy Paper 18: Social Care for Marginalised Communities: Balancing self-organisation, microprovision and mainstream support Birmingham: University of Birmingham



Beresford, P. & Carr, S. (eds.) (2018) Social policy first hand: An international introduction to participative social welfare Bristol: Policy Press

Beresford, P. & Carr, S. (eds.) (2012) Research highlights in social work 55: Social Care, Service Users and User Involvement London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers