'Having a diagnosis is a qualification for the job'

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 12 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1331
  1. Diana Rose, SURE coordinator
  1. Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF

    Iwrite this piece as someone with a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder who, when in work, is also a researcher. I used to do research in education, gender, and media studies, but for the past two years I have coordinated the Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. This is one of only two units in universities in Britain to employ service users and the only one where all employees have experienced mental health problems. The focus of SURE's work is on consumers' views on treatments and services, including treatments and services that I have received myself.

    Being “out”

    It is not easy to admit to having mental health problems, and I have worked in research jobs where the associated stigma made it impossible to be frank. However, attempts at hiding my diagnosis and treatment were rarely successful. After a period of unemployment and positive contact with the service user movement, I decided that my best …

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