Involving people with lived experience of mental health issues in mental health training could address gaps in current knowledge, say researchers
- Management School academics release report on the role of lived experience in mental health training during Mental Health Awareness Week 2019
- Scoping report spotlights gaps in current knowledge of research on how best to involve people with lived experience in mental health training
- Report flags six priority areas for further research enquiry
Sheffield University Management School academics highlight the need for more research on how people with lived experience of mental health issues are involved in mental health training.
Professor Rachael Finn and Dr Kamal Birdi, Sheffield University Management School, received funding from the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Research Capacity Fund to conduct research on the role of lived experience in mental health training.
The project involved a review of current literature on the evaluation and effectiveness of lived experience education in mental health training, a practice review to identify the variety of lived experience education courses in the Sheffield City Region, and a co-production workshop attended by service users, lived experience educators and academics. The workshop was an arena to discuss the reviews, share experiences and prioritise areas for further research.
Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, the report will be launched on Tuesday 14 May at Sheffield Health and Social Care. Sheffield Health and Social Care provide specialist services to improve the mental, physical and social wellbeing of the people living in local communities.
Professor Finn and Dr Birdi concluded that existing research is patchy and highlight the need for further research that is co-produced with mental health practitioners and people with lived experience of mental health issues to help address gaps in current knowledge.
“It’s been great to carry out this work with a team of people passionate about user involvement in education and training of mental health professionals. This is a crucial area for research because whilst it is increasingly accepted as good practice and there are many exciting initiatives locally and nationally, we know a lot less about how best to do this meaningfully and the impact this has on services and experiences of care.”Professor Rachael Finn
“From a practical viewpoint, it was clear that health organisations need to have proactive strategies on how to engage, develop and support lived experience educators as opposed to taking an ad hoc approach.”Dr Kamal Birdi
Based on this initial scoping project, Professor Finn and Dr Birdi compiled six priority areas for further research and produced nine practical recommendations for improving the value of lived experience in the training of mental health professionals, including:
- Health Organisations need to develop an overall strategy to involve Service User Educators (SUEs) in education and training
- Ensure role clarity for SUEs
- Provide ongoing training and support for SUEs
- Target relevant populations for training
- Ensure co-trainer clarity on need for lived experience in their programme
- Ensure SUEs are prepared for different types of sessions
- Ensure preparation of trainees
- Allow flexibility in delivery of sessions to accommodate personal preferences
- Provide post-session debriefing and support for SUEs
The full report can be accessed by visiting the Institute of Work Psychology website.