I work as a lived experience development worker in the NHS. My role is to support and develop ways of getting the service receiver voice and perspective heard in undergraduate medical education around mental health.

That's a mouthful. Truth is, I first came into contact with secondary mental health services 20 odd years ago when I was 25. I've been 'around the block a few times' and have acquired some knowledge and insights along the way - as have the overwhelming majority of people who've used mental health services (in my opinion, obviously!) For me, those insights, that knowledge of people with lived experience of mental ill health is a rich resource that can be used to help future generations of doctors become as good as they can be.

So, after spells volunteering and being employed voluntary sector mental health provision I've 'gone over to the dark side' - I work in the NHS. But I'm still trying to do the same as I've done for years - trying to do my little bit to make services better. I work within 2 education teams that believe in coproduction (unsurprisingly!) and look to support the sharing of the knowledge that comes from a service receivers lived experience as a resource that students draw on. I've joined an existing programme (with a colleague who also has lived experience of mental ill health) to support, develop and work with the service receivers without which the programme cannot function.

And it's good. I (am the rest of our team) are very proud of what we achieve. But, reading around the literature looking at the impact of such involvement, it's really difficult to find any kind of research that looks at whether 'patient as educator' programmes have any effects on the medium of longer term attitudes and behaviours of medical students. This is despite repeated pronouncements from government that education and training should involve people with lived experience. There is an abundance of evidence that shows that students really appreciate that myriad of opportunities for experiential learning that are open to them. But, if we are aiming to support the student to maximise their potential, then surely such experiential learning should inform the way that they practice in the future? Anyway, I'm in the early stages of working with a CTF to put together a research project that will attempt to examine this area. It's exciting, scary but, I think, really worthwhile.

Thank you for reading this really rambling blog piece to the end. My reason for writing it is to see if anyone in this network is able to offer support or advice on things like medical statistician time. Also, it would be amazing if any service receiver groups wanted to explore ways that they might be able to get involved 

Views: 79

Comment by Michael Ashman on January 16, 2017 at 9:28

Hi Simon

Very interested in the research idea. I work in a similar post and have been delivering training on attitudes to mental health to undergraduate medical trainees for a few years. I've changed the training many times over the years in response to student feedback, to my developing understanding of the issues, and in response to research findings. I present the students with some challenging ideas about stigma and discrimination, but have no idea if they take these ideas and consider them in light of practice. It would be good to discuss this further with you, perhaps off-list?

Comment by Jill Anderson on January 23, 2017 at 11:41

Hi both.  I'm very interested in the research idea as well.  Would enjoy discussing with you if you get to that point.

Comment by Michael Ashman on January 24, 2017 at 8:37

Great, look forward to discussing this.

Comment by Simon Rose on March 15, 2017 at 11:11

Hi Michael, Hi Jill

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm still pursuing this - but am finding that the NHS works horrendously slowly.

Michael if you want a chat to explore some ideas my number is 07554 417656 (leave a message and I will call back if I don't pick up)



Comment by Jill Anderson on March 15, 2017 at 13:07


Thanks Simon.  You might both be interested in this: 

Mel Hughes (2017): What difference does it make? Findings of an impact study
of service user and carer involvement on social work students’ subsequent practice, Social Work

I'll share full text with you offline. 

Best wishes, 


Comment by Simon Rose on March 15, 2017 at 13:15

Thanks Jill

Comment by Michael Ashman on March 15, 2017 at 13:37

Hi, this is great, will contact you both off-list.

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Mental Health in Higher Education Hub to add comments!

Join Mental Health in Higher Education Hub

Blog Posts

QMU launches the world's first Masters in Mad Studies

Posted by Jill Anderson on December 1, 2020 at 11:50 0 Comments

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh is launching the world’s first master’s degree in Mad Studies. The MSc Mad Studies course is primarily a course for graduates with lived experience of mental health issues. It has been hailed by a leading international Mad Studies academic as the most exciting piece of curriculum development in the last 20 years!

Mad Studies is a recognised academic discipline that explores the knowledge and actions that have grown…


Unlearning through Mad Studies: disruptive pedagogical praxis

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 26, 2020 at 19:00 0 Comments

Medical discourse currently dominates as the defining framework for madness in educational praxis. Consequently, ideas rooted in a mental health/illness binary abound in higher learning, as both curriculum content and through institutional procedures that reinforce structures of normalcy. While madness, then, is included in university spaces, this inclusion proceeds in ways that continue to pathologize madness and disenfranchise mad people.

This paper offers Mad…


Stepchange: mentally healthy universities

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 16, 2020 at 15:48 0 Comments

Earlier this year, UUK published a refreshed version of its strategic framework, Stepchange: mentally healthy universities, calling on universities to prioritise the mental health of their students and staff by taking a whole university approach to mental health.

The Stepchange approach and shared set of principles inform the …


Think Ahead gets funding to boost its intake.

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 16, 2020 at 15:41 0 Comments

Fast-track mental health social work provider Think Ahead will expand its intake by 60% from next year following a government funding boost of at least £18m.

The Department of Health and Social Care has agreed a contract with Think Ahead to increase the number of trainees for its 2021 and 2022 cohorts from 100 to 160, with…


Transforming Mental Health Social Work videos

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 16, 2020 at 15:39 0 Comments

Health Education England has commissioned 11 videos centered on real-life experience of specialists in the social work field.

See the video playlist.

Transforming mental health social work - conference report

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 16, 2020 at 15:37 0 Comments

In February 2020 Health Education England and Skills for Care put on two major conferences about the role and development of mental health social work. 

Download the conference report.

Leadership in mental health social work - web pages

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 16, 2020 at 15:33 0 Comments

A section of the Skills for Care website has been developed for mental health social workers and AMHPs

View the web pages here.

Social work education and training in mental health, addictions and suicide: a scoping review protocol

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 16, 2020 at 15:29 1 Comment

Social workers are among the largest group of professionals in the mental health workforce and play a key role in the assessment of mental health, addictions and suicide. Most social workers provide services to individuals with mental health concerns, yet there are gaps in research on social work education and training programmes. The objective of this open access scoping review is to examine literature on social work education and training in mental health, addictions and…


Mental health nurse education: perceptions, access and the pandemic

Posted by Jill Anderson on October 16, 2020 at 15:25 0 Comments

With World Mental Health Day this Saturday, a new Nuffield Trust report discusses how more people might be attracted to apply to study mental health nursing, and the reasons why they might currently be less likely to do so.

Co-author Claudia Leone picks out some  key findings.

© 2023   Created by Jill Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service