Enhancing learning and teaching about mental health across the disciplines
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
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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?
Hi both. I'm very interested in the research idea as well. Would enjoy discussing with you if you get to that point.
Great, look forward to discussing this.
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)
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.
Hi, this is great, will contact you both off-list.