Experts by Experience
What is the project about?
Mental health services in England are changing as part of the NHS Community Mental Health Transformation.
The aim of the Community Mental Health Transformation is to improve mental health services. The voice of people with lived experience is especially important in making sure these new services are effective and able to meet the needs of all communities in Cornwall.
Vision – better mental health together
The aim is to help deliver a new truly integrated model of mental health care provision across communities and services, which is responsive, needs-based, and person-centred.
What is co-production?
Co-production is a way of working that involves people who use health and care services, carers, and communities in equal partnership; and which engages groups of people at the earliest stages of service design, development & evaluation.
Co-production acknowledges that people with lived experience are often best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives. It can help to maintain a person-centered perspective.
It can be an extremely effective way for people with lived experience to be able to influence change.
How do we collaborate with the NHS?
Depending on the projects aims and outcomes, we might work in several ways. We might be asked to help to co-design a new approach or be part of a working group to co-produce a new service or pathway from the beginning. Or we might be asked to consult on some ideas and engage in a focus group to share our views.
We might also help to develop materials or communications that will be shared with patients.
The project is run by a lead Lived Experience Coordinator and a Senior Project Worker. We work with clinicians and operational teams in the NHS to understand the scope of the projects and how our Experts by Experience can contribute. We coordinate their participation and support them to get involved.
We have created a Lived Experience Network – a group of people with lived experience of mental health challenges who can bring their skills and expertise to help shape services. They are called Experts by Experience.
Our Experts by Experience:
• Provide lived experience expertise of mental health challenges to influence the development of NHS mental health services in Cornwall.
• Use their expertise to improve the way people who are experiencing mental health problems are supported in the future.
• Are offered a fee for their time and any travel expenses when taking part. They are not employed by Cornwall Mind and there is no minimum commitment. We advertise opportunities to the group so they can choose what they want to get involved with.
Projects so far
Some of the projects we have been involved with:
• Reviewing the process for physical health checks for people with a serious mental illness (SMI) such as people with a diagnosis of bipolar, schizophrenia or psychosis.
• Helping to map the pathway for people into community mental health services, and how different services integrate.
• Reviewing the questions within Dialog+, a digital patient tool.
How to get involved
We have an existing network which is currently made of up two groups.
Each person that joins receives training before taking part in any work and we offer ongoing support. We meet regularly as a group to share feedback and discuss projects. These are our core Experts by Experience who work with us on an ongoing basis.
Whilst we are not looking to add to our core group at this time, there may be an opportunity to get involved in a one-off focus group or take part in a survey to share your thoughts.
If you’re interested in joining our mailing list to hear about any future opportunities, please sign up here.
This project is funded by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Our mental health radio show
“A Space To Speak Your Mind” is our radio show and podcast made by people with lived experience of mental health difficulties, in association with Source FM, the community radio station in Falmouth and Penryn.