A variety of training sessions designed and delivered by people who use mental health services. The training sessions aim to inform mental health workers about service user involvement to enable staff to make positive changes to their working practice.
Aims and objectives
1. To develop and support a group of mental health service users to become skilled and experienced trainers. This group of people would be able to identify the training needs of mental health workers based on their experience of accessing services.
2. To develop and deliver service user led training sessions to a broad range of mental health workers. The skills, knowledge and experiences that learners acquired throughout the session would be utilised to inform daily practice and improve the experience of people accessing services. As a result of taking part in this initiative service users would be able to:-
- Participate in a Train the Trainer programme to equip them with the skills to develop and deliver training
- Utilise their experiences of using mental health services to lead to positive change within mental health services
- Give and receive peer support to other service user trainers
- Take part in high quality and meaningful volunteering opportunities
- Develop new skills and experience
- Increase self esteem, confidence and motivation levels
As a result of accessing training sessions mental health workers would be able to:-
- Understand and appreciate the lived experience of mental health service users
- Identify areas of practice that work well from a service user perspective
- Identify areas of practice that do not work well from a service user perspective
- Identify ways in which the service user experience can lead to improvements within mental health services
Reasons for implementing your project
- Encourage participation from a wide range of people who experience distress
- Provide a safe and supportive environment for people to share information, knowledge and experiences
- Empower and support service users to inform, influence and improve mental health services
- Improve Together's services through meaningful service user involvement
- Support people to improve their own wellbeing through involvement opportunities
Within these meetings, service users often speak about their experience of accessing mental health services. It has been identified that service users are best placed to inform staff providing services about what works well, what doesn't work well and how services can be improved as a result of service user involvement. Service users identified the need to bring together a collective voice of mental health service users to inform mental health staff of their experiences in a dialogue that was outside and separate to the usual staff - client relationship that exists. This would facilitate a learning experience in an appropriate environment that allowed time for challenging discussions, constructive criticism and reflection to improve the service user experience.
At the same time, a group of senior managers identified the need to inform staff at all levels about the principles of service user involvement, the practical issues that this entails and how it can drive forward standards and quality of care. This included the need for staff to have an increased understanding and awareness of how the skills, talents and experiences of service users could be utilised to improve service delivery.
How did you implement the project
Costs incurred related to service user trainer travel expenses and support systems, refreshments and room hire on occasions. This was in addition to standard costs for staff to access training sessions, including staff travel and time.
All training sessions were evaluated using Together's standard training evaluation form. Service user trainers worked with key staff within the Skills Development Department to evaluate the content of the training to inform future delivery. Learners were also asked to reflect on how they would change their working practice as a result of the training session - in particular, what will they do more of, what they will do less of, and what they will not do in future.
The majority of staff commented positively about the positive impact of service user led and delivered training.
Key learning points
- Service users are able to take part at a level that they feel comfortable with
- Feel safe and supported to talk about their distress as a learning point for others
- People have access to high quality training, group support and one to one support / supervision
- People are not at a loss financially as a result of their input
- People feel able to praise good practice, challenge poor practice and help identify creative solutions to improve practice
It is also crucial that staff who support the development and delivery of service user led training are provided with sufficient time and resources to do so. The successful roll out of service user led training requires support from Directors and senior managers.