Exploring the Role of Lived Experience in Mental Health Training

Professor Rachael Finn and Dr Kamal Birdi received funding from Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust to conduct a scoping project on the effectiveness of involving people with lived experience in mental health training. The co-production project team consisted of a mix of academics, lived experience educators and health professionals.

The project involved three activities:

  • A rapid systematic literature review 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.
  • A co-production workshop attended by service users, lived experience educators and academics with the aim of discussing the reviews, sharing experiences and prioritising areas for further research.

The project concluded that existing research is still patchy and Prof Finn and Dr Birdi point to the need for more research that is co-produced with mental health practitioners and people with lived experience of mental health issues to help address the gaps in current knowledge. However, based on this initial scoping project they compiled six areas prioritised for further research enquiry:

  1. How do different ways of involving service user educators influence the learning of trainees?
  2. What difference does the training make, down the line, to the trainee, the service user and service user carer?
  3. Does story telling enhance the sharing of lived experience?
  4. How do we find, prepare and support service user carer educators?
  5. How can we involve carers, family and friends in mental health training?
  6. How do policy, culture and power in health care settings influence how user involvement is done and its impact?

Nine practical recommendations were also generated. Details of the research activities and the recommendations can be found in the report below.

Our research

Funders and collaborators

  • Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust's Research Capacity Fund