Lucie Stephens, Head of Co-production at the new economics foundation blogs about putting service users at the heart of planning and delivering mental health services saves money and changes lives.
This blog was originally posted on the new economics foundation (nef) blog.
Putting service users at the heart of planning and delivering mental health services saves money and changes lives.
Last month a mental health nurse turned twitter activist, Helen, made a crucial point about mental health services in the UK. By providing a running tweet commentary on her own time as a patient in a mental health hospital she highlighted the powerlessness and alienation often experienced by people within the system.
But what if the firsthand knowledge and insights held by service users like Helen could be harnessed to not only improve, but help deliver our mental health services?
Today we’re launching a new report, commissioned by Mind, the mental health charity, which explores the potential of co-production to do just this.
Co-production is essentially where professionals and citizens share power to plan and deliver support services together, recognising that both partners have a vital contribution to make. One example of a co-produced approach we reviewed is the Service User Network in Croydon. The network has been designed jointly by psychiatrists and service users who work together on an ongoing basis to deliver it. The network combines professional and lived experience and creates active networks that support people’s recovery.
We’ve been working with Mind to understand when, why and how co-production has been used in mental health services in the UK and internationally, and the impact this has – both on people’s lives and the public purse.
We found that when mental health services were co-produced, those services were more effective for the people using them. They experienced:
But service users aren’t the only ones who benefit from co-production. As our public purse is put under ever more strain, we found the approach makes economic sense too. It leads to
Together we want this report to trigger a wider conversation about the current levels of co-production in mental health services in the UK. That’s why, alongside NDTi and Think Local Act Personal we’re launching a survey to hear more about where co-production is happening in the UK mental health arena, the challenges people are facing and how we can work together to ensure it can flourish.
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