It is not always easy to successfully involve people, even with the very best of intentions and meticulous planning.

Thinking about the challenges that might present themselves when working with people with lived experience only has worth if we focus on learning from and overcoming them.

On compling this toolkit some of the people we spoke to talked about times when things didn’t go quite as planned. These types of experiences are highly valuable, because you can learn from them in a number of ways: you can reflect on what went wrong and why, and make changes to how you do things if needed.Ultimately, you can make sure your influence and participation activities continue to improve so that everyone involved gets the most from the experience.

Influence and participation is an integral part of Mind’s work – and that of many other organisations – but always bear in mind the importance of involving people with lived experience for the right reasons. Drawing on people’s personal experiences is crucial, but it should never be an act of tokenism, done simply to tick a box.

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