for better mental health

How the Toolkit was developed

Since 2012, Mind has been using a resource similar to this (previously called an Engagement Toolkit) as a resource for national Mind staff to support them when working with people with lived experience.

We decided to review and update the previous version, to create a new and improved Toolkit to serve national and local Minds, and importantly, to be available for anyone outside of Mind who wants to enable people with lived experience of mental health problems to participate in and influence their work. It was also important to include some practical 'tools' for users of the Toolkit to draw on.

The process

Mind wanted to understand what would be useful and important in the new Toolkit, and a range of methods was used to gather feedback and inform its development. Oz Osbourne and Louise Palmer were commissioned to manage the review process and write the new Toolkit. This involved:

  • forming a steering group, which met regularly during the process
  • consulting with local and national Mind staff through a series of regional workshops
  • gathering input and feedback from other Mind staff via a questionnaire
  • conducting and filming interviews with staff and service users
  • working with staff and other people to collate case studies, to highlight good practice
  • developing and designing tools for people using the Toolkit to draw on.

Andrew's video

Andrew talks about about his participation in the Toolkit development.

"For Mind to turn round recognise there is an issue and give us the people the opportunity to get our voices heard gave me some real confidence there was going to be some positive change."

The Authors

The toolkit was researched and written by Oz Osborne and Louise Palmer. Between them, they have nearly 30 years of knowledge to draw on in the field of mental health, community development and engaging with people with relevant experiences.

Louise Palmer

Louise has worked in mental health over the last 15 years and is passionate about using people's personal experiences to affect change. She also has her own lived experience of mental health problems. Her work has focused on providing opportunities for people to participate in a range of projects. These include developing a user-led 'Well-being' project for the Stuart Low Trust, supporting Time to Change's Social Leadership team to challenge stigma and discrimination and most recently being an Influence & Participation coach supporting a number of teams at National Mind. Louise has also trained and mentored people to speak with more confidence in public, in particular to help influence better practice through the power of personal stories.

Oz Ozborne

Oz works with people and communities and has a passion for difference to be appreciated and celebrated. Beginning his work in mental health and community development in 2002, Oz has worked throughout the UK with the Time to Change campaign, The Human Library movement and, in 2013, created a social enterprise, The Outsiders, to develop ideas that provide a platform for transformative dialogue.

Oz began his career in mental health with Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind, where he managed a creative project for young people. In 2015 The Outsiders developed a new campaign to focus on men's mental health called 12th Man, which is operating throughout the East of England; this is a project that Oz is proud to be involved in because he is passionate about getting men to be more open about mental health.

Other ways to get involved

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