For many years, Mind used 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.
Mind wanted to understand what would be useful and important in the new Toolkit, and a range of methods were 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:
We undertook a comprehensive review of the Toolkit in 2020, adding new resources and tools and ensuring that the resource reflects current concerns and working practices.
The Toolkit is intended to be a living and growing document and we will continue to add new content as the need arises, as well as reviewing it on a regular basis to ensure that it remains up to date.
Andrew talks about his participation in the development of the Toolkit.
"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 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 lived experiences.
Louise has worked in mental health over the last 15 years and is passionate about using people's personal experiences to effect 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 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 worked with people and communities as he had a passion for difference to be appreciated and celebrated. Sadly Oz passed away in August 2018, after a very short and sudden illness. He was a truly inspirational campaigner, a creative thinker and tirelessly challenged inequalities in every way.
He began his work in mental health with Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind, where he managed a creative project for young people in 2002. Oz 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.
In 2015 The Outsiders developed a new campaign to focus on men's mental health called 12th Man, which continues to operate throughout the East of England. Oz was incredibly proud to be involved in developing this; one of his greatest passions was to support men to talk more openly about mental health.
We are incredibly lucky to have been able to work with Oz. His memory lives on amongst the many people whose lives were so positively touched, encouraged and influenced by his work in mental health.