There are benefits to involvement for everyone involved and we must always remember this is a two-way process. For people with mental health problems, influencing and participating in projects or activities can help them to develop key skills, lead to increased levels of confidence and boost their self-esteem. Opportunities can often develop into leadership roles, jobs, teaching and training or peer mentoring. Organisations and services will see benefits in their understanding of the needs and challenges being faced by people using their services, they will be able to plan more effectively and subsequently deliver services that people want in partnership with those that use them.
There are many more benefits, we have listed some below.
Paola talks about how working with people with lived experience of mental health has contributed to the work of Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind.
"This is not about consulting people who use our services with a questionnaire or with some other kind of consultation exercise. It's about doing something together and that will create a sense of belonging and that's when you really feel engaged and you actually change things."
Service users at Washington Mind told us that influence and participation had benefitted them in a number of important ways, including:
Anthony talks about the benefits he has gained from being part of the Mancroft Advice Project (MAP) project.
"I wouldn't have been able to obtain that job without gaining the confidence through talking to other people at MAP."