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Shaping and developing services

People with lived experience play an important role in shaping and developing services. Their experiences and ideas help us to develop tailored services that meet the challenges people struggle with every day.

How can people with lived experience help us to shape and develop services?

You can involve current and past service users in services that are already operating. By sending out surveys and holding discussion groups, you can better understand people's experiences of using the service and what they'd like to see changed.

Many local Minds have gone a step further. They have service-based steering groups so people can share decision-making with the organisation, and guide the development of the service.

What methods can you use to involve people with lived experience in service development?

It's essential people with lived experience influence the development of new services. It helps to make sure the service meets the needs of the community is will serve.

Service design is a methodology which helps you explore the needs of potential service users and staff that work there. This method has many benefits - its' ethos puts people with lived experience at the heart of design and delivery, and it's closely aligned with co-production.

It's also one of the most powerful ways to maximise the impact of campaigns, helping them resonate with the public and giving credibility to your message. When it comes to campaigns, involving people with lived experience should start at the earliest opportunity. They can help you understand the focus of the campaign, exploring the issues, and defining what needs to change.

There should also be opportunities for people to be involved in delivering a campaign. Mind did this during the Time To Change campaign. Through case studies, photographs, speaking at parliamentary events and going to conferences, people with lived experience became the 'face' of the campaign.

A steering group is a good way to ensure a campaign stays on track. It also makes sure people with lived experience are able to contribute to decisions as the campaign progresses.

Case study - Newport Mind

At Newport Mind, young people are involved in all aspects of running the services. They hold regular steering group meetings that bring to light many issues. During one meeting, young people said they often found coming to new places and meeting people for the first time a daunting experience, that triggered anxiety.

Some of the young people made short films aimed at new service users. They were put online for new users to watch before taking part in an activity or going to a new place for the first time. The films helped prepare them for what to expect and minimise their anxiety.

Watch one of the videos here.

Terry's experience

In this video, Terry explains how insights from his mental health problems have contributed to various services he has worked in.

He says that one of the main benefits of doing voluntary work is becoming proud of having a mental health issue, and taking the shame away.

Case study - Solent Mind

At Solent Mind, one of the organisation's most successful projects led by people with lived experience is a peer support programme called Heads Up.

In Heads Up, people visit local secondary schools to talk about mental health, challenge discrimination and set up buddying schemes.

The success of Heads Up demonstrates the wider social and educational benefits of influence and participation and its positive impact on services.

"It's why we do what we do. If we're going to do this stuff, why not do it with the people who are our raison d'être. It's not just about 'consultation' - it's a living, breathing process."

Sue Forber - Solent Mind

Other ways to get involved

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