The Greater Manchester Independent Mental Health Network hosted their first Lived Experience Forum last week, gathering people with lived experience of mental health together to discuss the important issues from across the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs. The forum is going to meet monthly, and is going to represent a diverse range of communities to ensure that the lived experience voice is heard from the grassroots level to the Greater Manchester level.
Due to current restrictions around COVID-19, the meeting took place virtually via a Zoom call, on 16th September. Keen and ready to start talking about how we can make change, we started the meeting with introductions from the representatives to each other – talking about the varied backgrounds they are from and the different projects and work they had all been a part of. All members of the group have experienced using mental health services, but some of the other experience they bring ranges from working in IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services, working within the NHS as a community nurse, an author who has written books about their experience with depression and anxiety, a manager for a carers group, and so much more.
Our current projects at the GM IMHN were then discussed between the group. The representatives shared opinions and observations they had themselves, or their peers, had noticed in topics such as our mental wellbeing survey. We are going to co-produce our work as much as possible with the group, and therefore we are also keen to provide training to our lived experience representatives, so they can thrive in their roles and in their communities. We asked them what training they would like us to provide for them, and feedback was given to us that we are currently working on to ensure our shared objectives are met.
Overall, a great introductory discussion was had, and we are very excited to see where the work this group undergoes will take us. We are passionate about our belief that working alongside people with experience of using mental health services is essential to developing these services successfully.
Published on September 29, 2020 at 11:42 am