Lived experience in menatl health training: exploring the impacts of service user involvment on programme effectiveness, service delivery and health outcomes?

Whilst there is emergent evidence suggesting the benefits of involving people with lived experience in mental health training, this is somewhat patchy and has restricted our deeper understanding of the topic. We have summarised outcomes from a set of linked activities funded through Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Research Capacity Fund, that sought to synthesise the existing literature, practice knowledge and lived experience of people working in this area, with a view to co-producing relevant research questions to address significant gaps in evidence and making initial recommendations for good practice.

The project was developed and implemented through co-production with a team comprising service user educators, academics and mental health practitioners. 

There were three core aims of the project: 

1. Analyse a sample of existing training and education programmes involving service users in the Sheffield City Region in order to develop an understanding of how they can vary in their methods, topics, audiences, role of service users and other relevant dimensions of concern to our wider research interests. 

2. Conduct a review of existing research (systematic) to identify existing practice (philosophy/pragmatics/ characteristics), evidence of impacts/outcomes (defining ‘effectiveness’; cognitive, affective, behavioural) and the parameters associated with effectiveness and current gaps in evidence. 

3. Conduct a stakeholder co-production workshop to explore experiences and impacts of a range of current local practice-based initiatives from the perspectives of service user educators, service users and mental health trainees. This workshop also aimed to ask participants to generate and prioritise research questions based on their own experiences and discussions of the reviews outlined in the report.  

A full report on this project has been produced: