Chapter

Changing minds: unleashing the potential of mental health service users – a critical perspective on current models of service user involvement and their impact on wellbeing and ‘recovery’

Stephanie McKinley and Sarah Yiannoullou

in Critical Perspectives on User Involvement

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427519
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305590 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847427519.003.0011
Changing minds: unleashing the potential of mental health service users – a critical perspective on current models of service user involvement and their impact on wellbeing and ‘recovery’

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Changing Minds is a nine-month course to train service users with long-term mental health problems to co-deliver training. It enables service users to use their skills in user involvement programmes and challenge discrimination through the training and education of professionals and people in the community. Designed and run by service users, the programme came into existence as part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust's service user involvement strategy. This chapter describes the impacts of the course on those who took part. Initial findings suggested that service user involvement programmes have the potential to promote the mental well-being and recovery of people with mental health problems. Qualitative feedback suggested that the course also helped to reduce the disempowerment experienced by people in the mental health system and enabled participants to develop a new sense of self-belief, confidence and identity. However, the context in which such programmes operate does not always support their achievements. A culture of low expectations and paternalism does not challenge people to achieve their potential, and funding streams that are focused on short-term outcomes limit the long-term personal development and recovery of people who use services.

Keywords: mental health; recovery; training; paternalism; institutional commitment

Chapter.  5126 words.  Illustrated.

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