There was local success at the first ever Innovate Awards hosted in London by the NHS Confederation and Academic Health Science Network. An inspirational team of people with lived experience of mental health challenges won the award for Excellence in Patient and Public Involvement in Transformation and Innovation for their work on a project to improve community mental health services across Coventry and Warwickshire.
The group are known as ‘Experts by Experience’, a term which reflects their equal footing with ‘Experts by Training’ (mental health clinicians) when it comes to the task of improving the support on offer to people experiencing Severe Mental Illness (SMI). The Community Mental Health Transformation (CMHT) programme is looking at many different aspects, including greater access to psychological therapies, improved physical health care, employment support, personalised and trauma informed care, medicines management and support for self-harm and co-existing substance use, enabling individuals to have greater choice and control over their care, and to promote meaningful recovery.
Co-production means people who have lived with mental illness use their experiences to shape mental health services. The team of Experts by Experience were recruited by Rethink Mental Illness, working closely alongside Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT), primary care, local councils, and fellow charities. Together we are weaving ‘co-production’ into all aspects of CMHT to transform our mental health services.
Trudy Cavanagh, one of the Experts by Experience said:
“If you had told us, as individuals, and as a group, who had never met 18 months ago, that we would be standing here today receiving this award, it would have been beyond our wildest imagination. The power of lived experience has created a bond between us as a group and given us a shared purpose to co-produce and improve the journey to wellness for those experiencing poor mental health in the future.”
The team is looking forward to continuing their award-winning where co-production is embedded in all community mental health services across Coventry and Warwickshire.