Personal experience to remain at the heart of mental health provision in Warwickshire

People using mental health services will continue to have their voices heard thanks to a further two year contract awarded by Warwickshire County Council (WCC). Warwickshire’s Mental Health Co-Production Service, run by adult health and social care charity Making Space, hopes it can contribute to making Warwickshire’s mental health provision amongst the best in the country.

Through regular forums, consultations and workshops Warwickshire’s Mental Health Co-Production Service puts people’s experiences and opinions at the heart of service developments. The service also helps people with mental health problems to gain experience and confidence that can help them integrate within their communities and find work.

From this summer, co-production opportunities will continue to be developed around a range of mental health issues including seeking opinions on how parent infant mental health, suicide prevention and bereavement, and dual diagnosis services can be improved.

Liz Pfute, Mental Health Co-production Team Leader at Making Space said: “We want to give a platform to people who otherwise would not have their voices heard. Anyone who has accessed mental health services, from spending time as a hospital in-patient to booking a session with a counsellor or therapist, is invited to give feedback on how the experience could be improved.

“Co-production means designing services hand-in-hand with the people who use them. It is extremely valuable as it empowers people and helps them to feel that they have some control over their recovery and the kind of support they receive. By involving people with lived experience in shaping provision we want to support Warwickshire to build the best mental health services in the country.”

Volunteer Liam said: “I went from working in a gym to being unable to hold down a job when depression got on top of me. I’ve had both good and bad experiences of mental health services, but getting involved with this service has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve gone from being the kind of person who would hide at the back hoping no one would notice me, to sitting on panels interviewing psychiatrists, writing newsletters and chairing meetings. It is a very powerful thing when you are asked your opinion – and then listened to.”

Last year, Liam was able to meet one of his heroes when he was invited to a conference to mark 35 years of the charity Making Space. He said: “I’ve watched Coronation Street since I was a child and I couldn’t believe it when I walked into the room and Beverley Callard was there. At first I thought she was just invited to add a touch of glamour because she was a celebrity, but when I heard her speak about her own mental health struggles, I thought, ‘you’re one of us’. I would say to anyone who had had problems with their mental health that they need to get involved, speak up and be the change.”

WCC Cllr Les Caborn, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health commented: “I am pleased that Making Space have been awarded the contract to continue to deliver Warwickshire’s Mental Health Co-Production Service. We want to support Warwickshire’s communities and individuals to be safe, healthy and independent. Keeping those who access services at the heart of how they are designed is key to achieving this.”

Individuals can find out more by contacting Warwickshire’s Mental Health Co-Production Service. Telephone 01926 679 207 or email coproduction.warks@makingspace.co.uk. Alternatively you can visit makingspace.co.uk/services/centres/warwickshire-coproduction-service