About coproduction for mental health, suicide prevention and quality improvement

In early 2020 we in Suffolk User Forum supported the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System with their Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Programme. This programme focused on quality improvement projects to reduce the risk and incidence of suicide and self harm in people most at risk, including men. 

As part of the preparation for this programme we thought it was important to explain the key things that underpin coproduction through three short films. Although written for this programme, the principles and key themes are relevant for all coproduction in mental health.

  • An introduction to coproduction
  • Understanding power differentials when co producing mental health projects
  • Creating a safe space for open conversations.

Film 1 – An introduction to co-production:

The most important part of coproduction is shifting mindsets and establishing a culture that embraces exploration and learning. One that genuinely values peoples lived experience, to enable mutual learning and understanding recognizing the richness and wider understanding this can bring.

A transcript of Film 1 can be viewed here.

Helpful  links and resources for finding out more about coproduction as discussed in the above video:

Film 2 – Power differentials in co-production:

The opportunity to begin to explore how coproduction in mental health can be very different to other areas of health and social care, as extreme power differentials are likely to have been experienced by those with lived experience working as coproduction partners. This video discusses some of the considerations we need to take account of to ensure people with lived experience are positioned as knowledge holders, leaders  and people from whom there is much to learn, in a way addresses power imbalances.

A transcript of Film 2 can be viewed here.

Film 3 – Creating a safe space for open conversations:

Coproduction requires all partners to take care to establish trusting and respectful relationships. It requires attention to how this is experienced and all partners have a role in ensuring there is a safe s[ace for open conversations.

A transcript of Film 3 can be viewed here.

Our Charter for Coproduction

By working in coproduction with service users and family carers, we have coproduced a Charter for coproduction. These are the things that people need to help them to know how they can contribute, feel informed and valued to be involved and how they can make a difference.

• I know you will explain your organisation and how my contribution fits into the overall structure and aims that we are trying to achieve.
• I understand how I can contribute and give value.
• I know we can plan meetings days & times so that I can make the arrangements I need, to be able to attend.
• I know we can plan to meet at venues that are comfortable and welcoming for me.
• I know before I come, how I can easily claim expenses and that I will receive prompt payment.
• I know that when I arrive I will feel welcomed and made to feel comfortable.
• I know my contribution will be recognised publicly in any opening and welcoming address.
• I know that it’s okay for me to take time out if I need to and that there will be a quiet area I can go to have some space.
• I know that I will be an equal contributor along with professional staff who may be more formally dressed.
• I know you will keep jargon to a minimum and where it is used, you will remember to explain what you mean so I can understand what is being discussed.
• I know that you value my lived experience and the time I am giving to support co-production and to improve services together in real partnership.
• I know that you will explain how discussions are recorded so I understand when and I how I will see what is happening next and how my contribution has made a difference.
• I am able to see the outcomes of my involvement in any reports, feedback and developments made.
• I know that there is someone I can speak to if I feel that the discussion is having a personal impact on me and I feel safe to talk to that person.

Suffolk User Forum’s co-production charter can be downloaded by clicking this link:  Suffolk User Forum Coproduction Charter 

The ways in which professionals and organisations can put the coproduction charter into practice can be read and downloaded by using this link; Putting the coproduction charter into practice

Other Resources

The coproduced ‘LISTEN’ poster which is discussed in the above video’s can be seen  below and downloaded here.

Find out more about the Stay Alive App and download the stay alive poster.