Network Learning Event - 9 November 2012
PLUS Perth, a local mental health and wellbeing charity hosted the network’s first national learning event in Perth on the 9th November 2012. The aim of the event was to enhance understanding and share practice around co-production in Scotland by learning from the experience of a network member.
PLUS Perth provided two examples at the half day event where people who use or have used mental health services have made the journey to designing and delivering ‘co-produced’ services.
Participants and partners from ‘Bridges’ a new initiative at Murray Royal Hospital led by peers which assists patients to access information and activities prior to being discharged from hospital and ‘New Leaves, New Links’ an arts project creating community spirit shared their experiences of involvement and empowerment. Following the presentations participants had the opportunity to engage in dialogue around the examples.
Susan Scott of PLUS Perth talked about how PLUS became interested in ‘co-production’:
“I quickly realised when I joined the network that there were quite a few different interpretations of what co-production is, even within the network. My own understanding of co-production goes back to 2005 when I first heard about Edgar Cahn and his work through the SENSCOT bulletin. When I read No More Throw Away People -The Co- Production Imperative, I thought, this is the way we work at PLUS!”
Susan first met Edgar in 2010 at an event in Edinburgh, then in 2011 PLUS held a civic reception for Edgar in Perth. “He wasn’t a formal man at all and spent most of his time chatting with our members, people recovering from mental distress. His aura was incredible. He spoke with such humility and love for his fellow human beings that for that short time he was with us I thought all the problems in the world had been solved. He has kept in touch with us since his visit and calls us his extended Perth Family!”
PLUS’s role is to bring out the best in people, give them the chance to give back, ask them what they can do, what would make them get out of bed in the morning. Susan feels the team are lucky that they have the ‘freedom, time and a higher risk taking ethos’ in the voluntary sector to enable them to work in this way.
“People need to be told they are good, especially those who have for years been told they are bad or unworthy or shameful. Any system where the focus is on what’s wrong with you will inevitably miss what’s right with you.
Although we didn’t really use the term co-production we knew that the concept totally resonated in the work we do and by joining the network we could contribute to changing outdated systems and practices where people are viewed only as passive recipient of care and not the valuable human beings that they are. I am quite sure we achieved a start with that at the learning event”.