|Times are changing|
It brought people with current and recent experience of mental health services, including carers, together with professionals working in and managing those services. We took from the start the meaning of co-production as: "The voluntary efforts of individuals or groups to enhance the quality and/or quantity of services they receive. (Parks et al, 1981*).
- Everyone’s opinion holds the same weight
- Wherever we go in terms of methodology or outcomes, we decide together
- Whatever this turns out to be, it has to make a real difference, especially for patients.
It feels like we’ve come quite far… I feel like I’ve forgotten something…
Oh yes, and lots and lots of meetings were held in between. And lots of conversations. Some tangential, some experiential, some abstract, but all relevant! And then lots of voting.
And this is the crunch I suppose from our experience
Co-Production requires voluntary effort, quite a bit of voluntary effort from everyone, which in turn requires little more in essence than patience, trust and a sense of purpose. People have come and gone (and often come back) during the lifetime of the project but all of them claim the same credit. They have come from every pay grade and from a lifetime’s lived experience through to a first-time episode and admission. It has felt at different times frustrating, exhilarating, insurmountable and unstoppable. We continue now with the purpose we started with, and perhaps more importantly, the same rules.