This initiative has been running for several years in Sheffield. Based on Storying work which Peer Worker, Chrissy, was undertaking in our mental health day services, the workshop was re-developed into an educational structure using creative and narrative techniques to deliver a 1/2 day a week session for 5 weeks for Medical Students from Sheffield University. The new course was designed by Chrissy and Kay, supported by Brendan,all of whom have experience of living with Mental Ill Health. For the Medical Students, this would be the first time they had been taught ( knowingly) by people with lived experience of mental ill health and also the first time they had been in a class learning alongside service users.
Chrissy and Kay helped all participants explore fragments of their own stories which they were willing to share and tell their stories through the creation of exhibits in a variety of mediums.
The course is popular and the feedback is excellent from all participants. For both groups the experience of learning together is novel and empowering. Students recognise the importance of exploring vulnerability in themselves and the recovery concepts which are being taught to service users, reexploring narratives in terms of an asset based rather than defit based approach and exploring “living with” rather than”suffering from” concepts through a critical analysis of the concept of recovery.
We wish to further develop this project, using coaching methodology to develop new facilitators, to take the process into other groups of students and healthcare learners and to ensure that our participants reflect the make up of the city particularly focussing on less well represented and more isolated groups.