The service users have trained as peer support workers, as part of a project which helps mental health services focus every aspect of their work on supporting people to recover.
Partners in care
Run by the NHS Confederation's Mental Health Network and the Centre for Mental Health, the Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change (ImROC) project aims to help mental health providers change the way they work with service users and families, making them partners in care.
The objective is to go further than 'just' involvement, creating a culture of working together in partnership in every aspect of an organisation's work.
Mr Lamb met the new peer support workers at today's launch of the second phase of the ImROC project. They told him how recovery-oriented services can help people get the support they need to live their lives on their own terms.
Revolutionise mental health care
Launching phase two of the project, Mr Lamb said:"Recovery and recognising that people with even the most severe mental health problems can recover is a crucial part of modern mental health services, which is why it forms one of the six priorities of the Government's mental health strategy.
"Through ImROC, mental health service providers are recognising that people with direct experience of mental ill health can offer just as valuable expertise as medics and clinicians. Combined, they can gently revolutionise mental health care in this country, and ensure people with mental health problems can live the lives they want to, with strong relationships, a sense of purpose and independence."
Lived experience and professional expertise
Establishing a local recovery college is one of the central features of a recovery-focused organisation. The colleges offer courses on living with mental health problems designed jointly by people with lived experience of mental illness and mental health professionals.
A recent survey of participants at the South West London Recovery College showed very high levels of satisfaction with the college and a significant reduction in the use of community mental health services.
Similar results have been achieved in Nottingham and central and northwest London. By using educational approaches rather than just diagnosis and treatment, recovery-focused mental health services help people to make use of their own experiences and talents to build fulfilling lives.
Improved quality and cost savings
A second key element is the introduction of peer support workers into clinical teams, including inpatient wards and community settings. Preliminary data from projects of this nature suggest that they are highly effective in improving quality and can result in significant cost savings.
Find out more
The first phase of the ImROC project involved 29 NHS and independent mental health organisations, including six 'demonstrator' sites which were already advanced in delivering recovery-focused services and six pilot sites, which received support, training and consultancy.
The second phase is open to all mental health providers that want to become recovery-focused. It will continue to be run through a partnership between the Mental Health Network and Centre for Mental Health. Find out more about the project.
Read the press release.
Download useful publications on recovery colleges, recovery, personalisation and personal health budgets and public mental health and wellbeing from the ImROC briefing series section.