David Crepaz-Keay spoke at the third ESRC seminar (Re-imagining professionalism in mental health: towards co-production). David was highly sceptical about the possibility of achieving co-production in mental health services. Instead, David argued that emancipatory and positive development for people in mental distress have been predominantly led by survivors – mainly people who had themselves been badly let down by the system. What is required, David argued, are different forms of support which are embedded in the context of people’s lives. Mental health should be about providing support for life (not symptom) management through community based involvement and relationships. Peer-support is key to this. Speaking about an innovative community-based study in Wales, David explained that more referrals for peer support were received from traffic wardens and librarians than from mental health workers. More information about David’s work can be found at http://www.peer-support.info/index.html
David Crepaz-Keay is Head of Empowerment and Inclusion at the Mental Health Foundation where he has worked for ten years. His goal is to create strong and effective voices for people directly affected by mental ill-health. David’s department is responsible for developing and delivering service user involvement, carer involvement, self-management and peer support, and mental health awareness training. With more than 30 years’ experience in service user involvement, David has previously occupied a number of prestigious posts including chief executive of Mental Health Media, former board member and vice-chair for the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, founding member of National Survivor User Network (NSUN), and former chair and treasurer of Survivors Speak Out.