Seminar 3: Co-Produced Poetry by Adam Montgomery

To conclude Seminar 3 (hosted by the University of Leeds) spoken work artist/poet Adam Montgomery (aka “Ad-verse”) created this poem from the impressions and reflections of the attendees:

Co-production is underpinned by an authentic sharing of power

It would seem this notion causes some mental health professionals to cower.

Participatory citizenship creating spaces to be human & share.

Instead of us and them can’t it be that we all care?

We have more in common that not and that’s true across the board.

Allowing peers a chance to help each other is its own reward.

It helps to help and given the chance people will provide insight and support.

There’s great value to be found if we allow inclusivity of thought.

Social networks empower allowing space to develop relationship skills.

Money matters but surely there’s real value found outside the bills?

Who controls the purse strings? Can we dip into the pot?

Resources might be limited but co-producing can bring us a lot.

It’s an opportunity to do thing differently, changing status quo

Who describes the purpose? What are we trying to show?

What does co-production mean? Is there a clear definition?

Are services willing to share power or do they treat the term with suspicion?

Are mental health professionals essential for co-production?

We can invite them to play a part but do they want to be in the discussion?

Sustainability & transformation can be found by consulting all

Each can make a contribution be it large or small.

Some services currently operate on compulsion and coercion.

Will co-production allow for more democracy and co-operation?

Democracy redefined and power equilibrium shifted on the way.

Supporting resilience and survival of self but letting people have their say.

It shouldn’t be tokenistic, how do we make it authentic and true?

For genuine sustainable co-production what do we need to do?

Vested interests need challenging and minds opening would be a start.

Tapping into the human connection which we all hold in our heart.

Decisions made with people for people, services to fit users needs,

A person centred approach which encourages people to do good deeds.

Allowing people a chance to help others realising it helps to help & grow.

Positive outlets for effecting real change allowing hidden expertise to show.

More meaningful working relationships between services users and providers.

Acknowledging often the most expertise is found within those insiders.

The patients, the people being treated, those with the problems often hold solutions

These can often be found by enabling meaningful contributions.

SO many opinions in the mix, who’s to say which one is right?

Perhaps we all have some valid points without enquiries we won’t have insight.

Some are resistant to change, change takes time and time is money.

The complex nature of organisations and their cultures is far from funny.

The term can bring confusion, what does it mean and what does the language reflect?

I think it’s about all having their say and being treated with respect.

Given opportunities to play a part in positive changes for systems and self.

Knowing you’re valued can do wonders for self-esteem and mental health.

Self-esteems often taken a battering with decisions being made for you not with.

Together in coproduction we can hopefully make it easier to live.

Where does co-production live? It should be in the community.

For everyone to play a part and for all effected and involved to see.

A quality approach to develop excellent services, hearing the voices of all.

Allowing people to contribute with empowerment fundamental.

Interdependence, collective humanity, transformation & change.

Overcoming inertia and seeing room for systems to be rearranged.

Service user involvement and a willingness to share throughout

I know co-productions possible but that there are many who doubt.

Some people are resistant to change but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Services can cause frustration but being heard can help good come from the sigh.

Taking time to consult with people letting them play a part with some ownership.

Empowering through real life opportunities and support should they happen to slip.

We’re all people with assets and issues whichever side of the needle we sit.

Co-production can be a positive thing with a need for clarity when defining it.

Who are you going to co-produce with and what will you create?

We’ve co-produced with mother nature to produce a very warm state.

So I’m sure some of you are wondering if the end of proceedings are near.

I’m happy to announce that at least for my bit the end is finally here.

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Expertise by experience

Professionals should be able to use their ‘expertise by experience’

Tina Coldham and Pete Fleischman led a workshop at the third ESRC seminar which provided an interesting historical overview of the development of co-production dating back to the dark ages in the 1980s up to the present day.  At the end, they threw out 2 questions for discussion: ‘Is it possible to truly co-produce in mental health?’ and ‘Is there a danger that co-pro will get hi-jacked?’tc

The view of the participants was that co-production is a process, a journey – there’s no alternative than to continue working away at it.  Even if co-production is being co-opted, at the very least it means that people are talking about it. Some participants explained that they witness and participate in authentic (rather than ‘watered down’) co-production – but it’s often hidden and under-acknowledged.
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Significant progress will have been made when mental health professionals feel able to be open about their own experiences of mental distress. In other words, professionals also bring expertise by experience, and this should be seen as a professional asset. As things stand, most professionals feel unable to disclose their personal experience of mental health. Until they do, we won’t achieve the ideas of ‘reciprocity’ and ‘mutuality’. Although some people don’t like these words – they are the language of co-production. So look up the words if you don’t understand them!

 Tina Coldham campaigns for a better understanding of mental health issues in society and works to improve service provision. She has enduring mental health problems, and has used used mental health services over many years. Tina has worked in the voluntary sector, across disability, in academia, with regulators and governing bodies as a trainer, researcher and consultant. Tina is currently a Director with HASCAS who conduct service reviews and homicide investigations; a member of the NIHR Involve Advisory Group and Advisory Board; Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York; An associate at the Centre for Citizenship and Community at UCLan; and has stepped down as Chair of the National Survivor User Network having led this from the project planning stage to independence. Tina also chairs the SCIE co-production network.

 Pete Fleischmann has experience of using mental health services. Pete was coordinator of Brent Mental Health User Group (BUG) from 1991 to 1996. Until 2004 Pete worked as an independent consultant. Contracts have included working with the Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) at the Institute of Psychiatry, developing user involvement at Revolving Doors Agency. Since 2004 Pete has been Head of Co-production at the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) where he works four days per week. SCIE is a national charity set up by the government in 2002 to improve social care services. Pete leads SCIE’s programme of work around co-production. Co-production is the term SCIE uses to describe working in equal partnership with people who use services, and carers. Pete is responsible for the production of good practice materials about co-production and ensuring that users and carers are at the heart of all SCIE’s work.