I was very happy to be invited to speak at the "Being Human" clinical psychology training day at University of East Anglia. Katie Mottram followed with an Open Space workshop to discuss the themes brought up from talks and discussions on lived experience in the profession. A powerful film was then premiered, produced by trainees and staff on the UEA clinical psychology course, about their own lived experiences. It was inspired by a similarly brilliant one made by the Lancaster course. And finally, a screening of the CrazyWise film and a live interview.
Keep your fires burning on the importance of integrating lived experience into our mental health professions. Together, with allies at all levels of the mental health scene, honouring the place of our own humanity in the course of navigating our work can shift to be less stigmatised. I've already seen significant changes to how conversations are being supported and opened on the subject since 2015 when I broke down.
And it is so needed. Fear of fitness to practice procedures have become over-conflated with lived experience of mental health problems - it's got far too big for its boots! We are professional anti-fear workers and we know how to table difficult conversations that feel threatening in order to help clarify what is real and what is fear that can be put aside. We need to do support our own workforce to make conversations and procedures transparent and supportive. We certainly have the tools already to do this, we practice them well for others, it's time we used them to also help ourselves.
I am so grateful to all those who are a part of helping forward this mission. Thank you to Gillian Bowden for organising the day at UEA.