• Dr Natalie Kemp

Finding a home for lived experience in the mental health professions







Over the past months I've delved into the world of staff wellbeing, wondering if I could find a home for mental health professionals livedwith experience of mental health problem. But no. Our LE movement is more allied to service user activism than our own workforce's wellbeing programmes.


I'm reminded of how I started this. If I came back into mental health at all post breakdown, it was to fight to destigmatise LE of mental health problems in the professions. Otherwise I was done with how we had constructed ourselves and didn't want a bar of it.


Coming in, I identified most with being an investigative journalist (who couldn't really write yet) than any kind of psychologist. In fact, I wasn't sure my breakdown meant I was allowed to call myself one, and now, I'm not sure being a psychologist is what I want to identify with.


It seems to me that my investigation continues (as with the wellbeing programmes). It's as if I need to immerse myself in the different parts of psychology/mental health culture in order to really understand what does and doesn't fit there.


I guess I feel that I can only know a fit from travelling it and engaging with different contacts and parts as I journey on. It's a long and winding road and it feels like it's taking me forever on a shoestring to learn enough to even begin to figure it all out.


In the meantime, I'm trying to rescue the in2gr8mentalhealth forum in the fear that members have disappeared, all in the time of covid19, without wanting our work to be defined by covid19 particularly either (people have been through many types of dark times).


I know personally that finding a home can be difficult. Many will understand that from the metaphorical to the actual. I just hope that the fact we persist in trying to create or recreate one, whilst journeying and seeking to understand its place, will in the end come to something.

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