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Help support the development of a new form of professionalism for mental health services


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Dr Pamela Fisher, Principal Lecturer in the School of Health and Community Studies, is encouraging colleagues to register for a series of unique seminars focused on developing new democratic approaches to mental health.

Dr Fisher is a principal investigator for a series of seven Economic and Social Research Council multidisciplinary seminars designed to re-imagine new democratic approaches to mental health.

“The starting point for the seminar series was with the concept of democratic professionalism which is based on the idea that it is important the voices of ‘lay’ people, particularly marginalised people, should be regarded as highly relevant when it comes to shaping professional practice and values”, said Pamela.

“Another principle of democratic practice is that professionals should be assessed according to the extent to which they support the involvement and enablement of people they work with, such as service users. They should share power with others, not exercise power over them,” she added.

Other researchers and partners involved in the project are: Prof Martin Webber, University of York;  Prof Bill Fulford, University of Oxford, Dr Christine Rhodes, University of Huddersfield; Prof Albert Dzur,  Bowling Green State University; Hannah Howe, Volition; and Karen Fenton, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The seven one day multidisciplinary seminars interrogate how changes to practice, policy and education in mental health could be implemented to develop a new form of professionalism based on co-production. Uniquely, they involve (as speakers and participants) mental health service users/survivors, carers, academics, policymakers, representatives of professional bodies, and professionals from third sector and public organisations.  

Previous seminars have been held at the University of Leeds, St Catherine’s College Oxford, and the University of York. So far all the seminars have been highly oversubscribed, particularly the one held at York University in March. This seminar focused on whether personal testimonies/stories have the potential to contribute to more democratic and humanising practices in mental health. For more information see the blog https://coproductionblog.wordpress.com/tag/seminar-5/

The next seminar, on the vexed question of whether co-production is at all possible in coercive environments, will take place at the University of Huddersfield on 6 July. For further information or to register for the July and October seminars: http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/esrc-seminar-series/

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