Pilot Mad Studies Group
Two weeks ago, twelve of us gathered round a table at Java Coffee Lounge in Moseley for our first 'Mad Studies' group. As the organiser and failitator, I was unsure of how many people would be interested or turn up, so I was pleasantly surprised at the number who did, and the interest of others who supported the group via social media with Retweets or Facebook shares.
The video above was made excitedly after the first meeting, and includes some responses from people who attended on the day.
The group has its origins in Lived Experience Practitioners (LXPs) - people who openly use first person experience of adverse mental health - expressing the need for support within their roles. This is quite a common issue, and one which is reflected in conversations with people who work in this area nationally. It was the reason that several of us created the group 'Post Personality Pioneers' and have started to develop a supervision model for specialist/senior Lived Experience Practitioner roles, which has recently won the 2019 BIGSPD 'Inspiration' award.
The benefits I've received from being part of the supervision group have been an inspiration to share these with fellow LXPs locally. However, the resources needed to do this as a more traditional supervision group in terms of funding, facilitator supervision, and assurance of a confidential space would have taken a while to get in place. The group instead combines two elements to give support - being with others who share a similar interest or need, and the sharing of knowledge to enable individuals to better understand issues or dynamics they face within their work.
The first group was kept fairly open in terms of being open attendees with an interest in the area, whilst keeping the focus on the issues of Lived Experience Practitioners. In practice, we attracted people working in the third, private and NHS sectors, a range of seniorities, education levels, people working openly as LXPs, or within non-LXP roles. The result was a rich conversation which we found beneficial, and a decision to continue the meetings on a monthly basis. The next meeting is on Thursday 7 March, you can book attendance and find reading details here.