Mental health inpatient wards can be traumatising for people with psychosis. Bristol Health Partners and CLAHRC West want to co-design peer support to address the root causes of this and help rewrite the psychosis narrative.
We have applied for funding to the Q Exchange, and are really excited that we are a shortlisted project. The final decision on funding will be at the Q event, where we will be able to discuss our project with other people interested in quality improvement in health services.
“From the dual perspective of having been a patient and now working in mental health, it’s clear that for many people, being in hospital is more traumatic than the experience of psychosis itself. This needs to change.”
– Martha Sneyd, co-lead for project
For people who have experienced symptoms of psychosis, negative hospital experiences can lead to stigma, isolation, loss of confidence and potentially rejection of services. Messages of hopelessness received from staff and unequal power dynamics can cause disempowerment, low self-esteem and resentment of the system. We need to improve experiences of mental health in-patient wards for service users, their families and staff.
“Any crisis contains within it the seed for transformation. Psychosis is no different and we believe that peer support on inpatient wards could be a crucial first step in facilitating this process.”
Martha Sneyd, co-project lead and Dr Michelle Farr, co-project lead
A study found that 61% of people with diagnoses of psychosis or schizophrenia were told by mental health providers that recovery was impossible. Peer supporters can provide positive role models, to show that recovery is possible after a mental health crisis.
Our proposal has been inspired by a public involvement event called Rewriting Psychosis, run by the Psychosis Health Integration Team. This event, attended by over 130 people, showed the film CrazyWise, a documentary about different cultures’ definitions and responses to psychosis. This proposal is one of the outcomes of the event discussions and develops Martha Sneyd’s ideas to co-design peer support in inpatient wards.
We want to co-design a peer support scheme on in-patient wards with service users, those close to them, staff and peer support workers. Through using appreciative inquiry techniques, we will build on people’s strengths, values and ideas, learning from examples of peer support in inpatient settings that people have shared with us, and exploring diverse, culturally sensitive understandings of psychosis symptoms.
Our conceptual framework stems from Martha’s current MSc in Transpersonal Psychology with the Alef Trust. Transpersonal psychology involves studying human transformation, and Martha’s learning in this, as well as lived experience of transformative recovery, has informed the roots of the project. We will draw on post traumatic growth models that outline thriving and resilience as a potential outcome for crisis, so that breakdowns can become breakthroughs.
We have applied for funding to the Q Exchange, and were really excited to hear that from a total of 139 applications, we are one of 25 shortlisted projects. We will be taking part in the Q event where we are looking forward to connecting with other projects. We will pitch for votes from all the Q community members attending the event, which will determine the 15 projects that receive funding.
What will we do if we get funding?
Using appreciative inquiry, and building on people’s strengths, values and ideas, we will:
- Conduct a literature review on peer support in similar settings
- Conduct telephone interviews with grassroots organisations and people who have implemented peer support in inpatient wards.
- Facilitate four workshops with:
- Service users: what would they have appreciated from a peer support scheme whilst they were in hospital?
- Families & people’s networks: what are their priorities for peer support?
- Peer support workers: how can peer workers’ strengths and interests contribute to peer support work on wards?
- Mental health hospital staff: how can peer supporters engage with people staying on wards
- Facilitate two co-design workshops, involving all previous workshop participants, to co-design the peer support
- Write up workshops and research publication
- Finalise the peer support design and work with partners and wards to deliver. Link with local commissioners and apply for longer-term funding for implementation and evaluation
Get in touch
We want to build connections with others to:
- Share experience of peer support in hospital settings
- Link with existing work and different mental health organisations
- Hear from mental health service users about their own experiences and what they would prioritise to co-design peer support for people with psychosis
- Promote the work and generate enthusiasm among networks