How do we best bring lived experience into university research? I was the first 'Consumer/Service User Researcher' at the University of Auckland and sat on the Medical and Health Sciences Faculty Advisory Committee where I provided strategic and operational guidance. I also helped established and keynoted the first Service Users Academic Symposium.
It's well known that people often struggle the most when traditional mental health services are closed for anything except crisis situations. Evenings and weekends are when a simple chat can help if people are feeling unsettled and prevent things getting worse. I was privileged to put together the first professional Warmline as a peer support helpline service.
"I wouldn't have come if I couldn't bring my cats. Nothing comes between me and my cats." Research Participant.
I was lead researcher for this project exploring the perspectives from residents and staff at different providers.
One of the most encouraging signs of change has been the increase of lived experience roles within health. But we're still figuring out how they can best contribute to a better health system and support the individuals employed and the workforce as a whole.
I led this project to help inpatient and outpatient services at a hospital redesign their advisory roles in consultation with community organisations.