Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. Learn more.

Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Excitement Builds Towards the NW PPN 10 Year Celebration, Introducing Veenu Gupta and her Recently Published Research on Lived Experience Researcher/Provider (EbE) Identity and MH Awareness Week 2023

18 May 23

Listen to the blog audio here (20.34 MB)

Hi Everybody,

We have been planning and refining the content for our EbE session at the NWPPN 10-year celebration event and we are looking forward to meeting as many of you as we can in person on the day. Please do come and introduce yourself on the 24th of May (booking has now closed).

Content for the day includes:

Where we have had an impact?

Reflecting on the last 10 year of success.

How Experts by Experience can inform, enable, and influence.

What’s next for the PPN regionally and nationally?

This quote from the PPN website sets the context of how the PPN came into being - ‘In 2013, Psychological Professions Network (PPN) was set up in the North West, suggested by Health Education England, to bring professionals and stakeholders together, to grow the professions and influence the system, to increase the availability of psychological work for all’. This work continues apace so I encourage you to follow the link and become a member of the PPN and add your voice to our work in the future.

                                                            https://ppn.nhs.uk/register

This is Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 and though I know this blog is being posted at the end of the week I wanted to shine a light on this. Please take care of yourselves and reach out to those you know that must navigate the often choppy waters of their mental health and wellbeing. Our EbE message to all of you, and to all psychological practitioners is please do take time to be compassionate to yourselves.

Always at the NW PPN EBE Steering Group, we are looking for best practice examples to share with you and, in this case, a recently published systematic review ‘Understanding the identity of lived experience researchers and providers: a conceptual framework and systematic narrative review’ by Veenu Gupta, published in April, chimed with us as an exemplar because of our own lived experience. Our EbE co-chair Joe Keaney, said the ‘CLG (Community Liaison Group at Manchester University) academic lead recently disseminated the systematic review and framework. He reached out to say, ‘this is an exceptionally interesting piece of work and great to see co-authorship in action, with EbE involvement embedded not just as an aspiration’.

Veenu Gupta the author and lead researcher is a lived experience researcher and is based at the University of Liverpool and about to complete her PhD. On her research journey, I have had the privilege to get to know her, acting as a lived experience identity provider and now I am a published co-author in her research. In this Q&A interview Veenu talks to me about her research.

AB: So, Veenu, what would you like to share with us about your research, and did your research change your previously held perspective and position on the lived experience researcher identity?

VG: I think so, In the beginning I thought I was more expert than I was being an EbE but in being part of an EbE group for a number of years, conducting focus groups and becoming aware of broader individual perspectives on those roles, by listening and asking the right questions, I have seen the many routes others have taken to become a lived experience identity researcher/provider. Acknowledging those experiences in all their complexity, supporting and valuing those individuals in sharing their knowledge and understanding on how they have integrated their own personal and professional identities has helped me in not only in understanding myself but in shaping the direction of this research and developing a framework to understand these experiences.

AB: Thank you Veenu. Perhaps tell us a little more about the framework. I know myself as an Expert by Experience the insight the EMERGES framework has given me when applying it to my own lived experience identity with increased understanding of what has shaped it to be what it is today.

VG: Having been an EbE my lived experience and professional roles have had a positive impact on my identity and been empowering. Through my PhD I wanted to dig down further to see how lived experience researcher roles impacted others and how the identity of lived experience researchers/providers is conceptualised in the literature. I found 13 relevant qualitative papers and through synthesis deduced these positions- service user, professional, (integrated, un-integrated) and liminality that I could apply to the lived experience researcher or provider. The mix of professional and personal attributes and the knowledge that some of these may be viewed positively or negatively by others influenced individuals to decide to share or not to disclose their lived experiences. These roles may also be emotionally burdensome or stigmatising and excluded some people in these roles such as those from ethnic minority backgrounds, those with chronic disabilities, severe mental illnesses and learning disabilities which was important to highlight. Based on findings in the literature the team developed the EMERGES framework. Individuals can access and unpick their identity development through the stages they identify with in their lived experience researcher or provider roles.

Please follow this link to the research https://doi.org/10.1186/s40900-023-00439-0 

VG: In the future I would like to build on the framework to apply to and understand lived experience identities in other contexts and support individuals working across mental health, in training, and research. Particularly to involve those insights and reflections in the supervisory process. We were able to investigate a gap in existing research and produce this framework which has resonated with many, probably in part because research has not focused on the needs of those with lived experience, and I had the privilege as someone with lived experience to shine a light on this area, with the support from the supervisory team. Partly because engaging in lived experience work felt so complex to me, I also wanted the opportunity to better understand my own experiences and identity.

I am delighted that the research has already been applied at Glasgow University for PPI (including service users and carers) to support their professional development. It has also been disseminated by the McPin Foundation and NSUN because of the potential the framework has for supporting supervision and reflection. https://mcpin.org/3-types-of-lived-experience-researcher/

VG: I also really appreciate the PROSPER (Personal identity and strength, Receiving support, Opportunities and possibilities, Strategies for coping, Perspective shift, Emotional experience, and Relationships (NG et al, 2021) and CHIME (Connectiveness, Hope and Optimism, Identity, Meaning, Empowerment (Leamy et al. 2011)  frameworks that help in understanding post-traumatic growth of those with psychosis and in mental health recovery, and inspired the methods used within my own research.

AB: And what would you like to share about EbE involvement in your research?

VG: It’s vital as you know, to include EbE involvement from inception and throughout the research process, it results in research that is accessible, easy to understand and can benefit EbEs.

AB: I’d like to ask if you had to select only one part of your research to share with a wider audience, what would that be?

VG: For sure, the diagrams on the McPin Foundation site as they concisely cover the research and can be utilised in the tailored supervision required for lived experience identity researcher roles.

AB: I also asked myself if only one thing could be altered in the future as the result of your research what would I wish it to be?

My answer to self and my heartfelt hope is that the EMERGES framework can be used to help lived experience researchers or providers to understand themselves better and to achieve support in supervision that is tailored to their lived experience. Particularly when the research may be particularly close to that individual’s personal experiences.

AB: How did you feel balancing your lived experience researcher role and identity in the research process?

VG: Reflexivity, the more complex survivor history, the more nuanced supervision is required to navigate those links. In a nutshell, I would strongly advocate for a hybrid type of supervision that includes research and clinical supervision to support lived experience researcher/providers. I also think it is so important to apply this research practically and for it not to be just theoretical and conceptual.

AB: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

VG: Really my thanks to my supervisors, co-authors in my research, participants who took part in the wider research and to you Ali as the lived experience provider in contributing your expertise and support throughout this research.

Veenu my well wishes to you for the future and my gratitude to you for your support throughout the journey and now for giving a wider audience the opportunity to share your research through this interview and blog.

 

An exciting follow-up to the December blog request to visit the website to save Ron’s Place.

 https://ronsplace.co.uk/

Ron’s Place is an amazing and inspiring example of outsider art that was under threat, but miracles really do happen! The owner had put the house up for sale and the prospect was all the in-situ work would be lost to developers but on the morning of the auction, Tamsin Wimhurst from the Muller Wimhurst Trust reached out with full funds to purchase the house on behalf of the Wirral Arts and Culture Land Trust (WACCLT). The purchase ensures the house, opportunities for community engagement and Ron’s work and legacy are preserved.

Next month – drum roll!! Feedback on the NWPPN 10 year Celebration from the EbE steering group perspective. What did we learn? Sharing our reflections on the event and what are we planning next? Also a conversation with Molly Lever on her evaluation of the PPN NW EbE steering group , on working with EbE coproduction in the process and new directions we may take as a result!!

Please contact us at the PPN NW EbE Steering Group for further information, for support or to suggest items for inclusion in the blog at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Take care of yourselves until then

Alison