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Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Reflections on the 10 Year Celebration of NWPPN and More! Alison Bryant, EbE Steering Group Member

21 Jun 23

*Listen to the blog  audio here (8.56 MB) .

Reflections on the 10 Year Celebration of PPN NW and quotes from the team. Were you there?

An interview with Molly Lever on her evaluation of the PPN NW EbE steering group.

And a mindful moment as we approach the longest day!

Welcome to June- and that’s with a personal sense of disbelief that the year has gone by quite as fast as it evidently has!!

The PPN NW 10-year celebration- an overview.

As promised more on the event on the 24th of May in Manchester where we as a steering group took part in the 10-year Celebration for PPN NW. The programme was rich and varied and if you didn’t get to attend you missed some amazing presentations and talks which were thought provoking, faced future challenges, and looked back on 10 years of achievement and determination to effect change. Our very own Adrian Whittington spoke with hope and optimism in a challenging climate on - What’s next for the PPN? Regional and National Development – his key message was to enable the psychological professions through expansion, development, diversification, leadership and transformation to move forward into the decade ahead. Laura Golding moved us all on the power of Schwartz Rounds to provide a safe space to reflect on work which is demanding where often there is no forum for those conversations to take place. Pete Carruthers introduced his work on using film and theatre to inform audiences on mental health-with illuminating extracts to transport the viewer to share what it is to experience PTSD and Voice Hearing. Chris Cutts spoke about the drive, passion and determination required to set up the PPN and about the journey that Gita and Clare took supported by himself and others to deliver and realise their vision of the PPN. Gita, Clare and Liz shared their reflections on creating the PPN and the phenomenal (my words not theirs -they are too humble to say how much determination this required) energy, guts and drive it has taken to reach this point after 10 years. Not only this but also what happens next as we go forward with a call to action and a pledge for what we can do in the next 10 years. The EbE steering group- Yvonne, Bev, Hilary, Keith and myself (sadly missing our co-chair Joe) took to the platform supported by Molly Lever and Leanne Bird who also presented with us in a coproduced session speaking on- Who we are, how we inform, enable and influence, and what’s next? Also, to consider the findings of our evaluation - what are our aims? and the direction we want to put on the agenda next? EDI and cross regional work come to mind as our goals.

After the event I sent out to the PPN NW chairs and EbE members a series of questions as prompts to share their thoughts and voices about the day in the blog so please read in their own words their responses on what was an amazing day of celebration.

 Responses by the team to the questions below on the 10-year celebration for PPN NW


What was your highlight of the day?

Ali- The dynamic in the room, and people having a shared vision to take the PPN forward to find creative solutions to challenges and to strive for all healthcare to be psychologically informed.

Hilary- Finding out the PPN had started in the NW.

Keith- The day was very positive for celebrating 10 years of PPN NW and the contribution the NW has made and is doing to promote psychology.

Liz- My highlight of the day was having so many PPN members all in a room again together for the first time in a long time! It had a really celebratory atmosphere which was really uplifting to be part of.

 

What resonated with you most?

Ali- The drive, passion and determination of everyone who presented and came along as attendees joined together in a collective momentum to effect change and build on the legacy of the previous 10 years.

Gita- The emerging theme of Stories and how these are so important – history, experience, impact on hearing and telling stories.

Hilary- That the PPN NW has always punched above its weight.

Liz- What resonated with me most was just how far we really have come. Listening especially to the reflections on how it all started 10 years ago, and thinking back to where we were then, the progress is incredible, and it leaves me even more motivated to continue to build on that momentum!

Rhianna- It resonated with me how there are so many different ways to encourage people to be involved within psychological professions, e.g., the use of theatre and EbE involvement.

 

What did you pledge for the next 10 years for the PPN NW?

Gita-To support development for the psychological professions so that there are more opportunities to grow for all.

Hilary- To ensure that the PPN NW continues to punch above its weight.

Keith- Not a pledge, more a hope, that the NW will still be leading the way in PPIE in psychology.

 

Did you learn something that surprised or affected you from a presentation that gave you food for thought on EBE involvement / where EBE involvement could have an impact/ where EBE involvement is needed or an idea for a piece of work we could undertake?

Keith- EbE’s to continue being involved when possible, in aspects of the education/training of trainee psychologists and that PPIE is not a tick box to involve EbE’s but must be embedded, when possible through consultation and coproduction being at the forefront of planning.

Liz- In terms of EbE involvement, I felt really proud to see the EbEs as such an active part of the day and want all our events to be like that in the future.  I have been part of conversations in regard to how we get EbE involvement in the PPN for a long time, and while it has taken longer than many of us hoped, I’m glad we took the time to do it properly, and I’m really excited to see how this can now continue to grow and have wider reach, particularly into all the different psychological professions training programmes.

Rhianna- Having worked closely with the steering group for the last 12 months, it’s encouraging to see you have a platform to speak openly and freely about your impact and how you want to continue promoting EBE involvement, and hopefully the NWPPN can continue to help with this.

 

A conversation you had that was memorable or a comment that gave you pause for thought and why.

 Ali- I talked with so many people but talking with Laura Golding about her work and the importance of Schwartz Rounds which allow difficult conversations a safe space gave me food for thought on other areas of the healthcare system where these discussions are vital but not routinely available. It is vital to verbalise and be permitted to speak to those events that are difficult to discuss and to process in order to improve the lives of the workforce and their wellbeing and as a result to improve workforce retention and morale within that compassionate framework.  Also, to Jodie, Matt and Hari as seeing you in person made my week!!

Gita-I was very focused on keeping the day going so probably didn’t have too many actual conversations!  I think what gave me pause for thought was that there was a good mixture/range of people and many that I hadn’t met which is great in terms of the reach of the PPN continuing.

Liz- Talking with Pete Carruthers, who I’ve not really seen since he presented at our conference in 2015. We were really thrilled to have him come be part of the day again, but listening to the impact the PPN has had for him, and thinking about how important his work can be for the psychological professions, really brings home just how broad and creative we can be as a network.  Basically, the power of a network and how much it can achieve!

Rhianna- It’s not a specific conversation, but just being able to speak to so many people in person for the first time in a long time and hear how the NWPPN has impacted and helped them over the last 10 years.

 

The space was filled by so many passionate and committed attendees, and I wish I could name you all but thank you for making the dynamic that day something truly empowering and full of hope for psychologically informed person-centred healthcare.

 

An interview with Molly Lever, to discuss her evaluation (in coproduction) of the PPN NW EbE Steering Group.

AB Hi Molly and thank you for sharing in what is a busy month for you your reflections on the EbE steering group evaluation.  Firstly, to give readers a sense of context would you like to introduce yourself and share a little about yourself, your role and this project and why it was needed?

ML Hi Ali, of course I’m Molly Lever, I’m an Assistant Psychologist working for Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. I was brought on board in the NW PPN in the summer of last year to work on an evaluation of the EbE Steering Group, as someone completely new to the PPN and the steering group. I was asked to look at whether the Expert by Experience (EbE) involvement project has been worthwhile and effective in making positive change in the North West PPN so that the group could learn from it and take the appropriate steps.

 

AB What did you learn during the project working in co-production with the EbEs? 

ML While working in co-production with the EbEs I learnt how much knowledge they have and how willing they are to contribute. I learnt a lot about the perspectives EbEs hold and how incredibly passionate they are about their projects and involvement with the North West PPN.

 

AB Did that involvement impact on your identity as an EbQ working with people who have a lived experience identity? 

ML I think the experience I have had working with the EbEs has certainly had an impact. Prior to working with the steering group, I was under the impression that professionals and EbEs were separate groups, now after working closely with the group I can see how integrated we are and how important that relationship is.

 

AB What would you share with a colleague who is involved in research with EbEs in co-production? 

ML I would implore them to keep an open mind and to consider co-production in each step of their research. As psychological professionals we can sometimes forget to include EbE voices when working on research, by involving EbEs directly they can highlight areas we may not have considered from our perspective.

 

AB What were the findings or outcomes of the evaluation that you would highlight?

ML I think one of the highlights of the report was how the EbEs were able to share not only how the group had met its aims and how to continue on this upward trajectory; but also, how the EbEs had the opportunity to share how the group has benefitted them on a personal level as individuals. Some themes that arose about the group  

  • A place to be passionate about shared aims.
  • Being provided with learning opportunities.
  • Having the opportunity to make a difference.
  • A positive impact on recovery.

 

AB Why is evaluation important and particularly in the context of the EbE steering group?

ML Evaluation is the way we learn and how we move towards goals and objectives. For the EbE steering group in particular, as it is a relatively new venture and in order to showcase its achievements and identify areas for improvement, we needed to look back at what was set out at the start and see if the group was on the same path towards its aims. By doing so, through the evaluation the group is able to evidence that it is a productive and a valuable asset to the PPN North West and potentially inform the work of other EbE steering groups across the PPN regions and beyond.

If you would like to reach out to Molly please contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you, Molly. We have been fortunate to work alongside you and we are grateful for all you have done to support the EbE group throughout the process. We now have a landmark evaluation and poster that captures the group, our aims and outcomes and importantly highlights the areas on which we need to focus as we go forward. Particularly in EDI, growing our connections and working cross regionally and in embedding an annual evaluation/ review as best practise each year. We are keen through an annual cycle of review to be aware of challenges and areas in which we need to build but also to celebrate the road we have taken and the work we have done as we look to a future where all healthcare is psychologically informed and where as EbE’s we can continue to inform, enable and influence. 

 

Mindful moment –

 I have taken a leaf -pun intended-from Springwatch ( screened on BBC2) this month with the mindful moment they have at one point in the programme. My mental health is soothed and calmed being in nature so as we approach the longest day on the 21st of June, I hope this photo and these words allow you to take a mindful moment for yourself to visualise the meadow, to hear the bees and to breathe in the scent of grass and wildflowers.

The Meadow

The air was fragrant, the meadow a haven,

lying in the emerald grass I watched

bees with a cargo of gold

buzz from garnet poppies

to cornflowers’ stamens of jet

and amethyst corncockles

above me a cloudless sky.

Then drought, heat, soil parched,                                                     

bleached stalks, scythed,                                              

raked into dusty heaps

seed a secret treasure                                                            

deep in the casket of earth                                                  

marking time for the meadow                                                   

to survive against the odds.                                 

Copyright © Alison Bryant, 2022  

 

I must acknowledge a debt here to the fabulous Life Rooms in Liverpool that made it possible for service users in lockdown to engage with their online outreach and to consider often for the first time the benefits to mental health of creative writing in the form of poetry. This was unfamiliar territory, but the sessions produced and led by poet Maria Isakova Bennett writer in residence with Mersey Care allowed and encouraged us to use the power of words to travel beyond the confines of our rooms and homes at a time where anxiety for our communities, families and the hard-pressed NHS and all frontline staff whatever their role was ever present, alongside concern and fear for a then unknown future. Though the need to write to benefit my mental health is not so acute as it was then, taking the time out to write (which Maria encouraged in all of us) has now become a habit!!

 

Next month

PP Week 23: 13th – 17th November 2023 -the countdown begins. Lots of exciting things to look forward to, with more information to come over the next couple of months.

I will be talking to Suzie Smith from LSCFT about a project in development to create a series of workshops to improve public understanding of the Mental Health Act with EbE involvement, voices and lived experience embedded to inform the content and shaping of those workshops.

If you would like to get in touch with suggestions for the blog or to ask any questions or to enquire about our animation, please contact me and the EbE steering group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Until then take care of yourselves

Alison