First reflections on two days away

A series of train journeys home gives me space to mull over two days spent in London. Yesterday opened with a meeting of the COCAPP Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG), expertly chaired by the wonderful Alison Faulkner. Significantly, key parts of COCAPP are changing in response to LEAG recommendations. Our semi-structured interview schedules, for example, directly reflect the LEAG’s input. This is all good, and I am personally learning huge amounts from the opportunity to be involved.

Yesterday evening saw Alan Simpson give his Skellern Lecture followed by Malcolm Rae receiving his Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award.

As entirely anticipated Alan gave an informed, engaging and challenging talk, which took in his personal journey into mental health nursing and conveyed key messages from his research. Alan gave us plenty to think about. Might peer support workers be attractive to managers with squeezed budgets? Might they begin to replace members of more established groups, nurses included? Or, as Alan hoped, can peer support workers, nurses and others work side-by-side in harmonious fashion for the benefit of people using services?

Malcolm Rea I do not personally know, though based on the talk on leadership in mental health nursing he gave yesterday this has been my loss. I shall remember his contrasting of ‘drains’ and ‘radiators’ (and try personally to be more of the latter than the former).

Yesterday ended with a convivial social in a London pub, and today was more COCAPP: this time a team meeting followed by a Project Advisory Group (PAG) skillfully chaired by John Larsen from Rethink. Some of our discussion centred on the finer aspects of COCAPP’s design and methods, and for that the study will benefit.

So there we are then: only the shortest summary of some pretty involved discussions, but it will do for now. Home calls.

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