I’ve not written a proper blog on here for a while but I’ve been involved with some pretty cool stuff during Mental Health Awareness Week, so I’m jotting down a few notes here.
Monday: Tech Manchester Wellness Festival
This was my first visit to UK Fast Campus for this event focusing on managing the stresses of leadership in the tech industry.
As well as talks on everything from resilience to personality profiling there were yoga and meditation sessions on offer.
The great selection of healthy snacks and drinks was very welcome, especially as many events neglect this aspect of attendee wellbeing.
Thank you Tech Manchester.
Wednesday: WP&P Podcast Recording
I’ve recently become part of an online community called WP&UP. It’s a charity which supports people who use WordPress for business, many of these people work independently without a broader professional support network.
As part of my Care Labels For Humans project research I’ve been looking at the features of a range of mental health and well-being apps and I was invited onto the WP&UP podcast Press Forward to talk about my findings.
I’ll post more when the podcast goes live.
Thursday: Access All Areas at the BBC
This event is the BBC’s contribution to Global Accessibility Awareness Day. When we think of accessibility, we tend to focus on differences in mobility and sensory experience.
Accessibility also has everything to do with mental health and meeting the needs of people who think, feel or communicate differently.
It was really positive day and I really enjoyed hearing how experts by experience are increasingly visible in the accessibility world. You can read, hear or watch event highlights on the BBC website.
Friday: Mental Health & Co-production
To round this busy week off, I went to a one day event at The Curve in Prestwich. This is the home of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust including a number of research teams.
There has been a genuine drive by the trust to put patients at the heart of research and service design by including ‘service users’ in these processes in a way that allows their knowledge and lived experience to be used to improve services. This is part of what’s called ‘co-production’.
It was interesting to hear from a number of researchers and their collaborators. I was particularly touched by the work done Dr Sophie Walker and a number of service users, represented by one of the group, Anton.
Patients were involved at every stage of the research which focused on early intervention for young people experiencing psychosis. Working creatively, and using visual arts, it was possible to authentically express the wishes of the participants.
I also demo-ed the virtual reality (VR) gameChange prototype which helps people with psychosis to reduce their anxiety about interactions outside the home by providing a scenarios such as getting on a bus or visiting a cafe.
You can read more about this research on the Psychosis Research Unit website.