That time has come for my final blog as the current chair of the NW EbE representation steering group. Firstly, an update…
Last month we presented our co-produced webinar for HEE. The session was recorded and will be available on our webpage in the very near future. We hope it was well received and will continue to be used more widely as a resource. As a group, we are happy for people to get in touch with us to share discussion/ experiences, make links, or support involvement of EbEs in your work. Over the next couple of months, we will be developing our animation and ensuring our group is sustainable long term with new chairs/ co-chairs incoming. We are also working with colleagues across PPN regions to develop an EbE focused session for the upcoming PPN conference in November 2022. We will continue to update people (via our webpage and blogs) when we know more about our direction of travel.
As regular readers of the blog will know, I am a trainee clinical psychologist who has been working with the PPN NW in a 12 month specialist leadership placement. As part of that placement, it has been my job to lead our steering group, and co-produce projects looking at increasing the involvement of EbEs in the training and work of psychological professions. My time with the group has unfortunately come to an end, and post qualification I am stepping down as chair of the group. We have always worked in the spirit that we are a collective and driven by more than one individual and so I have no doubt the group will continue to flourish and drive our commitment to influence change. I’d like to wish the group well going forwards and thank everyone for their passion (and compassion), generosity and vision.
On a personal note, being a member of this group has taught me so much about being a leader and given me so much more, both personally and professionally. Sometimes I think we can miss the nuance in our identities; that the systems we exist in force us into boxes that are designed to separate us. But there are other realities. We can be EbEs with life experiences, professional qualifications and jobs, and value to offer beyond our mental health experiences. We can be professionals by qualification and live (or care for someone) with mental health difficulties and access the services we work in. This group taught me that we’re connected by our humanness…our stories…no matter how different they might sound from each other’s. And that leadership isn’t only about management, strategy and organisation, but about stepping back, noticing, and giving space and trust to other voices. I feel so lucky that this has been my first real experience of ‘leadership’ with a dream team that I could only have wished for. I have learned so much and in the spirit of reciprocal relationships, I hope I have given something back.
A valued colleague said to me this month (and with her consent allowed me to post it here): "Living in us are fragments of what has been, of those who walked with us, of roads taken".
I’ve enjoyed and benefited from walking with this group, down the various roads and I’d also like to think that living in us all are fragments of what COULD be. That for me has been the essence of this group…that we are people first…working together to try and make things better for the people that come after us. I know that will continue to be what sustains us in this time of change.
So, thank you to Alison, Bev, Keith, Hilary, Yvonne and Joe…and to the rest of the PPN NW team for working and walking with me! It’s been an absolute highlight of my training journey! ????