Aust Occup Ther J. 2022 Aug 19. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12837. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Learning from individuals with lived experience is considered an important element of developing recovery-oriented practice capabilities in mental health contexts. Additionally, service user involvement in the education of occupational therapy students is a requirement in accreditation standards. Despite this, many barriers to meaningful inclusion of Lived Experience Educators have previously been identified.
METHOD: This study evaluated the outcomes achieved by students who were involved in a unit of study that incorporated four recovery-oriented practice workshops that were co-designed and co-delivered by Lived Experience Educators and an occupational therapy academic. Change over time was measured using the Recovery Knowledge Inventory (RKI) and the Capabilities for Recovery Oriented Practice Questionnaire (CROP-Q). Change over time was evaluated using paired t-tests. Students also provided qualitative feedback at the conclusion of the workshops. These comments were analysed using interpretive content analysis.
RESULTS: Students’ scores on the RKI and CROP-Q both demonstrated statistically significant improvements from the beginning of the semester to the end of semester (RKI: 53.6-57.7, t = 6.3, P < 0.001; CROP-Q: 75.6-77.0, t = 2.4, P = 0.019). The most common categories included in the qualitative comments were: “Learning from real experiences”; “Learning about how to be a better clinician”; “See the strength and resilience of the educators, reduce stigma”; “Learning about the negative aspects of the mental health system”; and “More effective than other types of learning”.
CONCLUSION: This study has demonstrated that students who engaged with the co-designed and co-delivered workshops improved their recovery knowledge and recovery-oriented capabilities over the course of the semester. Qualitative feedback also suggests that students’ attitudes and skills for future practice were also influenced in positive ways by engaging with Lived Experience Educators.