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Curtin Projects on Show at WA Mental Health Conference

The inaugural WA Mental Health Conference was held on Thursday 10 March and Friday 11 March 2016. Three of the school’s research projects, and one teaching and learning project, were selected from a competitive field.

In Community

The ‘In Community’ project is a partnership between Mental Health Matters 2 and Richmond Wellbeing. Dr Sue Gillieatt and Dr Robyn Martin are undertaking emancipatory action research on this project, and Dr Martin facilitated the panel presentation at the conference. The presentation involved a panel of project members who engaged in a live co-production conversation in front of the 40-plus members of the audience. The presentation demonstrated the challenges in unsettling traditional ideas about expertise by qualification, and encouraging appreciation of expertise by experience instead.

Peel and Rockingham Kwinana Richmond Wellbeing Evaluation

Steve and Tree McVey, Kim Jennings and Dr Sue Gillieatt co-presented the topic, ‘How the Ideas and Principles of Co-production and Personal Recovery can Inform the Evaluation of Services’. The presentation focussed on how Curtin researchers worked alongside consumers, families and staff of the Richmond Wellbeing PaRK Service to build and implement a responsive research framework using the principles and ideas of co-production and personal recovery. The presentation outlined the successes of the service, areas for further development and the strengths and challenges of the research and evaluation process. Dr Gillieatt leads the project team of Dr Kate Dorozenko, Ben Milbourn and Dr Robyn Martin.

Sue Gillieatt.
Dr Sue Gillieatt is leading the project team for the Richmond Wellbeing Evaluation and undertaking emancipatory action research on the 'In Community' project with Dr Robyn Martin.

The Valuing Lived Experience Project

The ‘Valuing Lived Experience Project’ focuses on lived experience involvement in the education of professionals. Clinical/Professional Fellow, Lyn Mahboub, leads the project team, which includes Clinical/Professional Fellow, Annalise O’Callaghan, Lecturer, Ben Milbourn, Dr Kate Dorozenko, Dr Robyn Martin and Sophie Ridley. Co-presenters Sophie Ridley, Dr Dorozenko, Lyn Mahboub and Ben Milbourn provided an overview of the project and its sub components. The project’s aim is to embed lived experience within the occupational therapy and social work curricula.

Employer Attitudes Towards Mental Health Recovery

The ‘Employer Attitudes Towards Mental Health Recovery’ project was established by 55 Central Incorporated, and evaluated by a research team led by Dr Robyn Martin with Research Officer, Michelle Hunter, Dr Julie Netto, Dr Leanne Lester and Sophie Ridley. The project aimed to explore pathways to sustainable and meaningful employment outcomes for people diagnosed with mental illness.

Kevin Dunn, General Manager of 55 Central Incorporated, presented on the evolvement of the project, including an employer training event, Mental Health in the Workplace, which over 70 employers, from various fields, attended. Amanda Waegeli, Lived Experience Consultant and Peer Specialist, played a significant role in the delivery of this training, and discussed the role of lived experience in improving employer attitudes to mental health in the workplace.

Sophie Ridley presented the evaluation findings on behalf of the research team, which revealed an increase in employer confidence, and openness to employing someone diagnosed with mental illness, as a result of the training. Overall the project demonstrated that learning from lived experience is a key factor in positively impacting employer knowledge and values, and should be used as the mechanism to enhance employer attitudes towards mental health recovery.