Co-Production and My Care Academy’s Expert Reference Group

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By the MyCA Experts by Experience Group of service users, collated by Suzanne Traynor.

My Care Academy (MyCA) is a knowledge building community utilising the skills and talents of staff, service users and carers in the development of learning content and combining this with access via a website to a range of bite size learning materials. This co-produced learning approach enables staff to manage their own learning and development at a pace and time that is best for them.

Co-production with service users and carers is a cornerstone of this project. People with lived experience of mental distress and mental health service use, play a key partnership and expert advisory role in the development and implementation of MyCA.

MyCA has signed up to the National Service user involvement standards and is committed to the 4Pi standards: Principle, Purpose, Presence, Process and impact.

Our Expert Reference Group

Our Expert Reference Group (ERG) have lived experience of mental health or are carers and reside in the communities of the partnership (BEHMHT and C&I). The ERG co-produced the learning content developed by the project to date and used the collaboration tool Slack to connect and share information together. Some of the members have considerable experience of co-production working but for others, this is their first experience of working within a project group.

Having worked together as a group for almost 18 months the ERG members recently discussed their experience of working with MyCA, looking at what was good and what could be better!

What was good about working with MyCA?

Approachable staff who are empathetic and have excellent interpersonal skills

I felt valued

I felt safe and empowered to participate

I enjoyed having this arena to have my voice heard

What could be better?

Some of the views expressed by the ERG members echoed those experienced by the partnership project team members. The challenges of working with two large mental health Trusts, a university and managing changes in key personnel within these organisations whilst at the same time attempting to maintain the momentum of the project. For some members, this felt like 1 step forward and 2 steps back!

The also said that:

Meetings could be more frequent

Greater contact with staff across the whole partnership

More examples of specific service user work
(i.e. blogs and specific content within learning units)

Service users initiating tasks within the project

What happens next?                                                                                                                                

Moving forward the members agreed that they would like to continue working with MyCA and we will continue to reflect on the comments made by the members as we go on to develop the next unit of learning and acknowledging that we are all learning together.

Discover more

If you’d like to learn more about MyCA our co-production work read our ERG member blogs – just click here or here to access some of the Q&A lived experience blog series created within the partnership.

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