Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to explore what helped seven people in contact with secondary mental health services achieve their vocational goals, such as: employment, education, training and volunteering. Design/methodology/approach– The authors used the practice of co-operative inquiry – staff and peer supporters co-designed an evaluation of vocational and peer support work with service users. Findings– Service users experienced invalidating living conditions that caused serious distress. These life struggles included: isolation, trauma events and stigma. The impact involved distressing emotions such as: despair, fear, pain and confusion. In contrast, when service users experienced supportive validating conditions (trusting relationships, engaging in valued activity and peer support) they reported being able to learn, change and grow – finding their own way forward, to improve well-being and quality of life. Research limitations/implications– Qualitative analysis from in-depth interviews revealed a range of consistent themes that enabled the authors to visually represent these and “begin” developing a model of change – grounded in lived experience. Further research is required to develop this model. Originality/value– The development of a model of change grounded in an invalidation/validation framework offers a different approach – in terms of how people are perceived and treated. This has relevance for Government policy development, clinical commissioning groups and practitioners.
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 2, 2015
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