The MHCC’s Lived Experience Engagement checklist (the checklist) has been designed to support staff working in the public mental health sector to maximise engagement and collaboration with people with lived experience (for project /policy work, consultation, collaboration on pieces of work). The checklist looks to create the greatest possible opportunity to have lived experience expertise influence, design and drive the work within the public mental health sector.
Introductory video to the checklist
The checklist is not an audit of public mental health services, rather it is an opportunity to self-assess the levels of engagement, collaboration and participation with lived experience within your service.
The checklist contains answers in a ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘partially’ format. If the answers you select contain a greater number of ‘no’; and ‘partially’ results as compared to 'yes' then we recommend using the ‘The Lived Experience Engagement Checklist - Further Resources’ as a guide to help you explore opportunities so that a ‘yes’ can then be selected.
Checklist and Further Reading List Files:
Frequently asked questions
We use the term ‘lived experiences’ to refer to the lived and living experience of trauma, neurodiversity, mental health challenges, psychological distress, suicide, substance use or addiction of consumers, their families and carers.
The MHCC recognises family to include family of choice, friends and significant others. We also recognise that in some cultures family or whanau are inclusive of all peoples connected to the consumer.
Involving people with lived experience in projects and other work helps organisations build understanding, improve quality and enhance the knowledge required to plan and deliver projects and policy work.
Co-design and co-production with people with lived experience helps frame the work according to priorities identified by them, helping in making the work more relevant and deliver real world outcomes.
Before you start a project, the checklist can help you consider how, and in what ways you may engage with people with lived experience. This ensures that they have the greatest possible opportunity to influence and drive the work. You can also use the checklist to track how you’re progressing throughout the various aspects of the project.
The checklist can be used by staff, both with and without personal lived experiences. It can be used by public mental health services and other organisations in the mental health sector. The checklist is not exhaustive and is not a substitute for engagement with people with lived experience.
No. The checklist is not an audit of services nor a survey of engagement processes/practices. It’s an opportunity for services to review and improve their engagement process.
The checklist is framed by the MHCC’s lived experiences values. It gives examples of how all project and policy work can be informed by people with lived experiences. The checklist can be downloaded and printed or used online in an interactive format.
Tick the box that applies best to you. If the answers you select contain a greater number of ‘no’; and ‘partially’ results, then we recommend using the ‘The Lived Experience Engagement Checklist - Further Resources’ as a guide to help you explore opportunities where a ‘yes’ can then be selected.
Some different ways to engage people with lived experiences include one or many of the below approaches (see figure 1). The Lived Experience Engagement Framework (Department of Health and Human Services, 2019) includes a decision-engagement tool that shows what is required to achieve each level of engagement. The statements within the tool can be used by staff to increase the potential of more meaningful engagement during the different stages of the project.
Figure 1: Decision engagement tool (adapted from Department of Health and Human Services, 2019)
It is important to consider the power differentials likely to be experienced by people with lived experience during the engagement process. A useful starting point is to think about whether there are adequate lived experience voices whose views and opinions are being heard, recognised, validated and implemented. Below are some points worth considering:
Ensure that people with lived experience make up a majority of views sought /engagement membership, including in governance groups. When this occurs within the organisational structure, it fosters an environment that takes lived experience perspective seriously, reduces stigma and empowers people with lived experience to engage more effectively.
The perspectives of people with lived experiences are built into decision-making and leadership structures (e.g. people with lived experiences as part of the executive, as chairs or co-chairs)
Reviewed 07 June 2022