Mental Health Engagement Framework: 2024 – 2028

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A new recovery focused approach with peoples’ lived experience and staff expertise at its centre has been launched by the HSE’s National Office of Mental Health Engagement and Recovery (MHER).

The Mental Health Engagement Framework: 2024 – 2028 aims to promote the involvement of staff, people with lived experience, their families, carers and supporters in the continuous improvement of mental health services. The new framework describes the unique need for mental health engagement and invites everybody to become involved in developing mental health services that meet the needs of the people who use them. This will result in better mental health outcomes for people.

Speaking at the launch of the new strategy, Mary Butler, TD, Minister for Mental Health and Older Persons said. “I continue to support the work of the National Office of Mental Health Engagement and Recovery and I am particularly proud to launch this Mental Health Engagement Framework because it speaks to my strong belief in the power of lived experience knowledge, peer support and collaborative working to improve services.”

Michael Ryan, Head of Mental Health Engagement and Recovery, HSE, said, “The value of the expertise that lived experience brings is now firmly recognised within contemporary mental health services. Over the past eight years, Mental Health Engagement has been an invaluable resource in bringing that experience into service improvement and new recovery innovation within our mental health services.

“We have learned how best to define, implement and measure engagements, capturing people’s experience to bring about lasting change in our services.  This new framework captures this knowledge and provides practical tools for future integration of meaningful engagement with people with lived experience of our services, family members and carers within our service. We now look forward to seeing it in practice.”

Dervila Eyres, Assistant National Director, Mental Health Operations, HSE said, “This framework will be used by mental health staff and others to inspire and create more engagement activity. It also offers new opportunities for people with lived experience to become involved in mental health engagement whether it is a one-off event or becoming a member of a regional or national volunteer panel or a local forum.

“Importantly, this framework highlights the value and expertise of lived experience as an equal and essential partner in a recovery-focused mental health service alongside its clinical, social, and community partners. I look forward to seeing this framework implemented in the coming years, in the knowledge of the relationship and trust building it will incur and the evidence it will produce.”

The purpose of the framework is to enhance the way mental health engagement happens in Ireland’s mental health service by providing tools to increase accountability, governance and guidance on how to work in partnership with people with lived experience. The long term impacts of this mental health engagement activity are better mental health outcomes for individuals due to improved services.

It will be used by mental health staff and others to inspire and create more engagement activity as well as offer new opportunities for involvement by people with lived experience in mental health engagement. It will also support staff to response to their responsibilities to listen to and act on service improvement ideas from people with lived experience.

Sushil Teji, a member of the Enhancing Engagement Steering Group, said, “The value of applying lived experience through engagement when developing strategies to deliver service improvements cannot be overstated. It provides the shift from a mere consultation process, which says we are listening to we want your active participation and for your experiences, good bad or indifferent to help shape future solutions. This framework now provides the template for all to achieve that.”

View or download the Mental Health Engagement and Recovery (MHER) Office Engagement Framework and supporting documents at the HSE website here.