Co-Production in Mental Health

“… co-production is a relatively new concept and still an innovative approach on the margins of public services. The evidence that does exist is promising, and much of it shows strong outcomes emerging for those who get support.”

The full title of this report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) is “Co-Production in Mental Health: A Literature Review”. It was commissioned by the mental health charity Mind.

The NEF understands co-production to be “a relationship where professionals and citizens share power to plan and deliver support together, recognising that both partners have vital contributions to make in order to improve quality of life for people and communities.”

Setting out a ladder of participation that progresses from “doing to”, to “doing for” and lastly “doing with”, the report list six principles as the foundation stones of co-production:

  1. Taking an assets-based approach: transforming the perception of people, so that they are seen not as passive recipients of services and burdens on the system, but as equal partners in designing and delivering services.
  2. Building on people’s existing capabilities: altering the delivery model of public services from a deficit approach to one that provides opportunities to recognise and grow people’s capabilities and actively support them to put these to use at an individual and community level.
  3. Reciprocity and mutuality: offering people a range of incentives to work in reciprocal relationships with professionals and with each other, where there are mutual responsibilities and expectations.
  4. Peer support networks: engaging peer and personal networks alongside professionals as the best way of transferring knowledge.
  5. Blurring distinctions: removing the distinction between professionals and recipients, and between producers and consumers of services, by reconfiguring the way services are developed and delivered.
  6. Facilitating rather than delivering: enabling public service agencies to become catalysts and facilitators rather than being the main providers themselves.”

You can read the report here.

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