In support of the national See Us campaign, Fife Voluntary Action (FVA) is launching a new webpage and call for people with lived experience of mental health challenges to become a volunteer with its Lived Experience Team.
The Lived Experience Team (LET) was established in 2017 and is an inclusive and growing group of volunteers who have experience of mental health challenges (personally or as a family member, a friend, or a colleague), trauma and/or unemployment.
The LET has a clear and exciting goal to improve service design and delivery across Fife. It has a particular focus on contributing to the growth and improvement of health and social care, employability services, and workplace policies and practices around mental health.
Over the past four years, the LET has supported and informed changes to Fife’s mental health strategy and the funding and design of employment support services under the banner of No One Left Behind. The team has also contributed the voice of experience within a range of national research programmes and Scottish Government consultations.
“The Lived Experience voice was invaluable… It brought a new lens to the panel and showed real commitment from volunteers to bring their experiences, words, and thoughts to the table, all of this helped as we considered the impact of [employability] provision on all our communities in Fife”.
- Skills Development Scotland.
LET volunteers are supported by a Volunteer Coordinator who helps them to find interesting opportunities and access relevant training. Funding covers any expenses created through their volunteering activity.
Volunteering with the LET has been transformational for some of its volunteers:
“I discussed the issues I felt held me back in my pursuit of work. This challenged me to…question and justify my perceptions and the potential harm that they cause…my self-awareness [increased] and I feel as though I have become more empowered and in control of my own future”.
FVA is always looking for new volunteers to join the LET - if you would like to gain a better understanding of what the team does, get involved or are looking to engage LET services in bringing the voice of experience into public policy, service design and staff training, please visit FVA’s website.