Sahil on his expertise being valued
Sahil is in his early 20's and worked on the Lived Experience Advisory Panel of the Body-worn Cameras project.
I spent a very long time as an inpatient. I can very confidently say that the treatment that saved my life was with South London and Maudsley – the national specialist service at the Michael Rutter Centre.
Quite often when you do have lived experience, people might tokenise you, like ‘OK, we’ve decided we’re gonna do this. We’ve gone and done this whole research study. Can you read it? What do you think?’ It’s like a bit of validation that, oh yeah, someone with lived experience saw it and thought it was great or that it made sense.
But this was a really open and transparent process to be involved in where I didn’t feel I was just a tick box. Actually, it was: ‘Let’s do this together. Let’s decide on this together.’ The key word is that my experience was ‘valued’. People quite often think I’m too young to be doing what I’m doing. My input was sought, and it was done in a way which was sensitive.
The key word is that my experience was ‘valued’. People quite often think I'm too young to be doing what I'm doing. My input was sought, and it was done in a way which was sensitive.
Providing a different perspective
We had some thought-provoking discussions. The lead clinician was very much keen to learn from our experiences and get our views. We provide a different lens and different perspective to look through and I think that’s really powerful. That’s even more powerful when a group of you come together.
From the LEAP panel came the project advisory group, which was made up of mostly clinicians and three of us with lived experience. Again, it felt like they were saying your contributions have been valuable in this part, in this phase, can you or would you like to work with us in the next phase, which is really important.
People call it a golden thread, where you enrol people right from the start of a project. It’s about the sharing of power. It was great to be able to do it.
“It wasn’t just a great project with a really great outcome that was done really well, but it also impacted those who got a chance to be involved in it. I now work for NHS England as a senior project manager and expert by experience. I wouldn’t necessarily be doing what I’m doing now without having such a great experience of coproduction.”