McPin research director Vanessa Pinfold shares her and the team’s reflections on the year gone.
A privilege to reflect
A recent tradition at McPin is an end of year reflections session followed by a team meal.
It isn’t always easy to reflect when you don’t feel 100% or are unsure of how personal to make your piece. We feel these dilemmas but also the power of getting the team together and hearing from each other what have been the personal highlights – as well as the motivations for 2024.
We have a fantastic team working across many mental health projects – 43 at last count – all centring lived experience expertise to generate knowledge useful for affecting meaningful change.
It was a privilege to reflect together and appreciate people’s creativity and thoughtfulness for each other and the work we do together.
There is a Tibetan Buddhist notion of the horse symbolising emotions while the rider is said to represent rationale - the two of these working together in perfect harmony, with neither being more powerful than the other.
Words of wisdom
I wanted to share one example which pretty much sums up what we are trying to achieve at McPin. One staff member created a piece of art on her reflections drawing upon poetry and nature. If you look carefully you can see a horse.
“There is a Tibetan Buddhist notion of the horse symbolising emotions while the rider is said to represent rationale. The two of these working together in perfect harmony, with neither being more powerful than the other, is a true reflection of the idea of wisdom.”
I thought a lot about this when thinking about McPin and the sort of collaborative work that we do; people with lived experience coming together with academics and thrashing out some wisdom!
Influencing and impact in 2023 – and beyond
A thread in the team’s reflections was the importance of influencing and impact – how people’s motivation at work was enabled by projects that directly led to change.
An example this year is our coproduction work with the Samaritans to develop a position statement on LGBTQIA+ communities and suicide.
Another is the gameChange study’s early valuation assessment from NICE, meaning adoption in the NHS is a step closer for a virtual reality therapy for social phobia among people with psychosis.
There is also our new work with the Lancet Psychiatry addressing the reporting of lived experience involvement in research within academic journals.
We will be prioritizing more influencing activities in 2024 – linking up with charities across the mental health sector to remind politicians seeking election that we need comprehensive health and social care for people experiencing mental health issues, a welfare system that is compassionate and supportive, a reformed Mental Health Act, preventative public health programmes addressing increasing inequality, and a 10-year strategy for mental health that recognises how poverty, climate change, wars and conflict, post-Covid impacts, and racial inequity, among other things, drive poor mental health.
A milestone for McPin
McPin also turned 10 years old this year – so it has been a year of reflections really for me personally.
A highlight was a party in July with staff past and present (where the main image for this blog is from) – lots of people connecting and reconnecting, seeing where a McPin journey had taken them and the friendships still in place.
A sense of teamwork is at the heart of McPin. That includes people who leave us for new challenges, our partners in universities and organizations across the UK, and the members of our groups who connect with us sharing their expertise from experience.
Thank you to everyone who has worked with us this year.