The Project

 

Imagining Inclusion focuses on people with lived experience of mental illness and factors that contribute to community inclusion, health, and wellbeing. The project, which began in Vancouver in 2013, has generated a variety of tools for community members and people working with or living with a mental illness.

Phase 1: My Health, Wellbeing, and Community (2013-2015)

In the two-year Imagining Inclusion research project, we explored experiences of community inclusion for people with lived experience of mental illness. With the collaborative involvement of research participants, an upstream-downstream model of community mental health, entitled Creating Upstream Change, was created from project findings.

Research Participants

Research participants were a group of diverse individuals with lived experience of mental illness. They were given cameras to record visually their responses to research questions.

DISCUSSIONS OF THE PHOTOS

Photo discussions were audio recorded and participants wrote reflections to develop a narratives for each of their photographs. Throughout the Photovoice process, the participants worked with students from Douglas College and peer researchers.

PEER TASK GROUPS

Peer task groups involved research participants and worked on various tasks, including data analysis, planning photo exhibits, writing community newsletters, and planning and preparing for a Speakers’ Series for Mental Health Awareness week (2015).

Project Findings

Our project findings were disseminated to a diverse group of community stakeholders via the photo exhibits, community newsletters, and a community stakeholder meeting. Project findings helped shape the application for phase 2 funding “Creating Upstream Change.”

Phase 2: Creating Upstream Change in Community Mental Health (2016-2019)

In Creating Upstream Change, we took up Imagining Inclusion’s model to investigate the potential for organizational and system change in community mental health. We tested the effectiveness of the model in creating system, organizational and individual change in community mental health, and used peer leadership in all project activities.

Digital Storytelling / Photovoice program

The Digital Storytelling / Photovoice program is based on how we used Photovoice in a 10-week process with our participants. It includes facilitation guides and participant exercises. This protocol has been adapted for different audiences and purposes and can be provided in as few
as 5 weeks. It is co-facilitated by peer researchers. This program requires peer facilitator time, a meeting room, and access to cameras. It is ideal (though not necessary) to be able to print participants’ photographs for display.

Speaker Series / Telling Your Story and Being Heard

The Speaker Series / Telling Your Story and Being Heard is a 5 or 8 week program designed to equip participants with writing about their mental health journey and public speaking skills. It is co-facilitated by peer researchers. This program requires peer facilitator time, a meeting room, and access to video-recording equipment (ideally).

Peer Researcher Training

Peer Researcher Training is a 10-week training for individuals living with mental illness to learn the basics about community-based research and evaluation. The purpose is to equip participants to be able to conduct small-scale project evaluations and to be able to participate equitably on research teams. It is co-facilitated by peer researchers. This program requires peer facilitator time, access to a meeting room, and access to a photocopier.

Upstream Change Board Game

Upstream Change Board Game is an educational game to be facilitated with individuals who work in community mental health – including front-line service providers, team leaders, and managers. It is designed as a 3-hour workshop with an introduction, 1 hour of game play, and a debrief. It is facilitated by a peer researcher.

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