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Co-facilitation of a mental health literacy programme

A recent study by Te Pou, published in The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, shows facilitators with lived experience of mental health challenges enhance the delivery of the Blueprint for Learning (Blueprint) MH101® (mental health) programme. In particular, the stories facilitators shared about mental health challenges and people’s wellbeing journeys positively impact participants by bringing the workshop content to life and providing hope.

People value having two facilitators who bring diverse knowledge and perspectives. The programme works best when both facilitators contribute equally to delivery, and they work in partnership together. Having a facilitator with lived experience alongside a facilitator with clinical experience (co-facilitation) is unique to MH101® in New Zealand. The co-facilitation model is underpinned by the ‘power of contact theory’ – that positive contact with people with lived experience of mental health challenges can reduce negative attitudes towards people experiencing these challenges.

The study highlights that good facilitation skills, knowledge, values and attitudes are important alongside people’s personal experiences. This includes communicating well, engaging people, and managing the flow with the other facilitator. Important values and attitudes such as compassion and respect align with the Let’s get real framework. It also highlights how facilitators can be best supported, and considerations for recruitment. This includes ensuring support is available after delivering workshops and recruiting a diverse range of facilitators including culture, age, gender, and life experience.

This is the first large New Zealand study looking at how people view co-facilitation, in respect to having facilitators with lived and clinical experience working together, and what supports effective delivery in a mental health literacy programme. The evidence supports the delivery model that Blueprint uses across all of its programmes. Thank you to the programme participants who provided evaluation feedback. Study findings can be used to inform the design and delivery of other mental health literacy programmes.


Reflecting on co-facilitation

Renee McDermott, an MH101® lived experience facilitator, shares her thoughts on the co-facilitation model research paper.

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Talya Postelnik

Talya Postelnik


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