We believe the life experience of individuals always needs to be included, valued, and used for the betterment of the mental health system. Through the Living Library, individuals with mental health life experience will share their perspectives with those who want to learn to develop a broader understanding. Perspectives shared will inform practice and influence policy development in the area of mental health.
Albertans have frequently shared how difficult it is to navigate our mental health system. We want to learn from the wisdom, voice and experience of community members and/or professionals. This way, each of us will get the mental health supports and services we need, when and where we need them. By sharing our knowledge and experience, we encourage new ways of thinking, we inspire people to learn, we support recovery and instill hope.
People with mental health experience may include individuals, family members, volunteers, and/or health professionals experiencing or supporting people struggling with mental health issues. It may also include individuals with experience in health promotion.
- Develop new ways of learning for all groups of people involved
- Increase engagement with the broader community
- Improve knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work
- Understand the individual perspective to gain a broader understanding
- Increase opportunities for individuals to maintain or improve their mental health
Below is a non-exhaustive list of all the ways people who are a part of the living library can share their knowledge. We recognize that all forms of sharing are valuable and are honored to be able to witness the depth of vulnerability, resilience, and passion of those who are part of the living library.
- A demonstration of the living library at a large group gathering
- Invite as a speaker or include on a panel to present at events or meetings (ensure potential power dynamics are addressed ahead of time)
- Simulations (example: poverty simulation similar to that)
- Document stories/experiences (which could be used in publications, presentations, or training) via:
- Journey maps
- Visual representations and art (i.e. photo voice, paintings, comics, etc.)
- Audio recordings
- Writings such as poetry, stories, etc.
- Inclusion in field guide as introductions to sections
- One-on-one conversations with service providers or peers
- Advocating to decision makers
- Using different avenues of dissemination.