Your “Lived Experience” is PRICELESS
I’ve noticed a common trend recently here in the UK “Lived Experience”. New organizations, companies, etc all using the words “Lived Experience”. Organizations encouraging people to “get involved”, “Your voice matters” etc.
Which is great! I mean FINALLY right!
Is the culture of the workplace actually employing, embracing, and supporting people with lived experience?
The reason why I say this is because I have actually experienced going to one of these services that mention they support people with lived experience. I feel it is important to share my experience because I know there are others who may share similar experiences.
I was employed with the impression they empowered and supported individuals & staff, encouraged new ideas, and treated people as resources through my research.
I felt like when I moved from a volunteer to a paid employee the way I was treated changed. I went from being treated as a resource to an object that just checked the boxes and delivered a service.
My lived experience went completely out the window, I was repeatedly told “that’s not how we do things in England”.
Ultimately that resulted in my mental health declining and I resigned.
Someone once told me you can let your experiences make you bitter or you can use them to make you better. Those experiences are what inspired me to want to make changes, empower others, and ensure that everyone is respected, valued, and has a seat at the table.
And, we know people who are getting a paycheck for their lived experience! Not just reimbursed for their expenses or volunteering; they are receiving a paycheck, with benefits, vacation, paid holidays, etc.
What does a paid role valuing lived experience look like? This is what CCAR says!
To enhance recovery outcomes, work with a trusted recovery community organization (RCO).
The RCO offers a multitude of recovery connections reflective of multiple pathways for recovery.
The RCO develops a team of highly skilled, competent, well-paid, professional recovery coaches that represent and believe in all recovery pathways.
The RCO dispatches recovery coaches to Emergency Departments, Police Stations, Fire Stations, prisons, treatment centers, managed care organizations, etc. when requested.
The RCO practices a key coaching principle – it treats each coach as a resource.
The RCO trusts the recovery coach to do their job. They have the freedom to innovate, adapt and serve.
Leadership does not micromanage.
The RCO allows the recovery coach team to grow dynamically and strengthen one another.
The RCO encourages the team to learn from one another. The team develops linkages with a variety of community recovery supports that they share with one another. This body of knowledge is a powerful, living entity that the team nurtures. As an example, CCAR Emergency Department Recovery Coaches use group texting to communicate continually with each other. A day’s thread has 100’s of messages.
The RCO will develop a career ladder (for those interested) – from receiving support to volunteering (offering support) to partaking in quality recovery coach training to earning a Recovery Coach Professional (RCP) designation to employment in the recovery support services field.
And that is what "Lived Experience" looks like!
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