- • This review looks at the involvement of people who have experienced mental health difficulties in teaching mental health students communication skills.
- • A systematic review of the English language publications from 1990–2010 was carried out using a wide range of sources including online databases such as the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycINFO and MEDLINE (Ovid).
- • The overall goal was to assess the quality of existing evidence in this area and synthesis of findings on the effect of teaching involving people who have experienced mental health problems on students' ability to communicate.
The conclusions of the review were:
- 1Overall this type of teaching was acceptable to students and of value.
- 2When service users teach about communication there is a move in student's practice towards improved attitudes towards people with mental health difficulties.
- 3Some students were concerned that the people teaching them were not sufficiently representative of most people with mental health difficulties.
- 4This type of teaching made professionals reflect more deeply on the way they communicate.
Recommendations were also made to improve future research:
- 1Researchers should use a clear definition of what constitutes good communication.
- 2If skill in communication is being measured tried and tested measures should be used to do this and an experimental approach should be adopted.
- 3A mixture of methods that both measure changes in skills and behaviour and elicit peoples actual experience of this type of teaching seems to be the best way of researching this area.