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Our Lived Experience Experts

As part of our human rights programme to support better human rights respecting decisions in children’s inpatient mental health services, we developed the paid roles of Lived Experience Experts.

In 2021, we ran open recruitment for our Lived Experience Experts, using an Easy Read and accessible process. The criteria for our Lived Experience Experts are that they have experience of children’s inpatient mental health services either as a child or young person themselves or they are the parent, carer or close supporter of a child or young person who has accessed these services.

The job of our Lived Experience Experts is to make sure that our programme focuses on the experiences of children and young people in mental health services, and how the Human Rights Act can be used to make sure decisions in services respect people’s rights. Importantly, our work together is not about retraumatising people. It is about working with our Experts on how best to make sure people’s real-life experiences are at the centre of our programme.

The difference our Lived Experience Experts make

The feedback from those we support shows how the involvement of our Lived Experience Experts improves our work with duty-bearers, making the benefits of human rights-based practice real.


of participants in co-delivered training felt more confident to make decisions to uphold people’s human rights


of participants would recommend a co-delivered human rights session

CAMHS nurse

“I am a CAMHS nurse who was fortunate to be able to attend the first Human Rights Programme workshop. It was well delivered, was engaging, was relevant to my daily role and included lots of information that I was not aware of. I think that what made the workshop be fantastic was that we had someone with lived experience on the training Charli, who was brave, vulnerable, and authentic about her lived experience and made the training more engaging, relevant and personal. Having lived through similar experiences, I was in awe of Charli’s strength and bravery and inspired me to get involved in sharing of my experiences. A massive well done and thank you.”

Children’s Mental Health worker

"I think its invaluable to have a person with lived experience as part of the training team as they bring a different perspective and give us an understanding of the impact of actions. Thank you, Hanna!" 

Charli, Lived Experience Expert

“Co-delivering has been a very special piece of work to me. Whilst BIHR has made sure every piece of the training is co-produced, there is something especially important about it being physically delivered with us as Lived Experience Experts. It means that we can weave in comments about our experiences throughout and have discussions that otherwise wouldn’t happen. I have often had longer discussions with the groups off-the-cuff when something about my experiences resonates with them, for example about secluding groups of young people into a room whilst moving another. We see constant lightbulbs from staff throughout, particularly when I discuss my experiences around being autistic within a unit. Instead of just automatically justifying their unit policies with perceived ideas of risk and safety, officials get to discuss it with someone who has felt the true impact and reconsider what else they could do to compromise and be human rights respecting. Us as Lived Experience Experts being there means people don’t just see a written case study, answer the questions, and think they have a full understanding. They get to work with a nuanced, real person who has lived it."

Hanna, Lived Experience Expert

“After spending altogether multiple years as an inpatient in mental health hospitals, I never felt listened to. My complaints were often ignored because I was classified as unwell. Now, having been out for multiple years, I am finally able to share the inequities that many young people in CAMHS wards experience daily. It's hugely important to have this time for staff to sit down and listen, without distractions. Many occurrences that happen all too often on inpatient wards have the opportunity to be spoken about and it has proved extremely beneficial to have staff hear about these first hand from those who've faced these situations. Co-delivery is extremely important in order to hold staff accountable, help them realise how it feels to be on the other side and hopefully change mental health care for the better.”

BIHR Human Rights Officer

“Working with Hanna, Charli and Kirsten has been a pleasure and a privilege. Their expertise on the reality of CAMHS inpatient services, their insightful feedback on training content, and the new scenario-based activities they have written have all helped to create a bespoke, interactive and effective human rights workshop for staff. Co-delivering alongside the experts has not only been a valuable and enjoyable learning experience for me as BIHR trainer, but I can see how staff on the co-delivered workshops often seem more engaged with the content, ask more questions, and reflect more on how human rights relate to their work every day. Their contribution to this programme has been invaluable.” 

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