Enablement FAQs

This section includes a number of frequently asked questions about Enablement and about our Enablement Partnership.

What is Enablement? 

Enablement is a strengths-based model of care, built around the principles of person-centred, recovery-based practice and recovery focused approach. Our approach is based on the following four principles:

  • Always aiming to do with people rather than to or for people,
  • Focusing on what people can do rather than what they cannot do,
  • Supporting people to develop skills to help themselves stay well, and
  • Working with the whole person and not just their diagnosis. 

Why is the Trust doing this?

The Trust is striving towards a more 'enabled' way of thinking and working because: 

  • It will allow for better and more sustainable outcomes for people using our services.
  • It is an opportunity to empower and develop our workforce.
  • It will allow us to improve the relationship between staff and people using our services.
  • It will help us to harness the insights of people using our services to make improvements for the future.
  • It is based on a growing body of evidence.

How does it fit with recovery?

Enablement is derived from the same principles as recovery. Our specific approach to Enablement perhaps goes further. As well as giving people power over their own care and their own recovery journey, we also want to directly involve them in how services are designed, delivered and evaluated, and to put lived experience at the centre of decision making. 

Is it evidence based?

Enablement is an umbrella term for a number of evidence-based approaches which focus on recovery and empowerment. Recovery focus in mental health has existed as a school of thought around in the world for a number of years, especially in the last decade. It is also based on strength based approach. It is about moving away from an emphasis on symptoms and difficulties, and towards strengths. It is about orienting the goal towards living a well-managed life that satisfies the individual. A strength-based and person-centred approach promotes people to co-production and provides an opportunity to move away from a model where people who use services are recipients of the service, but rather putting people at the centre of decision-making.   

What is lived experience?

‘Lived experience’, in the context of Enablement, refers to in individual who has experience of mental health difficulties. For Peer Workers, this is a central requirement of their role. However, lived experience of all staff is something to be viewed as an asset, as it can provide invaluable insight into the experience of those using the service, and help provide insights for improvement. 

What is a Peer Worker?

A Peer Worker is a member of staff who has lived experience of mental health difficulties, and is specifically employed to make use of this experience in their work, to model recovery, inspire hope and support people using services towards their own recovery. They are also employed for their excellent interpersonal skills and strong insight into their own mental health issues, as well as their ability to articulate their own recovery. 

Peer Workers are employed in a range of mental health care settings as part of the multidisciplinary team. They can do a range of things with people, such as running activity groups, taking people out in the community, supporting people emotionally or with practical tasks such as attending appointments. At BEH, we have Peer Workers in a range of settings including in A&E. 

What is the difference between Experts by Experience and Peer Workers?

An Expert by Experience (or EBE for short) is someone who uses his or her current experience of mental health to support the work of the Trust, but is not employed as a Peer. A Peer Worker also has lived experience of mental health, but to able to fulfil their role and model recovery, they must have at least a few years of ‘recovery’ behind them. 

EBEs might help the Trust by being involved in decisions around the design or delivery of services, offer feedback or sit on boards or panels. This will usually be a short or fixed-term piece of work. They are either paid or unpaid volunteers and are not employees of the Trust. EBEs are essential to effective co-production. They are unlikely to be working directly with people using the service, and not subject to the same recruitment criteria as Peers. 

Why are Peer Work and lived experience so central to Enablement?

Lived experience is central to the Enablement approach because it provides another perspective on mental health which can complement and challenge clinical experience. Staff with lived experience can genuinely relate to what people are going through, and are uniquely placed to inspire hope for recovery, both for people and other clinicians who work with them. Peer Workers are especially important, as their role is specialised for recovery based practice, and they are trained in harnessing their lived experience to support others. The Peer Worker role is built around the 4 principles of Enablement as defined above. 

What is co-production, and why are we doing it?

Co-production is about involving people using a service in its design, delivery and evaluation. A co-production group will include staff, people who use the service, their families and friends and management, and everyone’s input will be valued with equal weighting. It is not the same as simply consulting people about decisions. It is about empowering people to shape their own services. An increasing body of evidence links co-production to both better outcomes for those who get involved in the projects, and better outcomes for the service. 

Is it working?

Yes! Please see our Year 1 annual report, or follow #EnablementPartnership on twitter for regular updates.