#DisabilityWorks Employer of the Week: Recovery Education Unit

Emma Highfield and team members
Emma Highfield and team members

A specialist Sheffield unit employs people with ‘lived experience’ of mental health problems to help educate others.

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

‘Lived experience’ means people who have faced mental health challenges and have used services to help their recovery.

The Recovery Education Unit at Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust uses this unique expertise to educate people from a range of professional backgrounds such as junior doctors, nurses and occupational therapists.

Head of the unit, Emma Highfield, said: “It’s a wonderful and powerful opportunity for people who have been at the receiving end of service provision to share their experience of what that is really like.

“It’s this ‘lived experience’ which offers a genuine insight into how people who work in services may position themselves in more helpful and collaborative ways.

“The courses we offer have been shaped by these ideas and offer a unique insight into the expertise of people with lived experience.

“These ideas and practices have been harnessed by other areas in the organisation, including recruitment and HR, for the trust to work towards developing employment opportunities which celebrate and utilise some of these ideas.

“We employ eight in the Recovery Education Unit, and four have ‘lived experience’ of mental health problems.

“The team also recognise and value other experiences which we bring to our work so that people are able to share, contribute to and develop the work of the department in multiple ways. This is important – we don’t want to make roles to develop ‘professional service users’ but instead acknowledge the value of lived experience as an attribute, not a disability.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.