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Local people at the heart of change

A series of Recovery Conversation Cafés have given people their say on the new Mental Health and Learning Disability Strategy with NHS Highland.

Meaningful involvement

A Recovery Conversation Café moves away from the more formal traditional styles of engagement. It provides a more informal relational way of working together to find out what really matters to people. Over the summer Scottish Recovery Network and NHS Highland brought together a range of community led-mental health organisations. We wanted to make sure we were involving local people meaningfully in this new Strategy’s development.

In partnership with Lochaber Hope, HUG Action for Mental Health and Caithness Cares we reached out to communities to join us for a cuppa and cake! From community café’s and art galleries to online spaces we connected in a range of informal spaces and places across the Highlands. Together we explored people’s priorities to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Supporting people to see themselves as part of the solution. Recovery Conversation Café participants said:

I am feeling that I may be able to use all my valuable experiences to empower others to give them hope.

Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of a great conversation. Together we can effect positive change.

Meaningful Relationships

The cafés provided the opportunity to put the experiences and views of people with lived experience front and centre. They started what we aim to be an ongoing dialogue about support and services in the area.

We wanted to take a participatory approach to developing the strategy. To ensure people were involved from the beginning. It was one of the reasons why it was so important to work with partners in designing our engagement approach. To help this to be a meaningful process.

Scottish Recovery Network’s Recovery Conversation Café approach has helped us to understand what makes engagement meaningful for people with lived experience. How to open up a space for ongoing dialogue as we continue through the strategy development towards shaping our services in the future.

Dr Tara French. Head of Strategy and Transformation. Highland Health and Social Care Partnership

Scottish Recovery Network are hugely grateful to all the people who generously gave of their time and energy by taking part, and indeed our network partners crucial to supporting this engagement to be meaningful.

Calling all Health and Social Care Partnerships

Are you a Health and Social Care Partnership who want to host your own Recovery Conversation Cafés as part of the development of a new local NHS Mental Health Strategy?

Whether online or face-to-face the Run your own Recovery Conversation Café toolkit can be adapted to suit your needs. It helps you to engage with people in a meaningful way to find out what is important to them.

Or for more information on this project or the Recovery Conversation Café approach contact John Beaton, Scottish Recovery Network on 07895 040 288 or