the big conversation...

It is clear that Northern Ireland needs to take a new, strategic and joined-up approach to mental health and addiction services. This begs two important questions: What should a new approach should look like? What are the important elements of that new strategy or approach?

In order to answer these questions, we conducted a comprehensive internal consultation in 2017. Over 270 people, across Inspire, took part in an exercise we called The Big Conversation.

Through the Big Conversation we asked people lived experience of mental health and/or addictions and the staff who support them what mental health services in Northern Ireland should look like and how they should operate. The 350 ideas and suggestions generated from 25 conversation session have been honed into the key themes and recommendations.

We engaged with Mental Health and Addiction service users, volunteers and staff members to answer the fundamental question -

“What do you wish the Minister for Health understood about your life?”  

Lisa McElherron, Director of Insight and Engagement, visited service users, volunteers and staff to facilitate The Big Conversation sessions. The responses were collated into a report which forms the basis of Inspire's lobbying, campaigning and research agenda. The Big Conversation has set the tone for how Inspire talks to decision-makers by generating an organisation-wide range of  ideas, opinions and recommendations from those with lived experience. 


The Big Conversation has made sure that the priorities of service-users, volunteers and staff are at the centre of everything Inspire does.

You can read The Big Conversation Report below

The Big Conversation - A new approach to mental health service delivery and support

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