What is known on the subject?
Experts by experience involvement in the education of health professionals demonstrate positive attitudinal change.
Meaningful positions for Experts by Experience are limited and ad hoc, due to attitudinal and other barriers to innovation within the higher education sector.
Experiences of allies who have supported the implementation of Expert by Experience positions have not been researched. This is important knowledge that could be utilized by potential allies.
What the paper adds to existing knowledge?
Academic allies to experts by experience have a crucial role to play in identifying opportunities to establish, implement and sustain expert by experience positions.
Allies who have successfully implemented positions for experts by experience have identified influential factors including: right person, right role, collaboration and coproduction, support, and career pathways.
Understanding these factors can provide an important basis for other academics to support a widespread increase in academic roles for experts by experience in mental health education.
What are the implications for practice?
Establishing and maintaining genuine relationships with service users require significant attitudinal change on the part of mental health professionals. Involving experts by experience in mental health education provides an innovative approach to the challenging of attitudes and the enhancement of more collegial relationships with service users as colleagues in the workplace.
This paper demonstrates the importance of allyship to the establishment, implementation and sustainability of expert by experience roles, and highlights critical factors allies have utilized in support of such roles.
Nurses and other mental health professional academics have the potential to become allies and support change and innovation.
Experts by experience in academia have demonstrated more positive student attitudes towards relationships with service users. Notwithstanding this supportive evidence, academic positions for EBE have not grown substantially. Enhanced understanding of positions that have been implemented is important knowledge for others with similar aspirations.
To enrich understanding of the role of allies in identifying and pursuing opportunities to support academic positions for experts by experience.
Qualitative exploratory approach, involving In-depth interviews with allies with expertise in supporting academic positions for experts by experience.
Participants were enthusiastic about creating or taking opportunities to secure expert by experience involvement within their programs. Factors facilitating success included right person, right role, collaboration and coproduction, support and career pathways.
Significant barriers have prevented proliferation of academic roles for experts by experience. Despite barriers, allies have been successful in supporting the implementation and sustaining of positions, and gained considerable expertise, which may be invaluable to academics with similar aspirations.
Implications for practice
Realization of policy goals regarding service user involvement in mental health services requires health professionals with the will to embrace partnerships. By creating and taking opportunities, allies have developed expertise to facilitate implementation of positions more widely.