This novel co-produced course pairs people with lived experience of significant mental health and substance illness challenges with senior psychiatry residents at the University of Toronto. The term advisor is used to denote the expertise of the service-user, to indicate that the teaching and learning content is to be co-created, and to signify a relationship that can be both personal and professional. Residents meet monthly with their service-user advisors for 6 months.
The goal of the course is to give residents an opportunity to learn about the lived experience of recovery in a context that is free from the constraints imposed by the doctor-patient relationship. Advisors work to create a space for candid dialogue and critical reflection on professional practice and culture.
Residents learn to:
- Recognize and respect the diversity of recovery journeys
- Describe the impact of natural and peer support, advocacy, employment, housing, prejudice, discrimination, poverty and social exclusion on recovery
- Critically examine the extent to which current professional practice and culture support and/or hinder key elements of recovery, including hope, dignity, empowerment, choice and positive risk-taking