York St John University

York St John University say:

Converge is an award winning partnership between York St John University and Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Mental Health Trust.

For over ten years Converge has offered high quality educational opportunities and courses, based on a university campus, to adults from the local area who have lived experience of mental ill health, in order to aid recovery, positively impact wellbeing and promote social mobility through learning. Commissioned artists, university staff and university students teach over 40 courses, including art, music, dance, creative writing and a theatre company (Out of Character).

Out of Character’s work has developed into running a programme of Simulated Patients for universities and colleges training health and social care professionals. Students are able to apply their learning to interactive scenarios, engaging with actors who have lived experience of the diagnosis in question. Funding from Purey Cust Trust has enable us to expand this delivery and impact throughout 2020/21.

  • We have run 4 half day workshops for 200 Mental Health Nurse students and 40 Nursing Associate students at University of York.
  • During lockdown we were able to create 5 recorded performances, capturing the experiences of mental ill health and wider health conditions. This has enabled us to respond flexibly to workshop requests and these have been used by University of York and York St John University as resources for learning in other seminars away from our delivery.
  • In total we have provided paid employment for 11 actors with mental health problems. Two of whom are new to the project. In addition to this, the project is being co-coordinated by a member of the company with mental health problems.
  • This funding has enabled us to grow our capacity meaning we have already secured contracts for delivery over the next academic year.

Quote from Student:

“Having the opportunity to practice asking difficult questions and speaking about sensitive subjects in a safe environment was extremely valuable. It was helpful to reflect on my learning and gave me a confidence boost. I cannot thank the actors enough and would recommend this to other students”

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