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International Leadership Academy Fund

International Leadership Academy Fund

Transforming the lived experiences of mental ill health and recovery into the lived expertise to transform mental health services around the world.

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More Infor
  • Impact

    Turning experience into the expertise to change the world
  • Global

    Training will benefit from and impact leaders world-wide
  • Identity

    A collective narrative, recovery values and a shared vision

A fund ready for donors. The International Leadership Academy Fund aims to prepare persons with lived experiences of mental ill health and recovery to take on leadership roles within their own local, regional, and national systems of care across the globe.

Where the problem lies

The lived expertise of leaders who have experienced mental ill health and recovery is currently missing at all levels of mental health care policy and planning, to the detriment of our systems of care and they people they are designed to help.

Many of the skills new leaders will need are generic, but leadership development alone will not equip them to bring their lived expertise effectively into their work. The development of leaders with lived expertise needs also to nurture a shared identity and collective narrative, critical thinking, recovery values, community development skills, and a vision for a humane, holistic, and coercion-free system of care. Development of leaders also needs to attract and be responsive to the needs of people as diverse as the countries from which they come, with a particular emphasis on cultivating future generations.

Help is on the way

The intent of the fund is that mental health systems of the future will be led increasingly by persons who have acquired expertise through their own life experiences (as well as from other sources).

People with “lived expertise” in recovery have the requisite sense of urgency, as well as other untapped potential, to be effective in transforming mental health systems at all levels.

Phase 1 Action
Initial funding by the IIMHL and MIND Australia will be used to undertake a 9-month scoping project to develop and test this idea with recovery and current system leaders in IIMHL countries and beyond and to present a full report and proposal at the IIMHL meeting in 2015.

The scoping review will include consulting with current system and recovery community leaders on the problems they experience with system transformation and their views on solving the problems through lived expertise leadership. It also will include reviewing current leadership development opportunities for persons with lived expertise and analyzing gaps in the market.

The findings on the problems people experience and the gaps in the market will inform the development of a charter for the academy that describes the recovery values, a vision for system transformation, the rationale for the vision, and a strategy for leading change. The findings and the charter will in turn inform development of the role and functions of the academy. Once this is defined, a development plan, a sustainability plan, and an investment proposal for the academy to take to potential funders will be prepared.

Phase 2 Action
This international leadership academy will be accessible online and on-site at Yale University as well as at partner institutions. The academy may also host seminars, support research and produce theoretical papers, and collect and make available a wide variety of resources for leadership education and system transformation from around the world.

The fundamental mission of the academy will be to transform the lived experiences of mental ill health and recovery into the lived expertise needed to achieve transformation of mental health services around the world. Initial priorities set by the group include identifying and recruiting persons with lived experience from developing countries and young adults to cultivate future generations.

Academy Leadership
The idea for this fund, and the program it seeks to develop, emerged from a meeting of prominent system leaders and advocates with lived experience who came together at Yale University in May of 2014.

The meeting was sponsored by the International Institute for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL), directed by EXCELLENCE Chair Fran Silvestri. It was held to invite input from leaders with lived experience as to how the work of the IIMHL could benefit from the wisdom they and others had accrued through their own personal experiences of recovery and mental health system transformation efforts. The meeting was co-chaired by Larry Davidson, professor of psychology at Yale and member of the EXCELLENCE Board, and Anthony Stratford of MIND Australia, and included lived experience leaders from Scotland, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the U.S.

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