Nat talks to Isaac about the importance of people being involved in the priority setting work, coproduction and his own experiences of why and how this makes a difference.

to this. So are you happy to be recorded? Yes. Do you wanna tell me your name and where you're from? Hi. My name's Nathaniel Clarkson, and I'm from Ipswich in Suffolk

Brilliant. I'm wondering why it's important for people like you to be involved in the priority setting process in the eastern region. Yeah

Um, for me, um, my journey to the present day has been quite complicated over the years. Um, I finally found out why that was when I was in my late thirties. I was diagnosed as being autistic with Asperger's and then later on with a DH

D. Um, and there was a whole reason, um, for that diagnosis was that I ended up in a mental health crisis. The final one

I'd had a number of crisis through my life that had led me to that day. And I finally found out all the answers, which really, for me was like a major eureka moment that then was like, Well, if I've had this experience, I'm sure there's many others in society who are the same. So I I do it for that reason really, to help make raise the awareness of these things for adult adults who are in society with these types of undiagnosed conditions that cause them lots of troubles with the way they focus

Uh, sorry function in life and process. What's there on a daily basis? Why are the priorities particularly important to focus on, um because there aren't enough resourcing? But there isn't enough resourcing in society for adults in terms of mental health. Um, we often see very long waiting waiting lists

Um, my, my my three year waiting list was what ultimately caused me to go into crisis. You know, I started that process just about OK, and then as that process went on longer and longer and longer, I went deeper and deeper into crisis. And, as we all know, without diagnosis, you don't get support

So you know when you're surrounded by individuals who don't really understand what it is that's going on, you don't have understanding. You often get more stigma that then compound your situation and pushes you deeper into crisis. So there's a lot of very simplistic things that I can see that can that maybe small changes that can be made in society that actually might help alleviate some of these issues

And one of those things is these horrendous waiting lists within the N for adults in terms of mental health. And I know that we spoke about before when we met around how these priorities really do make sense to people about having good lives. Um, why is co-production so important in relation to developing the local and national, um, priorities around the eastern region, particularly ADA priorities? So in each area, they'll have a set of priorities

Why is it important locally and nationally and the role co production can play in that? Yeah. Um, so for for me, co-production seems to be a very good tool to bring us together as humans. Again, I feel like there is a lot of hierarchy and a lot of, um, bureaucracy within the system as a whole

So what CO-PRODUCTION does is it enables us to come together again as humans. Um, it brings together unlikely people in into the conversation that haven't ever been there, which again will create a different outcome. Um, I feel that if we have some, uh, coordination with the national and the regional local co-production, um, processes that we can make it not not uniformed, but we can share insights, share experiences of what has worked in the process of co-production and hopefully that can then become something that's more, uh, commonly known about and more discussed, um, at at a a higher level so that when you do go to different parts of the country, it's not a a head scratching moment, but actually oh, we do get that we we recognise that and and it then hopefully speeds up the process of the Coro production that goes ahead and ultimately gets results far quicker

Brilliant. So why is social care so important to you personally? Because I'm a member of society that cannot or does not have the ability to have private um care. So I don't have that luxury

And I'm very aware that through my experiences, there are a lot of people who are very, very stuck in the system who don't maybe know how to navigate it. Uh, they may not know how to reach out and speak for themselves, and I feel compelled because I have a voice. Um, and I was deeply affected by what I went through on my journey that I want to see those positive changes in society, so others don't have to have these unnecessary struggles

Um, I also feel that that that social care is is a very important part of people's lives as they grow. So from a child going into being a teenager, going into being an adult, if there is poor mental health at the beginning, we are then sending that through that person's life for a very long time. And there's your reasons

There's your answers to why we have social and economical problems that we do, because we don't have enough in intensive support at the stage when it's needed. It's always when it gets to crisis or people are falling apart before anything is done, and that is way too late. So what would a good regional offer look like to you? So if you had a magic wand, what would good look like? Um, to investigate thoroughly the processes involved with diagnosis to thoroughly investigate the system and how it administers mental health within the NHS as a whole and look at so

It's a combination of research, a combination of, um, working with patients and and people who who who who need to use these systems and services and then look at the way that it's built and and structured. And actually, are we following the paths of what's been before? So almost falling into that groove again? Or can we actually make some positive changes and having having some proper funding and and and investment in these areas will help? Hopefully highlight exact the exact reasons why a lot of these failings are happening. So we've talked a lot about health

But actually, it's probably important to say that the the support you're talking about happens within social care and within people's homes and communities, which is so important. Do you have any, um, top tips, Any messages you wanted to share about this process and why? I know you said why co production is important. But some of your hopes, uh, experiences

Um, yeah, yeah. Um, I think from from a social care point of view, I have really, really struggled myself to be able to get to a place where I feel like I've been hurt or my needs are met. Um, and I've often had to move towards, like friends and family who actually support me, but, um, I feel like there has to be more, um, understanding of the invisible struggles we have, Um, and not so much the physical struggles

Um, and I feel that's where social care does kind of fall down a little bit. Um, and there isn't a real kind of length or breadth of understanding for the sort of, you know, neurological problems that someone might have who may look and appear to be normal if you want to use that word. But actually, the way they process the world and the way they function is far from normal, but they often don't get that that appropriate support

So it's kind of looking at that a bit more and and sorry, what? I've gone off a tangent. What was the other part of the question? Any top tips? Any advice that you would give around this piece of work and co-production or what? Yeah, yeah, OK, so So basically, top tips would be to maybe start small and with with the discussion, because sometimes it can be quite overwhelming for people to have this whole idea about co-production put onto them, especially if you're you know, the They are a user, a service user or someone who's in the system. Um, you know, you don't necessarily have the full insight of what Co-production is

So starting small helps everybody take those small steps together. And I feel that there's almost an innate sort of pressure within society. We have to steam ahead and, well, actually, no, Let's stop

Let's make sure we go go forward together and do it at a pace that we all feel works because often I find that when you're working with, you know, hierarchy based parts of the system and there's there's sort of systems in place, the desire to sort of plough ahead is is so ingrained into some individuals that they really struggle with, Well, hang on a minute. We've got two or three people here that aren't quite getting what's happening, and we need to give them more time to follow that process. And when you've got demands of, um, deadlines and budget restraints and everything having to be met at a certain time, that's where Co-production to some may seem a bit

Oh, I don't like this because it's holding me up, but actually holding you up might be the one thing that's needed to get the right outcome. So I think it actually helps to change what's there in a way that those who are used to a certain way of work and will have to change themselves but also individuals in society, realising that their voices and experiences are integral to helping to steer that change that these other individuals might not be able to see ordinarily, thank you. I just wanted to end our, um, our interview with you told me a quote the other day about people doing the same thing

Can you remind me of the quote? Yeah, So if we want a different out, it's very It's a very simple one. If we want a different outcome, we have to do things differently. And I said that at one of my panels and and the mental health teams were quite sort of taken aback by that and actually thought about it a bit deeper and and it was based around the concept of we're we're built there

There was a hospital being built and they were going to break the hospital up into different sections, but they didn't have a section for mental health, and also what I could see was that with this idea of being able to rebuild a hospital from the ground upwards with no, you know, no parameters the blank canvas that therefore they should have mental health built into every department at all stages of a patient's journey from being a child all the way to being, you know, very senior. And that was my observation was that they were almost falling back into old habits. And that was why I said that

I said, You know, if we're gonna if you're gonna do, if you want a different outcome, you have to try and do things differently. So that was it. That was in a nutshell

That's what it was. Thank you. Any final comments from you, Um, co-production week at the moment

So let's shout about it. And I think, you know, having spent the last two years going through my journey out of my experiences and actually being able to use my voice, um, constructively, I have actually seen tangible changes that have psychologically given me a sense of purpose. Now that's sometimes all of us individuals

Kind of need is to feel that sense of purpose. So when your voice has been heard and something has been changed because of it. That gives you a great sense of purpose

So that's why Co-production for me has been rewarding. And I've benefited from it and obviously meeting all of the people that I have on this journey as well. Brilliant

Thank you for your time. No problem. Thank you, Isaac


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