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Reflections on developing a blended learning recovery programme for family carers of people who have mental ill-health

Joanna Fox (School of Education and Social Work, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)
Anne-Marie Smith (Department of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK)
Lizzie Kenedler (CAMEO, Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK)
George Evangelinos (Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 16 August 2018

Issue publication date: 30 August 2018




The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the development of a recovery-oriented training programme for mental health care-givers. It also considers the effectiveness of using participatory research methods that promote involvement of people with diverse expertise to co-produce this programme. It presents a rationale for developing recovery-oriented training, which employs blended learning, comprising face-to-face and e-learning.


A small advisory group consisting of professionals, experts-by-experience (service users) and -by-caring (care-givers) and an academic developed a blended learning programme about the recovery approach for mental health carer-givers. This paper details the participatory approach supported by an action research cycle that contributed to the design of the programme, and the specific impact of experiential knowledge on its development.


Reflections on the advisory group process are described that led to the co-production of the course. This leads to consideration of the value of using this research approach to develop a carer-focused programme. The content of the recovery-oriented training programme is presented which adopts blended learning. This leads to discussion of potential of this format to improve carers’ access to training.


It is proposed that this recovery-oriented course, building on a previous study, has the potential to positively influence outcomes for the training programme participants (the care-givers) and the person they support. It is suggested that blended learning may in part overcome some of the barriers carers experience to accessing and participating in traditional interventions. Reflections on the process of co-production underline the value of participatory research in designing this recovery-oriented course for carers.



Internal funding was provided by Anglia Ruskin University.


Fox, J., Smith, A.-M., Kenedler, L. and Evangelinos, G. (2018), "Reflections on developing a blended learning recovery programme for family carers of people who have mental ill-health", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 283-294.



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