Social Science and Public Policy

Richard Freeman

Mental health policy: 'learning what we know'

Our work in the KNOWandPOL project described the process by which the mental health policy community in Scotland and in Europe comes to 'know what it knows'; its potential value lies in helping that community to deploy its various knowledges both more creatively and more effectively. Our theoretical research provided a way of thinking about knowledge and its mobilisation, as well as of its transition or translation between users and contexts. Our empirical work mapped the policy domains of mental health in Scotland and Europe, identifying standard knowledge practices. And our impact initiatives - including dialogue events, formal seminars and workshops - created opportunities for generating and disseminating new knowledge in new ways.

Our reports, publications and summary briefings are available elsewhere on this site.

In addition to them we have:
- issued newsletters and contributed to others, using dedicated websites to promote our work;
- made presentations at national and international policy and practice conferences: at the Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health in Edinburgh in May 2009; at the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association, August 2011; at the Universities of Queensland, Sydney, Western Sydney and the Sunshine Coast, Australia during 2011; at the Congrès des Cinq Continents, Lyon, in October 2011;
- hosted and led feedback sessions to invited audiences including the Scottish mental health policy community (October 2008), the Scottish Recovery Network (September 2010) and European policy makers and campaigners (September 2011);
- our reports have been used in training by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, as well as for Mental Health Officers and for early career researchers, civil servants and NGO staff;
- and we have developed and hosted a series of Mental Health Conversations at the University of Edinburgh, drawing participants from policy and practice as well as users and carers into reflective discussions of key topics in local, contemporary mental health.

Richard Freeman was a member of the Scottish Government's National Reference Group which informed the writing of Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland (February-August 2008); of the Board of Directors of the Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health 2009-2011, and of WHO Europe's Working Group on Indicators which met in Utrecht in November 2008 and in Edinburgh, April 2009.


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