Participatory photography to evaluate the impact of mental healthcare services

Using participatory photography for monitoring and evaluation, PhotoVoice delivered reflective and evaluative sessions with people with experience of psychosis, and their families, to explore their perspectives on co-producing and co-delivering mental health services.


Project Location:
Dublin, Ireland

Project Managers:
Kate Watson

Kate Watson

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin

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Project description:
The EOLAS programme delivers information and learning programmes for people with experience of psychosis and their family members. Their programmes have been co-produced and co-delivered by peer facilitators in partnership with mental health professionals. The EOLAS programme brings together clinicians, service users, family and friends, and mental health support services in the design, delivery and evaluation of the programme.

PhotoVoice delivered reflective and evaluative participatory photography sessions to capture the benefits, challenges and successes experienced by EOLAS participants during the collaborative process. The materials produced aims to provide insight to local audiences, international audiences, and donors.

The issue:
Involving service users and their family members in the design and delivery of mental health services is internationally recommended and provides a multi-faceted and more tailored approach to support.

In practice, practitioners are not always confident in how to implement a co-produced mental health programme, which may limit its growth and successful implementation. This project aims to explore the challenges and successes of this form of service design, creating findings that are presented accessibly and can further promote understanding among stakeholders.

Three days of group workshops for 12 participants that explore participatory photography as a tool for evaluation. Workshops focused on reflective photography, visual dialogue activities and practical exercises to support participants and idenitify key areas to be explored and monitored in follow-up workshops.

A further four days of 1:1 sessions with each participant to conduct in-depth photo-based evaluation exercises that demonstrate attitudes and feelings towards EOLAS programmes.

Project Outputs:
12 targeted participants involved in the EOLAS programme were provided with a structured space to discuss their thoughts, ideas and experiences in relation to the programme that had partaken in. The insights gained in to these sessions will feed into EOLAS programme research, evaluation, advocacy and communications materials, including a released set of online images that will engage a wider audience in the issue.

The images and captions produced by participants will also feature in a touring exhibition in 2019.

Header image: © J.B. 2019 | PhotoVoice | Eolas Trinity College | ‘Eolas’ | Ireland

“My involvement with Eolas has required me to unpack the different parts of myself and to question at each stage, what aspect of myself am I bringing to the table? Eolas has taught me how to draw on my strengths and to acknowledge my perceived weaknesses, without shame or despair. I have learnt the meaning of empowerment, not theoretically but practically.”

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