From project to national organization
KBT formed in 2006 as part of a national plan for psychiatry, in which the goal was to promote user involvement and peer support. The center was established based on work and Collaboration by central user representatives from the following service user organisations: Mental Health Norway, LPP, and Voksne for barn.
Our goal was to ensure that user experiences were properly integrated into the work of developing services and institutions. Our basis for this was the method User Interviews User (UIU) in Central Norway. UIU had at this point already existed for several years, and remains integral to KBT’s work to this day.
User Interviews User
UIU was developed during a pilot project financed by the Ministry of Health and Care Services, which lasted from 1997 to 2000. The idea came as a result of user representatives reporting that they felt they were not being taken seriously. During the project, a total of 165 meetings were held within 7 different services. 500 users took part in the process.
The main theme for the evaluations are the users’ experiences with hospitals, DPS and municipal services for drug rehabilitation and mental health, as well as rheumatology, and interventional services. KBT’s efforts to strengthen the user perspective have led to ties being formed with user organizations, municipalities, hospitals, and research- and educational institutions across Norway. We continue to promote peer support by conducting evaluations and cooperate with the aforementioned institutions.
Establishing a foundation
While previously tied under Mental Health Norway, KBT was in 2012 registered with its own organisation number as a nonprofit foundation. We moved into our very own premises, providing us with more agency, and freedom to explore new opportunities.
Our work with UIU has shown us that there is great value in documenting the users’ experiences and perspectives. Another method isVerktøykasse for brukermedvirkning [Toolbox for user involvement] in which participants are strengthened through knowledge, confidence, and awareness of their personal resources, options, rights, and duties. Verktøykasse for brukermedvirkning is part of our collaboration with Sagatun brukerstyrte senter.
A milestone from 2014 are dialogue meetings with various municipalities, where the services meet with its users to discuss how peer support works in the region. The effort has proven quite successful, and the feedback highlights KBT’s ability in directing the municipalities’ focus towards user involvement and innovation. The initiative is received very positively.
In later years, we have made a commitment to peer support, which began in PART- and ACT-teams in Nidaros- and Tiller DPS. The work has proven fruitful in communicating hope and coping mechanisms. In 2016, we continued this work with the project Erfaringskonsulenter i kommunalt psykisk helse- og rusarbeid, which aimed at developing peer support workers’ role in the municipal health sector. Today KBTs work consists of UIU-projects, courses, co-research, lectures, talks and more.