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Article: Co-Developing a Radical Mental Health Doula Model of Support: Reflections on Doing Feminist Participatory Action Research


Abstract:

This paper reflects on the application of Feminist Partcipatory Action Research (FPAR0 as a methodology during the development of a Radical Mental Health Doula (RMHD) framework and the accompanying training curriculum. Women and their experiences with mental health systems and services are at the centre of this project. Experts through their own experience, women co-researchers (WCRs) were instrumental in identifying problems and determining how to address gaps in what they recognized as an often cruel, fragmented and dehumanizing model of mental health care. The FPAR approach allowed us to question the roles of expert, researcher and subject. This enabled an exploration of how women’s voices and experience, which are traditionally silenced, can challenge hierarchical and patriarchal practices in mental health systems and research. Reflecting on the use of FPAR, through an analysis of data from consultation meetings with WCRs, we identified three key practices that led to the successful application of this methodology in the RMHD project. This paper highlights the voices of women co-researchers to examine 1. Relationship building, 2. Inquiry with women coresearchers and respect for lived experience, and 3. Holding space to share vulnerability and emotion in the FPAR process.


Co-Developing a Radical Mental Health Doula Model of Support
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