Supporting better mental health through heritage interactions.
MARCH Plus study on developing guidelines for involving people with mental health issues in heritage projects.
A UKRI MARCH Network Plus funded project, carried out between November 2020 and May 2021, in partnership with Historic England, saw an expert panel develop best practice guidelines for organisations offering heritage projects as interventions for people who live with mental health issues. This was achieved through a Delphi process, utilising the skills of those with lived experience of mental health issues, as well as mental health and heritage professionals, bringing together their expertise to create a practical and beneficial tool based on real-life experience.
The research study was conducted by Dr Karen Burnell (Solent University), Dr Paul Everill (University of Winchester), Dr Louise Baxter (Bournemouth University), Eva Makri (Solent University) and Dr Kathryn Watson (Co-Researcher).
The guidance covers the three main stages of project management (Project Development, Project Delivery, and Project Follow-up) and focuses on safeguarding, understanding risk, and duty of care, as well as the expertise that should be brought into the project delivery in terms of the appropriate management of both heritage/ historic environment asset and mental health.
It is hoped that these guidelines can assist all organisations, big or small, funded or not funded, in the delivery of safe projects that support the mental health of those involved, as well as enhancing and protecting the historic environment that provides the setting for these interventions.
To help the research team understand how these guidelines are being used, and to learn from their application in a range of different settings, it’s really important to have your feedback. This is a voluntary but really helpful element of the ongoing evaluation of these guidelines, so we encourage you to take the follow-up survey too.