Integrating Lived Experience: How the PROMISE Project is Reshaping Mental Health Research and Psychosis Care in Malawi

This research incorporates the insights of people with psychosocial disabilities into mental health care in Malawi.


The Psychosis Recovery Orientation in Malawi by Improving Services and Engagement (PROMISE) project represents a significant step in the global movement towards more inclusive rights-based mental health research. This joint effort, involving experts from the University of Edinburgh, Kings College London, the University of Newcastle, and Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, focuses on the active involvement of individuals who have experienced psychosis.

The project aims to create a community-based framework for recognizing, referring, and managing psychosis in Malawi. By bringing the perspectives of those with lived experiences to the forefront, the PROMISE Project aims to enhance the effectiveness and sensitivity of mental health services, ensuring that human rights protections are extended to individuals with psychosocial disabilities. This approach marks a notable development in psychiatric and psychological research, potentially leading to more comprehensive, patient-centered care models.

‚ÄúAcknowledging lived experience viewpoints as valuable inputs into mental health research and initiatives are gaining considerable traction,‚ÄĚ the researchers write.
‚ÄúThis necessitates recalibrating traditional research techniques to establish genuine collaborative partnerships, prevent tokenism, and navigate power differentials. Involving persons with lived experience (PWLE) in research ensures distinctive findings compared to conventional research and has tangible implications for practice. Researchers with lived experience contribute their expertise and experience to projects, fostering a deeper understanding and raising pertinent questions. Their endeavors are driven by a desire to improve the lives of fellow PWLE.‚ÄĚ

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  1. This sounds so promising and intuitively logical! I tend to doubt it would be adopted here in the US because of the entrenched belief that people experiencing psychosis ‚Äúlack insight‚ÄĚ and that their ‚Äúsymptoms‚ÄĚ need to be quashed asap.

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    • Very few people have insight into Psychosis so unfortunately I have to agree with you. Instead of symptom reduction we need research into recovery.. Why do people recover from psychosis and what can we learn from them. Discrimination against the mentally ill is,I believe, based on fear of the unknown but this discrimination is preventing us from knowing what we do not know..

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  2. Except, the transferability of concepts pertaining to mental illness and mental health across different cultures is highly challenging, primarily due to the fundamental disparities in underlying belief systems and extreme cultural differences!

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  3. Valid point. But remember assumption of belief systems and cultures requires a mind so while belief systems and cultures will determine how mental illnesses manifest themselves the underlying processes are not so determined.

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