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    Evaluation of a national training programme to support engagement in mental health services: Learning enablers and learning gains
    INTRODUCTION: The Irish national mental health service provider commissioned a national training programme to support a patient and public involvement (PPI) initiative in mental health services. The programme evaluation afforded an opportunity to describe the learning gains and learning enablers and the factors that support PPI in mental health. AIM: We aimed to evaluate a PPI training programme across nine regional administrative units in a national mental health service. METHODS: We conducted a participant exit survey, using the Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) instrument. We analysed the survey responses using SPSS version 24 software and applied directed content analysis to the narrative comments provided in open-ended questions. RESULTS: A total of 54 participants returned the completed questionnaire, yielding a response rate of 60 per cent. The overall mean SALG score yielded was 3.97 (SD 0.66; range 1-5), indicating that participants reported very good to excellent gains in their learning from the programme. Participants who offered narrative comments indicated an overall positive experience but suggested that all stakeholders should work together to co-produce the training. DISCUSSION: All the stakeholders in a PPI training initiative to support the engagement of service users, their families and carers in mental health, should work together to achieve their desired outcome. This requires co-production in the design, delivery and evaluation of the training initiative, and co-production can impact at both individual and local levels. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: PPI training initiatives in mental health should retain a focus on understanding conflict resolution, committee effectiveness, interpersonal and facilitation skills. Ensuring a shared understanding of key concepts, such as co-production, is a necessary prerequisite at the co-commissioning, co-design, co-planning, co-delivery and co-assessment stages of programme development As is the need to avoid artificial or actual distinctions between health professionals and those who are non-professionals, such as the service users.