Involvement Project is Bursting with Activity!

Our new Service User and Carer Involvement Co-ordinator, Linda McGonigle, wants to make sure YOUR views on mental health services help to shape future and existing services. No one is better placed to have a view on the services than the people receiving them, their families and friends.

“Now there are not enough hours in the day for me!!” is Linda’ cry in the face of an exciting burst of growth in involvement since she has come in to post. Linda has been busily continuing to develop networks throughout the Falkirk area and she has started liaising with organisations out with Falkirk e.g. VOX. Linda says “I am slowly shaping what I think the Service User Group in Falkirk will look like. I am trying to look at different ways of having involvement happen. I have recently recruited Babs as my assistant and she will be very active in approaching service users to sign up to getting information about mental health from me. As the group develops I will be looking for opportunities for others to assist the project”

Within NHS Forth Valley the service user and carer groups from Falkirk, Stirling and Clacks have started meeting together again. This group is known as the Forth Valley User and Carer Involvement Forum (FVUCIF). With this fresh start the group has reviewed it’s role and remit and terms of reference. Next on the agenda will be recruiting new members – so get in touch if you’re interested in taking part!

Not content with simply getting to grips with local forums, Linda has already been busy ensuring that the voices of services users are being heard! As well as taking part in the recent see me event in Stirling (see separate article) Linda supported people to take part in a Review of Mental Health Services which took place in Alloa in June. Connected with the original Mental Health Strategy, the review allowed people to reflect on service changes over the past 10 years and put forward their thoughts on what was positive and not so positive about the service. This feedback will contribute to work being undertaken nationally by the Mental Health Foundation. We’ll let you know when a copy of the report is available.

Linda also enjoyed taking up an invitation to the annual Carers BBQ at FDAMH. Linda was delighted to be made so welcome and enjoyed speaking to so many different people. Carers voices are very important and Linda’s mission, to get more carers signed up to receiving information from her, was very successful!

UNITY, the University of Stirling Service Users and Carers Group, are very keen on having service user involvement in the training of social workers and actively encourage lots of different services to get involved with them. Linda made it along to her first UNITY meeting in June. From a mental health point of view it was very positive to see they want to continue to use a training DVD produced a few years ago, involving FDAMH. At this moment in time permission is being sought from the individuals involved for its continued use.

Linda also met with Kay Wood from Falkirk Council who has the responsibility of co-ordinating and developing services for the over 50s within Falkirk. Meetings for the Forum for Over 50s (new name to be announced soon!) are Monday 18th August – 1.30 – 3.30 at Dawson Centre, Langlees Monday 25th August – 10.30 – 12.30 – Municipal Chambers, Grangemouth Monday 1st Sept – 10.30 – 12.30 – Bonnybridge Community Centre Monday 22nd Sept – 1.30 – 3.30 – Braes venue to be confirmed. Please let Linda know if you’d like to attend.

Service users and a carer were involved in the interviews for a Senior Social Worker in the Falkirk Integrated Community Mental Health Team. This is very positive and encouraging especially when thinking about “partnership working” and the people involved felt privileged to be asked. Jackie, who participated, said “I was able to ask questions to four possible candidates. I enjoyed meeting all the different people on the day. I felt confident enough to be able to make a fair judgement about the person not just the job they were applying for. I was happy to give my comments to the other panel and felt I had contributed and helped in some way. Would do it again if asked!”. Eleanor commented “I thoroughly enjoyed this whole experience and felt honoured to be asked to participate. I never thought I would have the confidence to do something like this so really glad I did. I felt very supported throughout.”

A group of people were consulted for the current Review of Integrated Mental Health Teams. Views were taken on people’s responses to a questionnaire which asked for opinions about the service they had received from the ICMHT. People were also able to make suggestions about what they thought would make the service better in the future. If you would like to see the final response please contact FDAMH.

And finally, FDAMH was represented at a recent hustings event organised by SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in Glasgow, where our question sparked a long and interesting debate!

If you would like to keep up-to-date with information from the Service User and Carer Involvement Project or think you might be interested in taking a more active role in having your say then please get in touch with Linda at FDAMH – she’s very much looking forward to hearing from you!

18/08/2014 at 2:27 pm