News – User Involvement & Consultation

FDAMH’s Service-User Led Evaluation

In a unique project FDAMH has been evaluated by people who use its services! We’re delighted to report that the findings have been extremely positive and resulted in an action plan to help us continue and develop good practice.

When it was suggested that the Scottish Recovery Indicator 2 (SRI 2) be employed to assess FDAMH’s recovery-focus, FDAMH was really keen to put the voice of service-users right to the fore. Members of the Falkirk Mental Health Involvement Group were invited to take on the project, supported by Linda McGonigle, FDAMH’s Service User Involvement Coordinator. This was an excellent opportunity for people who use the service to be actively involved in a very meaningful piece of work. Whilst the tool has been used by teams throughout Scotland, the project undertaken in FDAMH was unique as it was the first time people using a service have been actively involved in its evaluation.

The SRI 2 evaluation tool has been developed by the Scottish Recovery Network (SRN). It helps organisations assess how recovery-focused their practices are. ‘Recovery’ in this sense is defined by SRN as “being able to live a good life, as defined by the person, with or without symptoms”. The tool gives a set of ten indicators which can be applied to each aspect of an organisation and its work.

The evaluation helps services reflect on how they support recovery and it stimulates creative ideas for how they might do so in the future. It identifies existing strengths and allows good practice by staff to be recognised and acknowledged. The tool can be applied to NHS services, Third Sector Organisations and Dementia Services.

The group looked at assessments/care plans, service information leaflets, FDAMH’s website and newsletters. They also undertook numerous interviews and focus groups with staff, carers and people who use FDAMH’s services.

Once all the information was collated a presentation to the staff group was put together which highlighted the good practice that had been commented on and areas for improvement that were noted.

The outcome of the work is an action plan which includes:
1. Challenging the term ‘Recovery’. It was recognised whilst undertaking the evaluation the term recovery can cause confusion amongst many people affected by mental health issues. For example people thought recovery meant “being cured”, “getting better” or “never having mental health issues again”. The staff group have decided they want to come up with language that is more readily understood by individuals at any time in their journey.
2. Reviewing information leaflets. The evaluation found leaflets were of a good standard but could be improved upon by using more recovery-focused language.
3. Including information about ‘Recovery’ in the staff induction programme.
4. Reviewing Service User Involvement. This exercise proved to be an invaluable experience for all of those involved in it. It called upon the strengths and skills of individuals by asking them to carry out presentations, interviewing people and helping collate the information gathered. Additionally it produced meaningful work which made people feel valued and boosted their confidence. It was suggested the group may want to be involved in more projects like this.

We recognise the importance of taking forward the actions identified and this will happen over the next few months.

Next month Linda and one of the group members will have the opportunity to present their work at a Scottish Recovery Network conference in Edinburgh which will be celebrating four years of SRI 2 and the completion of 400 evaluations. Everyone is looking forward to this opportunity, more so because the FDAMH project will be actively highlighted because of its unique service-user led approach.

The Scottish Recovery Network, creator of SRI 2, has been in existence since 2004. The network works for greater awareness and expectation of mental health recovery across Scotland. We would like to thank SRN for their support and interest in our SRI 2 project. You can find out more about Recovery by visiting SRN’s website:

Tag: FDAMH, User Involvement & Consultation
04/03/2016 at 10:17 am

Does Advocacy matter to you – make sure you have your say

If you have views on advocacy services, whatever your role, please take part in the current consultation on the future of advocacy in Forth Valley. The current contract for advocacy services across Forth Valley will be coming to an end in 2016. Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling Councils and NHS Forth Valley are working together to assess the current and future requirements for advocacy services in Forth Valley.

Please note that the deadline for comments is Monday 8th February, so you don’t have long!
You can comment via the online survey at
Or by sending comments directly by email to

Tag: User Involvement & Consultation
02/02/2016 at 4:37 pm

Launch of Quarriers Participation Toolkit

Our User Involvement Coordinator, Linda, attended the launch of the Quarrier’s new iFive participation toolkit.

It is well understood that services work best when the people who use them are included and engaged at every stage of the decision making process. However, it is not always clear or easy to recognise what full inclusion is. The Quarriers new iFive toolkit empowers individuals to identify and implement opportunities for positive change. It can help organisations to measure and evidence participation and inclusion practices. Whilst Quarriers use the toolkit with individual service users, the principles of it can be applied to involvement in general.

iFive focuses on five sections: Information, Consultation, Involvement, Participation and Inclusion.Linda found the workshops very informative and will be using the information to help build up her own ‘Toolbox for Involvement’.

Tag: User Involvement & Consultation
14/12/2015 at 4:33 pm

Consultation on Health and Social Care Integration

Please take the opportunity to have your say on Integration in Falkirk.

Integration of health and social care is the Scottish Government’s programme of reform to improve services for people who use adult health and social care services. It aims to ensure that health and social care provision across Scotland is more joined-up and seamless, especially for people with long term conditions and disabilities.

Your thoughts and views are wanted on the Draft Strategic Plan which sets out how services will be delivered across the Falkirk area over the next three years.

This is your opportunity to influence the way local health and social care services are developed and delivered. We at FDAMH are keen to encourage you to take part and get your views across.

You can find out more and access the survey from Falkirk Council’s website. You may also email comments to or phone 01324 504021.

Tag: Local News, User Involvement & Consultation
02/12/2015 at 6:55 pm

Dignity in Mental Health

Dignity at Work
Dignity in mental health is the theme for World Mental Health Day 2015, taking place on Saturday 10th October. Many attempts have been made to identify what dignity actually means. However a consensus has never been reached as in reality it means something different to each person. What is important to understand is that by taking away someone’s dignity you undermine what can often already be a fragile sense of self-worth and your actions or simple thoughtlessness could cause a further decline in someone’s wellbeing.

Falkirk Mental Health Involvement Group put together some thoughts on what dignity means to them. Bear these in mind the next time you come across someone who is experiencing poor mental health!

For the group, a key theme to dignity is being treated equally and not being judged: “I am a human being like any other. Have me on an equal footing.”; “Treat me as an equal! And with mutual respect”; “Being free to be yourself—-Don’t judge me”.

The group had very varied experiences of dignity in employment. Sadly, for some, the workplace had been a very negative experience:
“In a previous place of employment a colleague raised the issue it was unfair of management to expect staff to treat me as an equal. This did not just take my dignity away, it made me feel inferior and belittled.”
“In the organisation where I once worked some people did not like being referred to as my colleague, because I had mental health issues.”
“I was refused membership of a group because of my history of mental health issues. I often wondered what perceptions some people have!”

But thankfully others had experienced how it should be in more enlightened workplaces:
“In my last employment I was very much supported when I become unwell. I was treated as an individual. Working arrangements were put in place to accommodate my needs. I was able to maintain my dignity throughout this time. This is how it should be!”
“My employer was very supportive. When I was too ill to travel they came to see me. Arrangements were put in place so I could keep in contact by e-mail. I remember being eternally grateful at the time!”

For Anne her route to dignity was through meaningful work:
“When a doctor tells you that you have a mental illness, it takes you a few days to come to terms with this information and you slip slowly into your shell. Facing people is very difficult — you just want to keep to yourself, afraid to tell anyone you have a mental illness, and your dignity has eroded so much that you feel as if you are totally alone, even in a room full of people. At Caledonia Clubhouse, I was given a T.E.P. which was a cleaning job, not really much of a job you may say but it was enough to get me back into work and the pride in my achievements this gave me. Going home that first night after work the thought came to me that I’m going home on the bus with other people going home from their work and it certainly made me feel good. As time passed and I got more jobs the better I felt and I must say my dignity started to come back because I was fighting my mental illness and it became easier all the time to face people.”

It might be surprising to learn that even family members do not always understand and that their actions, sometimes unthinking, can undermine people’s dignity:
“When I was ill and in hospital my brother refused to come and see me. He was afraid of the stigma and did not want anyone to know.”
“Although I am better now there are still times when I am not allowed to baby sit.”

So what can you do to help people preserve their dignity? Listen to the pleas of our group members and treat people with respect and as individuals. Improve your own understanding of mental health: organisations like FDAMH provide lots of opportunities for learning for individuals and workplaces and our Carers Education Course helps friends and family members develop understanding as well as strategies for coping and moving forwards. And finally, take on board these final thoughts from our group:
“Having mental health issues does not make me a bad person.”
“People are all different so it can only be expected we will suffer from different mental illnesses.”
“Recognise each individual has value and something to offer.”
“If you want to know what a person with mental health issues looks like, look in the mirror! Mental illness affects 1in 4 people so it could be you tomorrow. Mental illness does not discriminate so why should we be discriminated against!”
“We have the right to keep our dignity!”

If you would like to know more about the Falkirk Involvement Group or would be interested in being part of it please contact Linda on 01324 671600 or email Linda. To find out more about training to help you or your workplace please visit our Training Academy, or if you’re caring for a loved one take a look at Family Support.

Tag: Family/Carers Support, FDAMH, Mental Health, Training, User Involvement & Consultation
07/10/2015 at 10:46 am

Feedback from Scottish Patient Safety Programme Regional Learning Session

Our Service User and Carer Involvement Worker has been learning all about the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) for Mental Health at a recent information session in Edinburgh. The Programme aims to systematically reduce harm experienced by people receiving care from mental health services and is centred around five work-streams:
1. Communications at Transitions of Care
2. Safer Medication Management
3. Risk Assessment and Safety Planning
4. Restraint and Seclusion
5. Leadership and Culture (which is contained within other streams).

Linda attended individual workshops on Service User, Carer, Family and Staff Involvement and Human Factors. The discussion on involvement was of particular interest. It focussed primarily on how to keep people safe on admission to hospital, throughout their stay and subsequently on discharge. People were very interested to hear from Linda about the document put together by the Falkirk Involvement Group, which focussed on how people wanted to be treated and kept safe whilst in the care of Ward 3 Mental Health Unit NHS Forth Valley.

Discussion revealed a variety of approaches from different Health Boards. For example one Board has stopped the routine prescription of “as required” medications. This has resulted not only in patients not being prescribed medication they do not need but also a huge financial gain. On the whole NHS staff seemed very keen to engage in the whole SPSP process.

Throughout the workshops, discussion groups and networking opportunities conversation often turned to turn what services did not offer or were having difficulty putting in to practice. Linda was able on more on one occasion to describe how FDAMH, as a third sector organisation, was able to offer these things and she says it made her realise just how much the organisation does do and how forward thinking FDAMH is! She says “I was very proud to be there ‘flying our flag’”.

Tag: FDAMH, User Involvement & Consultation
06/10/2015 at 2:32 pm