News – User Involvement & Consultation

Improving Awareness for those using NHS Mental Health Services

Service User and Carer Involvement Coordinator, Linda, has continued her efforts to build stronger contact with local NHS mental health services. Having made connections with key staff in the Ward 3 Mental Health Unit, Westbank and Dunrowan Day Hospitals, Linda now has people whom she can liaise with directly in terms of improving service user and carer information. Linda says “By making these connections I hope to ensure that all people are provided with information about what support is available to them following discharge from hospital and also to encourage more people to become more involved in having a say on matters that affect them.”

Tag: User Involvement & Consultation
16/03/2015 at 9:32 am

Measuring Recovery Focus with SRI 2

Falkirk Mental Health Involvement Group’s key project for this year is to undertake the Scottish Recovery Indicator 2 monitoring tool with FDAMH. The tool will measure how recovery focused FDAMH is as an organisation. There are 10 indicators in total. These include measuring if personalised services are provided, is the service strengths based, does it promote social inclusion, are service users and carers involved, are staff supported and valued? After the monitoring tools are complete an action plan will be produced with recommendations where appropriate.

In order to do this a lot of preparation is required. The group has met a couple of times and have been very fortunate to have input from Louise Christie, from the Scottish Recovery Network, who was able to reassure the group that they were heading in the right direction. She has provided very useful materials to help with the monitoring process and also to raise the profile of recovery in general. A couple of group members are currently putting together a power point presentation, which will be used to inform the staff in FDAMH what to expect from the monitoring programme. As the project progresses more information will be made available.

You can find out more about SRI 2 by visiting You can also find out more about our Involvement Group by visiting ‘User Involvement’ using the link on our home page (services).

Tag: User Involvement & Consultation
16/03/2015 at 8:58 am

Service User and Carer Involvement Update

Service User activity has started to increase again following the festive period. The Involvement Group met in early January to plan out their work for the following year. Key projects for the group this year will include: Health and Social Care Integration, the Forth Valley Clinical Services Review and the Scottish Recovery Network Monitoring Tool SRI 2.

It remains very encouraging to see people taking an interest in matters that will affect mental health services. As always if anyone is interested in getting involved or you want to know more about our group please get in touch with Linda, Service User and Carer Involvement Co-ordinator at FDAMH.

Linda is particularly pleased to welcome her new service user involvement colleagues to NHS Forth Valley. Jude Clarke has taken up the post in Stirling and Rebecca Steinbach in Clackmannan. Linda is looking forward to working with both of them so the profile of service user and carer involvement can be raised locally and nationally.

Tag: User Involvement & Consultation
26/01/2015 at 3:23 pm

Challenges for people with experience of mental health problems revealed by local MWC consultation

Benefit changes, stigma and lack of knowledge amongst health professionals are some of the biggest areas of concern for people with mental health problems, as revealed by a recent Mental Welfare Commission (MWC) event at the Sensory Centre, Camelon. Mental health service users and carers across Forth Valley had the opportunity to raise issues with Margo Fyffe, Forth Valley Co-ordinator for the MWC. The MWC are an independent organisation who try to make sure that people with learning disabilities and people with mental health problems are properly treated.

Margo took the time to explain the work of the Mental Welfare Commission and then discussion turned to the issues that affecting people’s mental health. Many issues were raised but the main concern was the changes to the benefit system and the implications this was going to have on people’s monies.

Stigma was noted, with many feeling stigmatised when they went to their GP. Some people felt their GP did not seem to know enough about mental health and therefore had difficulty deciding what the right treatment should be. They also felt this lack of knowledge caused difficulties with the prescribing of medications. Quite often the person would be referred back to the psychiatrist for anything to do with medication, however some people preferred that course of action.

People experienced stigma when they went along for benefits checks/benefits reviews. Many examples were given when people felt others had been particularly disrespectful towards them. It was questioned how many of the people undertaking these reviews had knowledge of how to deal with people who have mental health problems.

It was felt early diagnosis was important and getting the right treatment at the right time was vital. Treatment should be person—centred. Some people favoured the idea of peer support, especially whilst in hospital.

Community services including Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs) and third sector organisations were felt to play a really important part in helping recovery. Much praise was given to the input from the staff in both sectors, with many service users saying they could not have recovered as well without the support they had received. Third sector organisations were judged to be really useful, particularly in providing a sense of purpose for people. They felt the structure and activity offered by participating in various activities was very useful.

Some people were of the opinion that the care and treatment of people with mental health problems has improved over the years. Particular praise was given to nursing staff who they thought did a very good job despite the increase in paperwork which they have had to contend with. It was felt things could be better if nurses were given the right systems to work with.

The MWC asked about access to services in a crisis. There was a unanimous view that it was okay if you were in the services already but extremely difficult if you were not. Some people acknowledged the Intensive Home Treatment Team was beneficial; however it was not available 24 hours per day. Weekends were also mentioned as being difficult. Some people had tried NHS 24 but found they were not particularly sympathetic to people with mental health problems.

Many people who attended the event said it had been really useful and informative and they benefited from hearing the different experiences, positive and negative that people had. It’s great to witness people in Forth Valley embracing opportunities to share their expertise and help shape the future of the services they use. FDAMH’s Service User and Carer Involvement Co-ordinator, Linda McGonigle said “I was extremely impressed, not only with the turnout of people but with the all the discussions that took place. I was impressed by the way people were able to put forward comments which were about bad experience and still maintain an air of positivity.”

Margo appreciated all the input, saying “The issues raised help me think about services in Forth Valley and help the Commission think about how to target visits better. I will discuss the wider issues with my managers for future visits.” Margo asked if she could make a return visit later in the year, which was readily agreed to by everyone who attended. It was suggested perhaps the Commission would like to visit third sector organisations in the area. We look forward to seeing Margo at some point in the very near future. Linda says “We had been involved with reviewing booklets produced by the Commission previously which was a really positive experience and they promise there will be further opportunities to do so. Hopefully now we have established contact with the commission we will have more opportunities to be involved in working with them in the future.”

Do you want to start speaking up about your own experiences of mental health services? Please contact Linda McGonigle at FDAMH to find out more about opportunities to get involved. Remember — you’re the expert!

Tag: User Involvement & Consultation
26/01/2015 at 1:51 pm

Your views on Personal Independence Payments are wanted!

Have you claimed, or tried to claim the Personal Independence Payment (PIP)? The Welfare Reform Committee is keen to hear the views of anyone who has experience of the process and are accepting people’s comments by email or by post. We have no doubt that many of you have valid points and experiences that should be shared. Grasping opportunities to share your views with the people that matter is essential if systems and services are to be improved; so please consider taking part. All of the details are available on the Scottish Parliament website .

Tag: Benefits, User Involvement & Consultation
09/01/2015 at 10:15 am

You can now find out more about User Involvement

Most of you will be aware that Linda McGonigle joined us to bring a wealth of valuable experience to the Service User and Carer Involvement Project in 2014. There has been lots of news posted about the project since then, however we’ve been missing that all-important web page about the project! This has now been put to rights and you will see a link to this project’s page under the main services menu. Linda is currently considering the best ways to keep everyone up-to-date with involvement news and opportunities so keep an eye on her page as it evolves! Send feedback to Linda.

Tag: FDAMH, User Involvement & Consultation
06/01/2015 at 10:35 am