It was a lovely Summers Day when we did a Story Shop at Retford Post 16 College on 17th June 2015. A Story Shop is when you sit with a person or small group and talk about your own personal lived experience of mental health. The aim was to help the students understand about mental health and to combat stigma.
When I tell my story, I feel different emotions and feelings which can help heal me inside. Telling my story often makes me feel very high but in a positive way. When I look at the students faces they can looked puzzled and very often don’t know what to say or ask you. I try to be open and honest and whilst telling my story, encourage them to ask questions to help them understand my diagnosis and what I have been through.
Once I have finished talking, the students sometimes say how very brave I am to tell my story about my lived experience.
I feel that my life has changed for the better. I am looking forward to the future.
So what’s happening in June? Well first up we have our Volunteer and Involvement open day on Tuesday 2 June which will showcase volunteering opportunities and some of the projects we are running. Things like getting involved in interviewing, gathering feedback and volunteering on wards and how we support and provide training for this. We will also be showing two films we’ve recently made about The Story Shop and Challenging Your Mental Health Section, so popcorn at the ready.
The rest of the month we have our newly formed Comms Meeting, the Ideal Ward Round project written about elsewhere on this blog, volunteers going along to Prospect House and talking to patients in a Forensic setting as well as the Tuesday Meeting every week from 1pm to 3pm.
The centre is getting busier and new projects are starting up around reviewing the complaints procedure for the Trust, so plenty to keep us busy.
Volunteers are also out and about this month, staring in a film to educate student mental health nurses about what it’s like on a mental health ward and taking part in interviews for new staff in the pharmacy, and lots more.
The Communication, feedback, media group meets Mondays 10-3 at Rosewood Involvement Centre in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire.
As part of our involvement in publications we often review articles and personal stories for communicating in a public forum. Our Trust monthly magazine Positive and our annual involvement report being just two of many publications. Within an array of subjects we actively promote our achievements and raise issues around service changes and improvements. As a group, we thought blogging about the work would be a good way to share what we do to inform people more openly about the roles involvement volunteers take on.
Some of our involvement volunteers are trained to take part in staff interviews. Recently, we got together to write interview questions for a team leader post at Rampton Hospital. We ask our questions from an Involvement and Recovery viewpoint. Upcoming interviews include a post for a social services manager and a consultant in the forensics division.
The group work on several things at once including ‘You said we did’ posters created from the Involvement Centres quarterly satisfaction survey. The posters list things that are good and also things that can be improved. All comments are reviewed and actioned then displayed in the centre so everyone can see the outcomes of their involvement. Here is some feedback we received from service users and carers.
We contribute to the Trust reports and we are planning to write an article about Patient Opinion and how our involvement volunteers link their roles into gathering feedback. We have been involved in project called the Patient Feedback Challenge where involvement volunteers worked with a staff team from Newark and Sherwood. The project was about capturing and responding to feedback from service users and carers. All of us in the group feel this important work needs to be included in the Trust Annual report.
Our other work involves The Story Shop where volunteers tell a range of stories across mental and physical health on topics like bi-polar, schizophrenia, depression, substance misuse, psychosis and other physical health issues such as diabetes and stroke.
People visiting ‘the shop’ can ask someone to share their personal experience of mental or physical health face to face. It’s a great way to find out about it in a more informal and relaxed way. The Story Shop runs public events in schools, libraries, cafes, colleges and universities. Since the initiative started in 2009 more than 3000 people have shared their stories.
And that’s it for now! Look out for our next update where we will tell you more of what goes on at The Rosewood Involvement Centre.
Here at the Duncan Macmillan House Involvement Centre we’ve got an exciting month planned for March 2015!
Kicking off there’s the Patient Feedback Challenge event taking place Tuesday 3rd in Edwinstowe where we will be presenting a years worth of work on feedback in the Involvement Team. The suggestion for us to do this came from a volunteer who said ‘hang on, if we’re asking other teams to be excellent at feedback shouldn’t we be able to do this too?’ – fair enough, we did and the presentation is a whistle stop tour of all the work we’ve done.
The Ideal Ward Round project continues apace. What would an ideal ward round look like? We’re trying to find out. Volunteers are heading onto wards armed with the questionnaires we’ve developed to find out what patients, staff and carers think about their present ward round. There’ll definitely be more updates on this project over the next few months!
We’re also running a Story Shop towards the end of March, this is where our ‘Storytellers’ share their lived experience of mental health with individuals to raise awareness and challenge stigma. This month’s Story Shop is taking place at Queen’s Medical Centre Hospital and is for doctors in training. We’ve been working with the Medical school for a while now and every event is a success, so we’re looking forward to this one.
Added to that we have the usual meetings, interviews, audits and planning with volunteers that goes on week in week out at the Involvement Centre.