Continued from Partnership In Action Part 2
An overview of my time seems a great way to start off, which included supported the team during MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) meetings every Monday morning.
I also attended Gateway Assessments, determining suitability for CMHT Care Coordination. As the team becomes increasingly busy more careful consideration is being taken when accepting new service users, and considering if they are more suitable for third sector organisations. Calling on my knowledge of these services I was able to offer suggestions where suitable.
I supported staff to attend home visits for service users who required 2 staff present for a variety of reasons, including new assessments, where I was able to speak with service users about other sources of support, from my third sector perspective.
Encouraging and supporting service users and staff to access other services, such as Connect for Health or the Community Support Team, when considering discharge also became part of my remit, encouraging their support to continue whilst promoting recovery and independence.
During my time at the CMHT I spent some time with the Creative Practitioners, Zellany and Minjia, who had previously shadowed the Community Support Team earlier this year. The creative practitioner role was created to develop an alternative way of working with service users, more reflective of the model the CST work to, improving mental health and wellbeing by engaging service users in social activity and community engagement.
Whilst I was shadowing I was asked by the CMHT Manager if I would consider filling the newly vacant Creative Practitioner role on a 12 month secondment from Touchstone. This would place me in a valuable position to further strengthen the growing links between the services, and due to my experience shadowing the CMHT I would be in a unique position to hit the ground running and continue the important work already started and developed by Minja and Zellany, a position I gratefully accepted!
I have been in the role for 3 weeks now and have spent the time reflecting on new ways to provide ongoing support for service users discharged from the CMHT. The ultimate goal is for the service users to manage their recovery away from services and maintain their mental health independently.
Within the CMHT we started looking at local communities to observe support already available and discovered existing peer led drop in groups, offering vital weekly care and support to a many not accessing support elsewhere.
When we approached the groups to discover more and offer our support we were warmly welcomed and introduced a mutually beneficial plan. We will offer our time to the groups on a monthly basis, providing extra support, advice and guidance around anything that they require and in return we will advertise and promote the groups to staff and service users upon discharge, to increase the numbers and help to develop the groups to continue run for years to come.
The benefits for service users are obvious; they receive continued regular support and help while being encouraged to use their own skills and resilience to maintain their own mental health independently from services.
There are other projects in the pipeline for the Creative Practitioner role, and one of the main advantages of the secondment is that every intervention developed will be open to Touchstone service users to access too.
Currently I am feeding back regularly to the CST meetings and receiving referrals from staff for their service users to access the groups and drop in services we develop, an ongoing but productive task, with benefits from all sides and, most importantly, increased support for services users to break free of the cycle of services and maintain their own health and wellbeing independently.
A very positive close to a very co-productive endeavour.
By Anna Simpson
Community Support Team Worker