Back in March 2016 we welcomed Minja and Zellany, 2 Creative Practitioners from the South Community Mental Health Team temporarily to the Community Support Team. The aim is to create new alliances and partnership working across the CMHT and CST, develop new ways of working to supporting colleagues with caseloads and enable clients in their recovery. They were tasked to identify resources within the locality, strengthen the relationship between NHS and Third sector services in Leeds and share resources.
A final work from Zellany at the end of her 5 weeks shadowing the CST:
“Touchstone : a wonderful bunch of inspiring workers, supporting amazing & inspiring people. A brilliant example of person-centred recovery; feeling inspired!”
As Minja and Zellany’s placement with the CST has now come to an end I will be representing the CST by shadowing the South CMHT for the next 2 months to share learning and forge links and relationships between the CST and the CMHT to better support our service users and work in more creative ways across the city.
Monday 4th July:
I spent the morning in staff team meetings, listening to feedback from assessments and formulations – providing my own input where appropriate.
It was useful to observe how CMHT assess new service users as I discovered they do not have any criteria for their referrals and they do not have a waiting list. This results in a very high demand for the service. During their meetings they discuss whether the service users are suitable for support from CMHT or if their needs could be better met in other agencies or services in Leeds.
When discussing a number of the service users assessed for support I offered ideas based on my own experience of working within the CST for other suitable and relevant services, including offering the CST as an alternative.
In the afternoon I went out on a visit with Zellany and saw a service user who felt a bit stuck and needed to revamp her treatment plan. I MAY have bagged the CST a referral in the process too!
The service user expressed ongoing low mood and suicidal ideation, however she disclosed she felt motivated to do something about it, which included improving her mood by working on getting out of the house and expressed long term goals of moving into her own home and finding employment. Zellany agreed to work with around these goals and to complete a referral to CST to continue this work. As I explained to the SU the CST remit is to use the social model of recovery to improve mood and wellbeing, which fitted with her ideals.
After the visit I sat in on a meeting Zellany had arranged with Workplace Leeds, a service provided by Leeds Mind. She discussed the viability of volunteers and peer mentors working at Aire Court. This was received with much enthusiasm by Workplace Leeds workers, as they stated they have ex service users in mind who would like to be able to give something back. Similarly in my previous job I managed a team of volunteers, which included several ex service users who were interested in giving back to the service and supporting their own recovery by helping others in similar situations. I was therefore able to offer my own experience for Zellany to see if this would be possible. Recognised issues that will impact on the decision made, include risk assessment, confidentiality and data protection and the safety or relapse and protecting ongoing recovery and ex service users.
Wednesday 6th July
Today I spent the morning at a CMHT meeting to discuss planned changes to be to the ICS next month. There are plans to merge the ICS with the CMHT service for a more holistic approach and to reduce delays with referrals, which is frustrating for both staff and service users. I plan to spend some time with the ICS to further my own understanding of the service and its remit.
I spent the afternoon with one of the service’s Occupational Therapists. We visited 4 of her service users who all presented with varying degrees of anxiety and low mood issues.
The first service user we visited was an elderly female whom the OT was underway with a piece of work called the Kawa Model. This involves mapping the service users’ life through the analogy of a river, using logs and rocks to represent challenges and barriers they have experienced; the flow and the direction of the river represents their positive life events and achievements. This has become an important tool to remind service users of the parts of their past they have enjoyed, which the OT would then attempt to re introduce to support feeling better in the present.
The next visit was with another female service user who was engaging well with support from the OT and today agreed to attend a group, never achieved previously. I was able to provide the service user with information about the group through experiences of other clients attending similar situations and finding it useful. The service user described how she was considering reducing and eventually coming off her medication. My previous role was supportive as a drugs worker and I was able to provide insight into how this could be accomplished, and reflected back unto her of how much of an achievement this decision was.
We then visited saw an elderly couple who were both experiencing significant deterioration in sight. The OT was able to complete an assessment of the home to ascertain if they could receive any aids to make things easier. Helplines and emotional support available from specialist services were also discussed.
The final visit was to a woman who seemed to be well on the road to recovery and managing her own mental health. This appeared to be the outcome of an extended amount of time with the OT, and the service user showed great insight into her own mental health – triggers and noticing when her mood changes – and demonstrated good use of her crisis plan. The OT agreed they would now refer her to an emotions group run at the CMHT by the creative practitioners Zellany and Minja, with the aim to further support her recovery.
All of this and only in the first week!
There will definitely be a lot more in the next 7 weeks, with great opportunities to learn and develop great working relationships even further!
Anna Simpson
CST Support Worker
July 2016
Continued in Partnership In Action Part 2