I have been hearing a lot about the new Creative Practitioners at Aire Court lately; I harangued Zellany to write a blog post about the new role and about a drop in session on the 22nd of June……..
I’ve not written a blog piece before, so I am hoping you will bear with me and not get too bored before the end.
It was about writing a piece to explain my new role and who I am! I have recently gained employment with LYPFT in February this year as a Creative Practitioner. There are two of us based with the South CMHT in Leeds….so we are a rare breed indeed!
Before I get started! I would like to draw your attention a FREE drop-in wellbeing event that is taken place on the 22nd June at BITMO Gate, Belle Isle. It runs from 10am until 12.30pm.
The event is open to the community as a whole and professionals alike. The idea is to try to create independence and empower users of secondary services to link up with community based organisations. This is as part of a sustainable discharge and recovery from Community Mental Health Team. It will be a drop-in, so can come and go as people wish. The idea is to promote positive mental wellbeing and hopefully help reduce stigma which may exist in the locality. It will also support in promoting social inclusion, enabling people to take an active role in maintaining their mental health and general wellbeing. A map can be found here.
The wellbeing event is open to the whole community in the South of the City. The event is being organised by my colleague, Minja and me. The organisations who have so far agreed to participate are:
- Leeds Involving People
- Leeds Mind and Peer Support
- Health for All
- Connect for Health
- BITMO Gate
- Health living project.
- Expert Patient Programme.
- Leeds survivor Led Crisis Service
It will also be an opportunity for you to meet Minja and me!
I terms of my background, I have worked as statutory social worker for the past 6 years based within a Community Mental Health Team in Bradford. I can honestly say that I have occasionally felt like a square peg trying to fit in to a round hole. This has at times created friction and tension between my own value base with the needs and agenda of the service I had worked for.
My values have always been about putting the client/service user at the centre of care planning, in terms of collaborative working to advocate in obtaining an individualised bespoke support package. I have my feet firmly planted in the social model rather than the medical model of mental health; our mental health is shaped by our experiences and our environments.
Austere times are making it much harder for services to meet people’s needs. There are reduced budgets and smaller teams of people, this has forced the whole system to look at its processes and having to work leaner and smarter. Organisations have to justify their service delivery through outcome measures. I feel that these measures do not at times reflect the outcomes users of services visualise for themselves.
Recovery is an individual journey with personal and individual goals. These goals come from our own set of values and experiences. So when I saw the role of Creative Practitioners advertised, I spoke with my now two enthusiastic Managers and I was sold by their visualisation and their recovery oriented and social model views with regards to mental health and wellbeing; it fits with my own values! The role is something that my colleague and I can develop and mould overtime. Hopefully we will have a positive impact on service delivery and new ways of working……what an opportunity!
In essence the Creative Practitioners role is about supporting people to move on from secondary mental health services in terms of a sustainable discharge. We are working in a creative and innovative manner, developing relationships with Care Coordinators and their clients. We have also been building links in with the voluntary sector services. I feel it is about looking at ways of building on a person’s resilience and strengths, to take control of their own recovery through empowerment.
Within a short space of time, my colleague and I have developed links with agencies and organisations across Leeds. These agencies are providing various levels of community support and activities that promote health and wellbeing. We have sought views from users of services through Leeds Involving People. We have attended local events that support the process of shaping how mental health care and wellbeing is delivered within the City. The landscape is being transformed and the service user movement’s voice certainly has a place and a big impact on how things will change. Leeds has a variety of ways of involving people to participate and get their voice heard such as through Leeds Involving People, Service User Network, Leeds Healthwatch and Patient Advice Liaise Service as well as through various voluntary sector services e.g. Mind’s Peers Support and Touchstone.
We Creative Practitioners have developed group work to facilitate a step down approach from services. It is hoped that those attending will recognise their strengths and build on their resilience. They will be supported to develop a wellbeing and crisis plan. This is hoped it will empower those being discharged to become independent of secondary services and feel able to take control of their recovery; mental health services are only part of that journey to recovery.
What I have found so far with regard to working for LYPFT, is that the team is supportive, progressive and forward thinking. The CMHT management team have been willing to listen to and run with ideas; this is certainly not in a maverick way. Despite such austere times, I feel it is an exciting moment to be involved in mental health services. I feel there is a decrease in the divide; users of services are able to get involved and have their say in shaping how services will be delivered, this is the spirit of true co-production. I am certainly feeling hopeful!