As part of our Community Mental Health Transformation Programme, staff across the Partnership are looking at new ways of providing services to the communities we serve, shaping those services to suit the varying needs of an increasingly diverse population, through community-led innovation.
To improve psychology and mental health services across the board, services need to be designed with more input from the people they are supposed to help.
The 18-25 Transitions Pathway is a new service, provided by the Haringey Transitions Team. The service supports young people ‘graduating’ from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) before they progress to adult mental health care. It is a multi-disciplined team, comprising psychologists, community engagement workers, and peer workers.
This week, the team set up problem-solving booths at St Ann’s Hospital. The Problem Solving Booth brings people together to have conversations that they might not usually have, by helping each other with their problems. One chair is for the “Helper”, the person listening to the problems, and the other for the “Helped”, the person describing their concerns. The key difference here was that traditional power dynamic was shifted, with the young service users being the ‘Helper’ and members of staff, often clinicians, being the ‘Helped’
Young people have a huge amount to offer, but they are often not asked. Problem solving booths are about professionals taking off their lanyards, getting uncomfortable, and learning what it is like to ask for help.
Problem solving booths have been tested globally and were first trialled in 2016. The idea initially came from a young person, then was further developed by Dr Nina Browne and her team at Owls, a social enterprise.
Razeenah Mahomed, Clinical Lead for the Haringey Transitions Team said “One of the things we’ve noticed in our work is that not enough people in the NHS are listening enough to the people we are helping.”
“We want to inform our work and be a bit more relationship-based and community-led, so we can truly co-produce the best quality care that most fits each person’s needs. And problem-solving booths are just one example of doing community-led engagement work.”
“In doing that, we are creating platforms where we are able to listen to the voices of young people who we are trying to help to create this system change.”
“The world is ever-changing, so that means we need to evolve and adapt the service and the care that we are providing. What better way to do that than by being informed and led by the very people we are trying to help.”
“In the 18-25 Transitions pathway, one of the things we strive to do is to develop healthier individuals. Developing healthier individuals can lead to developing healthier families and communities for generations to come.”
After participating in the problem-solving booth as the ‘helped’, Mark Pritchard, Senior Service Lead for Community Mental Health Services, said “It really allowed me to think from a different perspective. Often I’m the person you come to ask for advice, and I think acknowledging that I don’t know all the answers, and I needed help from a ‘helper’ made me reflect on what else we need from our services. It left me feeling that we’re on the right track, but the young person I spoke to threw other options into the mix, so I think there are further opportunities.”
As part of the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme, we need to really work with our communities. Getting out of the clinic and working in the community is a big step. If the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme is going to be the success it can be, we really have to be willing to recognise the expertise within our communities that already exists. And we have to be prepared to ask them for help.