Re-designing mental health and wellbeing support
Tyneside Mind is a local mental health and wellbeing charity that offers services to support those affected by mental health issues. I worked with Tyneside Mind to understand what services they should provide in a new geographical area, leading to a successful BIG Lottery bid worth £425,000.
The significant reductions in public sector spending and funding available from trusts and foundations, had affected the way that Tyneside Mind operated and the services they were able to provide. Despite this reduction in resources, they were trying to cope with a sizeable increase in service demand. They engaged my support to help them understand how they could address this capacity issue whilst retaining the quality of their services.
I acted as a facilitator throughout the project, providing the guidance and encouragement for staff, service users and volunteers to use service design tools to co-design aspects of a new service. Specifically designed tools such as personas and workshops were used to understand client experiences, engaging this vulnerable community in an appropriate and empowering way. I also challenged established perceptions about mental health services, and encouraged stakeholders to think differently about how their services could look and feel. As a result, staff recognised that there were benefits to having time-limited offers, and created a service that was delivered in a radically different way to the existing system.
Following the project, Tyneside Mind successfully applied for a grant of £425,000 from BIG Lottery Reaching Communities to roll the developed service out across the region. They also reported a cultural shift that enabled them to recognise where they had become entrenched in traditional patterns of working.
Tyneside Mind website
“Laura was a ‘friendly critic’ challenging attitudes that had become entrenched in the organisation, as well as consolidating the more positive aspects of our approach to developing services. The legacy, in terms of its subtle shift in organisational culture, has made us a stronger charity and better equipped to face new challenges.”
Stuart Dexter, Chief Executive, Tyneside Mind