Mental Wellbeing Strategy – 63 pages, sleepless nights and google translate!

Written by Mohammed Mahboob, People’s Board member

In January 2017, “The Mental Wellbeing in Bradford District and Craven: A Strategy 2016 – 2021” was launched.

The Strategy formally sets out the vision and strategic priorities for the people of Bradford district and Craven from 2016 to 2021. The strategy covers a wide range of areas including priority groups and services that will be delivered including children and young people, perinatal care, older people, and carers. The key strategies are as follows:

• our wellbeing: building resilience, promoting mental wellbeing and delivering early intervention

• our mental and physical health: developing and delivering care through the integration of mental and physical health and care

• care when we need it: ensuring that when people experience mental ill health they can access high quality, evidence-based care

Peoples Board Involvement

Prior to the launch of the strategy, the Health & Wellbeing Board for Bradford district wanted to ensure that the people of the district had been consulted. One of the routes for this consultation was the Peoples Board. In October 2016, we welcomed the mental health commissioner Mick James to the board. A working copy of the strategy had been given to board members for review prior to Micks arrival to the board meeting. As individuals will know corporate documents are certainly not the easiest to read. A 63 page document was daunting to say the least, and it certainly contributed to a few sleepless nights, reference to google translate in certain instances, and murmurs in conversations with fellow board members. Having reviewed the document a number of key areas and issues were highlighted for discussion with the commissioner for mental health:
• members identified areas that were good, and where we saw and areas for improvement.

• made suggestions for further engagement.

• provided recommendations of groups to engage with such as the Eastern European community and migrant communities.

After the meeting, members submitted further information about needs and issues local people and communities face with mental health services. The commissioner welcomed the discussion and valued the input he had received from the Peoples Board. He also praised the board and the collective set of skills, knowledge and experience that the board members brought to the discussions and review of plans for service design and delivery.

Result

The input from the Peoples Board:

• ensured previous feedback from people and communities was included.

• led to further engagement activity.

• informed the emphasis on well-being.

• made links to other strategies such as the GP strategy.

• increased the strategy by another 20 pages!

What We Learned

As a result of our involvement:

• we saw how the strategy changed for the better.

• helped us as members of the People Board to understand how important our role is to shape and influence future work.

• showed how we can make a difference and improve engagement by being involved even earlier.

• involving people directly is beneficial for everyone.

What Next

As a board we value involvement in plans at the very early stages of inception and design. Beyond this we want to continue to get involved in shaping and delivering the plans that make strategies a reality for Bradford district and Craven, and we want to build on this good work to continue to engage with other commissioners and clinical leads.

We value your input to plans, upcoming changes and any other feedback or information that you would like to give us, so please do get in touch so that the views of the community are represented. We look forward to hearing from you.

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