Solent Mind strives to be a user-led organisation. In our 2012 staff survey, 38 percent of our staff testified to having lived experience of mental health issues and at our 2012 staff and volunteer conference, 76 percent said they had experience of mental health problems, either lived or by association.
In 2013 we developed our ‘Service User Strategy’, and by working towards co-production with our service users we aim to involve service users in everything that we do, including:
- Involvement in and participation in Solent Minds governance structure
- Involvement in standing project and working groups
- Involvement in the delivery of services
- Involvement in training and development
- Involvement in recruitment and selection
- Involvement in feedback to the organisation
- Contributing to campaigning at local and national level
- Contributing to publications and marketing materials
We seek feedback across all our service provision on user satisfaction and these form key performance indicators for the organisation which we aim to improve upon each year.
We work directly with two key organisations in the area, SSUN (Southampton Service User Network) http://www.ssun.org.uk/ who we work in partnership with to deliver our Peer Support service, and RAISE http://www.raise.org.uk/index.html who deliver specialist training on mental health.
Our service users also ask us to help them in a variety of ways to run projects to benefit other service users. Making a Scene is a service user led creative arts group in Southampton. They meet weekly and also run eight week projects and workshops in various locations.
For more information see their website http://www.makingascene.org.uk/ and their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Making-a-Scene-Creative-Arts-Group/135000246653046.
The Heads UP project was set up by an ex-service user and is now run by a team of volunteers. It works directly with students in several schools, colleges and universities in the area on promoting good mental health amongst students, reducing stigma through talks and providing peer support. More information can be found here - Schools, Colleges and Universities.