At Hull and East Yorkshire Mind we believe it’s important to understand what good mental health care looks like. This is more than just understanding the services we deliver, its about the important elements common across all of our work that help us to understand why we work in the way that we do.
Different organisations have different priorities. We have defined ours using a simple framework that includes Relationships, Environment, Activity, Compassion and Hope. We call this REACH.
Our Model of Mental Health Care (REACH)
Trusting, caring relationships are a core foundation of our mental wellbeing. To believe we are cared about we need to feel a human connection. Too often public services focus on maintaining artificial boundaries between those delivering and receiving services to the detriment of both sides. We use some common sense with our professional boundaries; if somebody wants a hug we give them one and if somebody wants to hear about our holidays we share what’s appropriate. We expect our team to genuinely care for the people they are working with and, if that’s not possible, conversations to be had early on about where the problem lies.
For those visiting our offices and community groups through to people living in our housing, a poor environment encourages poor mental health. If people feel safe, secure and valued they are much more likely to stay well and recover faster. We need to make sure the physical spaces and ‘atmosphere’ are welcoming. Where possible we need shared spaces and avoid cutting ourselves off in the ‘staff offices’. We expect everybody working in our housing to be conscious that these are peoples’ homes we are working in and be conscious of how our behaviour impacts on the environment.
We know that physical activity is vital to our health and wellbeing and that this is often overlooked when considering mental health care. We also know that activity includes many forms of occupation and how important having a role in society is for most of us. Without it we too easily lose our sense of self and worth and any intervention that doesn’t address this vital area will always be temporary. All of our services will encourage paid work where possible, voluntary work where not and mainstream learning where appropriate. Our groups, information line and activities will promote physical exercise and the benefits this bring to mental health.
Sometimes we’re just too hard on ourselves. We see media portrayals of what ‘normal’ is supposed to be and beat ourselves up because we don’t think we meet the standard. We need to get much better at showing compassion, not just to others around us, but also to ourselves. Sometimes it’s OK to be different. People using our services come with all sorts of stories and histories. I want our compassionate approach to run through everything we do, from how we answer the phones to replying to emails and one-to-one interactions. To work at Mind, whatever job you are doing, you have to be able to show you care for the people we are here for.
Without a genuine belief that things can improve we get stuck and lose motivation. We all need positive role models in our lives and they should be a core part of any service we want to deliver. This isn’t always easy and when somebody is acutely unwell it can be difficult to find the hope in what might seem a hopeless situation. Our job is to find that hope and help others see it. We must never shy away from this no matter how difficult it might seem. We also have to share the stories of recovery as widely as we can to inspire others and show that recovery, if not cure, is almost always possible.