Learning is absolutely essential to Future Pathways. To do that, we need to be clear about exactly what we are trying to achieve, what we are doing, and what results we are seeing. We track all of our activity and measure how well we’re doing and what we need to improve on using lots of methods.
In addition to our standard process for gathering feedback, we have carried out several reviews aimed at learning from the people we work with. Some recent improvements that we have made as a result are:
Because more people registered with Future Pathways than we had initially expected, a waiting list started to build up. By the middle of 2018 it was over 350 people. This was obviously frustrating for people.
We realised that we needed to challenge some of the assumptions that we had made when setting up Future Pathways. So we made a concerted effort to contact anyone who had not yet accessed support.
We learned that most people felt able to have an early, in-depth conversation about their needs (we had assumed that this would not be the case).
We therefore created a new framework to help guide conversations with people about their safety, existing supports, wellbeing and hopes for the future.
These conversations enabled people to identify their needs, connect with other services, or progress an immediate request. Not everyone required ongoing support.
Then, as our staff numbers increased, we had to consider how we could ensure that support decisions were made consistently.
In 2019, using both the initial work and feedback from survivors and staff, we made further changes. Now:
We put a high priority on individual and team learning and we have always been keen to share what we learn. In 2017, we contributed to ‘Beyond Survival: sustaining services, organisations and impact’, a resource for services working with survivors.
Our researcher presented at the 2019 European Network for Mental Health Service Evaluation (ENMESH) conference in Lisbon, Portugal. This looked at the evaluation of mental health services across Europe.
We could do more. People we work with are clear that they experience persistent struggle in accessing support. They have much to share about their experiences, which would positively contribute to future policy and practice.