Birmingham’s independent health watchdog has reported significant improvements in Forward Thinking Birmingham’s (FTB) 0-25s Mental Health Services.
In their latest report, Healthwatch reveals that FTB has worked closely with children and young people to make important changes to the services it provides in Birmingham, such as an improvement in communication with patients, and further collaboration with young people, families, and carers to shape and improve care.
Elaine Kirwan, Director of Mental Health Strategy and Regional Director for Tier 4 CAMHS for our Mental Health Services, said: “It matters to us that local people get the mental health services they need. We feel a huge responsibility to get things right, and we use our patients’ feedback to make sure that we are continuously improving our services.
“Working together with Healthwatch, who have a place in our Think 4 Brum forum (a young people engagement group), and our patients, we have collectively worked on four very important elements of improvement.”
Healthwatch Birmingham reports that FTB has improved in four key areas; communication with patients and families; consistency and variety of staff roles; staff awareness in working with patients with various needs; and co-production with patients and carers.
Forward Thinking Birmingham has worked with those with lived experience to develop staff training and patient communications. As part of this work, FTB developed a new Peer Support Programme, funded by the Trust’s Charity, which sees Experts By Experience supporting the recovery of their young people. The programme, which has seen eleven Peer Support Workers now currently in post, has been nominated for a Health Service Journal Award.
Miski Hussein, a Peer Support Worker for FTB, uses her lived experience of psychosis to support young people in our Early Intervention in Psychosis service. She said: “Having individuals with lived experience of mental health issues involved in our services has been so impactful. Being able to speak to someone from a similar background who understands what you’re going through is really empowering for our young people.”
Miski added: “I’m really proud that our services has come this far. It shows that the narrative is being shifted towards hope and recovery.”
Working collaboratively with Peer Support Workers is just one of the ways that Forward Thinking Birmingham has worked to increase involvement in service improvement. Healthwatch Birmingham reports that FTB has improved staff knowledge of various mental health conditions and increased understanding of approaches to delivering goal centred care.
Children and young people have been instrumental in delivering staff training and developing patient communication. Experts by experience are now core members of FTB’s Clinical Senate and will support the service-wide work on recovery.
Mrs Kirwan added that while there is high demand for services there are many options for support available. You can contact the Mind Birmingham helpline on 0121 262 3555 and the Samaritans 24/7 helpline on 116 123 if you need to speak to someone. Young people in Birmingham and Solihull can also get free online counselling and mental health support at Kooth.com.