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Service User Involvement

Our focus on service user involvement is at the heart of our philosophy and shapes every aspect of our work. It means putting the people who use our services in control of the care and support they receive. Our experience proves that this helps them overcome mental health issues and lead more fulfilling lives.

What does this look like at Together?

Service user involvement at Together has recently undergone some changes, with the aim of ensuring it is even more meaningful and makes a greater difference to the lives of people who use our services. You can read more about this next step in our service user involvement journey in a blog by our Chief Executive, Linda Bryant.

Service user involvement at Together works in a variety of ways to ensure that the people we support lead the way – not just in their own support, but in decisions at every level about Together’s governance and the design and delivery of our services. We also work to develop and support innovation in service user involvement, leadership and peer support, as well as raising awareness of mental health issues more widely based on the experiences and priorities of people with lived experience of mental distress.

Service user involvement at Together involves:

  • Supporting the development of service user involvement and leadership at all levels and across departments within Together
  • Creating links between other individuals and groups beyond Together to influence local, regional and national decisions about mental health care
  • Developing and delivering service user led training programmes and workshops relating to service user involvement, leadership and peer support, both internally and externally to Together
  • Working with public, private and voluntary organisations to research, publish guides and share specialist advice around service user involvement
  • Taking on contracts from NHS trusts around service user involvement, such as peer support training
  • Developing peer-led initiatives, such as our peer support models and self management

Developing service user involvement locally, nationally and regionally

A national voice for people who use mental health services

Together was involved in the development of the National Involvement Partnership’s 4PI national standards for the involvement of service users and carers in mental health and social care services. Together has now signed up to review and refresh our approach in line with these to ensure the meaningful involvement of service users within our organisation in line with national best practice.

National Steering Group

Together’s National Steering Group (NSG) is a team of people with lived experience of mental distress who are elected for three-year terms, to discuss issues and influence the direction of both our service user involvement activities and Together as a whole.

The National Steering Group has two places on the Together Board of Trustees, and the Board also has two other places for people who have lived experience of mental distress. Four members of the NSG also sit on Together’s Broader Management Group. In this way, service users use their own experiences to influence and lead on a range of issues from governance through to our local projects.

Peer support and self management

Peer support takes place when people with experience of mental distress support each other towards better wellbeing, as people of equal value and on a reciprocal basis, using their own lived experience as a tool for support. We work with Peer Supporters across many Together services, who draw on their own lived experience to support people in a variety of ways. This includes one-to-one support between a Peer Supporter and someone using our services, and peer support groups.

One type of peer support group available across many Together services are Self Management Groups, where people work together with their peers to develop and share skills to improve their wellbeing and celebrate their successes. Together worked with the Mental Health Foundation to develop and pilot Self Management Groups. You can read more here about Together’s approach to peer support.

Involvement and Leadership Grant Scheme

Together’s Involvement and Leadership Grant Scheme is open to both Together staff and people who use our services who have an initiative or idea around service user involvement or leadership. Applications are judged by a management committee formed of people who have experience of using mental health services and the scheme has supported ideas across our services, ranging from getting active with football therapy, service user involvement within our criminal justice services, training and the setting up of new groups, as well as many more.


Contact us about service user involvement:

Brett Sharpe
Together for Mental Wellbeing
52 Walnut Tree Walk
London
SE11 6DN

Tel: 020 7780 7364
Email: brett-sharpe@together-uk.org