Run by Stockport Mind and the user-led social enterprise ‘All Together Positive’, the Stockport Prevention and Personalisation Service is redesigning mental health services, by recognising the role of social and financial issues in mental health. It aim is to reduce the use of secondary statutory mental health services, to prevent dependence on clinical approaches and to maximize preventative and recovery strategies, particularly for people whose difficulties are social or financial as well as clinical.
Rather than focusing on a person's clinical history, their diagnosis or their medication, Stockport's redesigned mental health support uses a recovery approach to find out they want to achieve in life and what's important to them. Recovery is not a matter or getting rid of symptoms, but rather about recovering a life with a purpose.
Clive, who's 51 and has both mental and physical health difficulties, describes his previous experience with mental health services: "It was in the first few years of my illness that I realised I was simply going in circles; my GP would refer me to a psychiatrist, who would tinker with my medication and recommend a course of CBT and would then discharge me back to the care of my GP and so on." Eventually Clive sought help from Stockport Mind and got support from Alison, a practitioner working at the Prevention and Personalisation service. He says, "the strangest thing was that Alison asked me what I needed. The service seemed prepared to fit around me rather than try to pigeonhole me and push me away when I didn't fit." Since using the service, Clive has been able to access therapeutic approaches like acupuncture that help with his mood, fatigue and physical pain control. As a consequence he has become more active and sociable.
*This example was originally published in No Assumptions: a narrative for personalised, coordinated care and support in mental health, National Voices/TLAP, August 2014.