Place Category: Health & Social Care
Midlands Psychology offers tried and tested mental health and support services which are values-based and benefit from a strong focus on local services and partnerships with service users.
Through the social enterprise model, we are able to take an efficient, cost effective and flexible approach to delivering services, whilst retaining the values and principles of providing a public service. Our profits are re-invested for the benefits of our service users.
We are an independent group with a wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise from decades of high level work in Health, Education and Social Care. We also have a long and successful track record of working with service users to develop services and facilities that offer improved choice, greater diversity and a genuine focus on them and the communities in which they live.
As a social enterprise, we have a big commitment to localism – that means having local providers for goods and services, creating jobs within the community and reinvesting surplus moneys in ways that benefit local people.
Our core business is improving the psychological health and emotional well-being of those with whom we work and, by doing so, contribute to the development of healthier communities. We offer a range of assessment, therapeutic and support services to meet the needs of children, young people and adults.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Midlands-Psychology.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated January 2018
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
We have been addressing:
- the need for children who have social-communication difficulties to have their needs assessed, understood and addressed through individualised programmes of therapeutic and social support in the community
- the need for children who have autism to access an appropriate facility for learning support if their autism prevents them from attending school
- the need for young adults to have support to develop a range of independent living skills and to be supported to work towards living independently in the community
- the need for young offenders to have their mental health and emotional well-being needs met so that they can participate in the social life of their communities
- the need to engage local communities in support programmes for these groups of children and young adults, so that mental health becomes ‘everybody’s business’.
The social improvements we have been promoting include social inclusion, through:
- autism awareness raising
- creating diverse social learning opportunities, which welcome families and support workers
- working with partners in the network to develop wide-ranging social, employment and training opportunities for our young adults who have autism and/ or learning disabilities
- educating others about the mental health and emotional well-being of young offenders
- recruiting parents as volunteers within our organisation, thereby offering them work opportunities, training, support and a potential career structure.
The social benefits we have aimed to deliver are based on our premise social capital is an integral part of the mental health and emotional well-being of all individuals - and communities. Throughout 2017-2018 we have continued to work hard to:
- connect people in their neighbourhoods and communities
- improve local facilities for children and families
- help people to live more independently and be a part of their local community, as well as making a positive contribution to it
The lasting differences we have aimed to achieve are:
- to help improve the mental health and emotional well-being of our target populations and through our on-going programmes of support to empower them to sustain these improvements into the future
- to change the way people think about ‘difference’
- to raise awareness of how everyone can contribute towards the mental health outcomes of people in their community and can act as agents of change for each other.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
Our day-to-day clinical work is based on a psycho-social understanding of emotional well-being, and so all of our staff are engaged, every day, in practising and promoting a view of mental health that is positive and focused around empowering people and supporting them to develop the skills they need to cope with their difficulties, both now and in the future.
- This year we have continued to develop and increase our diverse range of group interventions to ensure we meet the needs of our population, with new groups running for parents and carers of children who have highly challenging behaviour and those whose children have feeding disorders, both of which have been in high demand from our service users and have been achieving excellent outcomes.
- We have also worked hard throughout the year to continue to raise awareness in the communities where we work. Examples of this include holding a series of one day events for International Autism awareness week in April 2017, using ‘Skillshare’ workshops to spread skills and knowledge.
- We have trained a broad range of professional groups throughout 2017-2018 and have continued to work to develop local neighbourhood networks to help make them accessible to our Service Users. We have developed our Au-sums learning centre, which is parent-led.
- We continue to work with the local branch of the National Autistic Society in providing reinvestment funds to support playgroups for young children with autism and provide a venue for young adults to develop their independent living skills, such as cooking and gardening.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
- Individuals - improved mental health and emotional well-being, as demonstrated using a range of measures; access to appropriate activities and opportunities
- Community – more resources where needed; more facilities; easier access to support; greater awareness of others; meaningful involvement in supportive activity
- Other stakeholders - Greater awareness; training opportunities; opportunities for ‘joined-up working’ and thinking; access to support and appropriate provision
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
- We evaluate all work that we do using psychometric measures and qualitative feedback
- We seek opinions from service users and stakeholders using surveys and questionnaires
- We reflect, analyse and report what we do in our Quarterly reports to commissioners
- We share this information with our Parent Advisory Group
- We publish our work in peer-reviewed journals to add to the knowledge base
All of the services we deliver remain locally-focused and outcomes-based, ensuring that Staffordshire children, young people and families continue to benefit year on year. We demonstrate this by continuous monitoring and evaluation, which we provide to Staffordshire Commissioners on a Quarterly basis.
We hold focus groups and use surveys routinely and consult with our Advisory Group regularly. Any issues raised are acted upon. Recent examples of this include a low percentage rating given to one of the rooms in which families are seen, which led to a reviewed room usage as a result and have consulted on plans for new accommodation in the future. Feedback on courses, workshops and groups often leads to changes being made. For example, our ‘Introduction to Autism’ course has been extended from a single session workshop to a 6-session course, following feedback from attendees. All of this information is collated and reported to Commissioners as part of our quarterly performance reports and these reports are made available to our Parent Advisory Group and Social Enterprise Board and discussed as a matter of course.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How many people have benefitted from your actions?
Within our autism service, the demand remains high for both assessments and interventions. During the twelve month period of October 2016 to September 2017 (our contract year), we received a total of 2,185 referrals, an average of 182 new referrals per month from a range of referrers across South Staffordshire. This equates to approx. 11,000 individual children, siblings and parents coming through the service over the twelve month period.
We have increased the locality clinics to enable us to see even more families closer to their home, with clinics held in 6 different locations across South Staffordshire.
In addition to this, we have also delivered highly specialist bespoke assessments to children with complex feeding disorders and provided treatment programmes to 10 children and their families nationwide during the same period. In September 2017 we invited parents to a feeding workshop, which was very well received, with 41 parents attending the days training.
We continue to provide psychological services to looked after children living in 8 residential and step down homes in Birmingham. Support and training is also provided to the Managers and staff at these homes. Therefore we are directly improving the lives of, on average, 50 young people and staff who work with them.
Our supported living service now supports 4 young adults to live in their own home. This has had a huge impact on their parents who, before now have been unable to consider taking a holiday alone. This service has therefore had a direct impact on 12 individuals plus their siblings. The supported living courses delivered by Midlands Psychology have a group of 8 young people who are learning independent living skills with the aim of moving on into their own supported living home in the future.
Our Ten-19 service has worked with 60 young people over the previous 12 months. These young people have been referred through the Staffordshire Youth Offending Team. The Ten 19 team also work closely with their families, helping them to support their children from re-offending in the future. Training is also provided to the Case Workers across the 3 Youth Offending offices in Staffordshire, thus supporting around 20 staff to improve their knowledge and understanding of the young people they are working with.
Our Au-sums education group is growing month on month and now has 55 members, with at least 10 children and their parents regularly attending the weekly groups and parent support meetings.
Midlands Psychology has recently submitted a bid to Sport England for funds to improve the physical activity of children with autism and their families. If successful, we will be working with around 200 families or 1,000 individual children and adults across South Staffordshire getting them to be more active together as a family.
We estimate, based on the above service provision, 11,413 children, young people and adults will have directly and indirectly accessed or be closely associated with Midlands Psychology.
6) What examples can you provide of a typical service user experience, that helps illustrate the benefits they have experienced as a result of your actions?
Example/case study 1 - “Hope for those who can not eat!”
My daughter was born with Down syndrome and AVSD (heart defect). She was also born 7 weeks early. Because of all this she found it difficult to suck and to swallow. It was hard enough to breath. Her sucking reflex didn't get developed and she didn't learn how to drink. We tried to offer her lots but she never took more in than a few drops.
We tried and tried for several years and only when we got help from Midlands Psychology things started to change drastically. It took about 9months of intensive eating sessions 5 times a day, guided by Midlands Psychology. They came out regularly to see how my daughter was doing, they asked me to fill in graphs and papers on a daily basis, so they could see what was happening. They supported us with weekly phone calls and always knew how to help us in the challenging times.
We started with playing with food and very, very slowly moved on to touching food, bringing it to the mouth, then licking food. When our daughter started licking food we tried to increase the amount of times she licked the food, later we started to bring food to her mouth with a spoon. She took in a few drops during a feeding session, but after nine months we decreased the amount of milk she got in the tube. It still took another month before our daughter realised she should start eating, suddenly she put the spoon in her mouth and started eating herself. Not a few drops but about 20 spoonfuls! We were just standing in awe! This girl that wasn't able to eat, was now eating her chocolate mousse herself!! It was a miracle to us.
We are so grateful for Midlands Psychology that they helped us to come this far and for all the support we got all through the programme and even beyond. Our daughter is no longer using tube feeding, she lives on yoghurt, soup and blended food and has started to show interest in solid food as well! We are happy to move forward and develop a normal eating pattern.
Example/case study 2
Our ongoing commitment to service evaluation and improvement includes the routine collection of information about our service users’ experiences of Midlands Psychology. We do this using the Experience of Service Questionnaire. These questionnaires are also now sent electronically to all families on completion of an episode of care.
The below provides questions and responses from families for the quarter period of July to September 2017:
- I feel that the person who saw me listened to me 100%
- It was easy to talk to the person who saw me 100%
- I was treated well by the person who saw me 100%
- My views and worries were taken seriously 100%
- I feel the person I saw knew how to help me 100%
- I have been given enough information about the help available 100%
- I feel that people are working together to help me 100%
- The room in which I was seen was comfortable 100%
- Appointments were usually at a convenient time 100%
- It was quite easy to get to the place where I have my appointments 100%
- If a friend needed this sort of help, I would suggest to them to come here 100%
- Overall, the help I have received was good 100%
Example/Case Study 3- School refusal
‘Jack’ (11) was diagnosed with autism in 2013 but did not need to access intervention services until earlier this year, when he started to show high levels of anxiety around going to school and his parents began to experience behavioural difficulties and outbursts at home. Things got progressively worse and Jack stopped attending school altogether. His parents felt unable to encourage him to go because his reaction was so extreme that he appeared terrified of the prospect. He reported physical symptoms and frightening thoughts that led his mother having to take leave from work to be with him at home and Jack became very reliant on her, needing her to be constantly within his sight.
Like many high functioning children with autism, Jack sets himself high standards in both his academic and social life. He was a child who was anxious to do the ‘right thing’ both in his school work and in social situations. As he has grown, the social and educational demands on him have increased so that they had exceeded his capacity to cope with them. He would begin to worry about his school day the evening before and went on to develop symptoms of panic when thinking about school. It was also learned that Jack had experienced a bereavement recently and that a close family member had been very ill. Jack was worried that his ‘symptoms’ might mean something was wrong with him.
Support for the family was two-fold. After an initial meeting with Jack’s parents, it was agreed to offer Jack some individual work around understanding and managing his emotions. In addition, it was thought that his parents would benefit from some psycho-education about autism and some tailored advice on behaviour management. Jack began a six-week course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy where he learned about the interaction between his thoughts, feelings and behaviour. He learned to understand and manage the physical feelings of anxiety and to challenge some of his thinking errors. His mum sat in on sessions and encouraged Jack to practice the things he had learned between sessions. His mum and dad also attended sessions to find out more about the challenges that Jack might face in school and how to address these, partly by intervening and managing his environment for him, but also by teaching him problem solving skills, social skills and coping strategies so that he would be able to compensate for his difficulties more for himself as he gets older. His parents recognised that thinking differences and skill deficits arising from his autism led to difficulties in school and began to address these. They also put in a behavioural programme to encourage positive behaviours though rewards, and recognised the importance of modelling appropriate behaviours and avoiding inadvertently reinforcing unhelpful behaviours. Finally, with support, the family put in a staged plan to return Jack to school, which began with his mother attending school with him and gradually withdrawing her presence.
Jack is now attending school full time and his mother is soon to return to work herself. In their last session, his parents reported that Jack’s anxiety is much reduced, although school is something that still worries him. However, there is an agreement that Jack can telephone his mother twice a day from school and he is rewarded for making it through half days without calling home. His parents recognise that there is still work to do but feel that they have the skills now to support Jack. He has been discharged but will be seen again before the new school year for a ‘booster’ session to remind him of all he has learned in preparation for his transition to Secondary School.
7) What additional social benefits have you been able to deliver within your core services that distinguish you from other “for shareholder profit” providers?
We are engaged every day in providing a range of services within our core provision, which are delivered in a unique way, offering individual, family and social benefits above and beyond those that would be expected from ‘for profit’ providers. This is because our not-for-profit social enterprise ethos inspires us, not only to do things differently but also to add social value wherever we can. For example:
- actively seeking to employ service users and adults with autism in our social enterprise
- training and supporting parents to work alongside us as volunteers
- providing ‘non-standard’ flexible and accessible support (e.g. evenings and weekends, as well as daytime)
- pioneering community programmes of support than connect people, as well as provide them with the skills they need to cope with their difficulties
Our staff work hard to bring families together and engage them in fun activities, where they would otherwise have few opportunities to leave the house (many of our children are not able to go to school or engage in any social activities outside of their homes). Initiatives this year have included:
- Fundraising activity programmes with families (e.g. Christmas Fair, Autism-Awareness week)
- Social programme (e.g. The Gruffalo Trail; Parent Support Group)
- Holiday activities (e.g. family picnic, art and craft group, ‘rest and relaxation’ group)
- Unique opportunities for children who have autism (e.g. a workshop with The Royal Ballet)
The investment in these activities tends to be ‘in kind’, with staff, parents and volunteers giving freely and generously of their time. Any associated costs (i.e. refreshments, room hire etc) are met by Midlands Psychology reinvestment. Monies raised from fundraising this year have been invested in AU-SUMS.
8) What other social benefits have you contributed that go beyond your core delivery activities (ones that are completely unrelated to your main services)?
- Our meeting rooms are always open to free use by parent groups
- Au-sums – building and staff member entirely funded from MP reinvestment
- Au-sums - activities, learning programmes and equipment funded from MP fundraising
- Reinvestment into the local social programme for young adults who have autism
- Provision of in-kind and cash made available for Sports England bid if successful
Based on the above, Midlands Psychology has financially invested as cash and in-kind a minimum of £102,000.
Re-investment in Au-sums has already started to bring about significant change in the lives of the children and young people who use the facilities, as well as their parents. 3 Children have been bridged back into education – one boy had been out of school for 4 years. Parents are facilitated to help in the Centre and this has led to improvements in their emotional well-being and sense of efficacy.
Reinvesting into the local social programme enables young adults who would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet others to do so. We have seen this have an impact on their confidence and friendship skills.
We feel that by doing the things we do in the way that we do we influence others to reflect on their own work in the community. We have had many visitors to our new AU-SUMS Learning Centre, including education workers, who are now helping us pioneer this approach. Other local mental health providers have been very much influenced by our extensive range of workshops and courses and have begun to offer similar things.