This project is open to anyone in Lothian (Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian or West Lothian) who has experienced trauma.
This might have been labelled ‘trauma’ or ‘traumatic stress’, but it might not- for the purpose of this project, ‘trauma’ is something that has been traumatic to you, for example, an experience that has a negative effect on your long term mental health and wellbeing
The project will be directed by people who identify with these experiences, facilitated by people from CAPS Independent Advocacy- our job it is to work to get a stronger voice for people who have experience of mental health issues. CAPS is independent from service providers so we don’t have divided loyalties, meaning that we can put your voices first.
This project is a new collective advocacy project about trauma services. It is a way for people who have experienced trauma to express their views and preferences about the way that these services in Lothian are designed.
We will also talk about the type of language that people would like used, and will produce information leaflets for the final service that is deliv ered.
In addition to meeting as a group and individually t o gather views and experiences, we have a seat at the planning table for the new trauma service in Lothian (see ‘why’ below) so have a direct way to make sure that what you say is included in decision-making.
We anticipate that there will be at least two different ways for people to get involved- either as a member of the steering group and help direct the project, or to simply tell us what you think so that your views and opinions are included.
Obviously, what people say who aren’t in the steering group will also be used to determine how the project works, for example feedback about how we can make the project as acces sible as possible.
We are very aware that people may want, for example, single-gender (e.g. women-only, or men-only) spaces to feed into the project, and we can facilitate this. Please get in touch about this or any other requirements.
The steering group
Our first step is to set up a steering group of people who have experienced trauma. This group could be for people who would like to take a more active role in the project. Exactly how this group works will be determined by the people who get involved, but for example:
The group could look at questions like how the project should work, how we can make sure that it works safely for everyone involved, and could help pull together what people contribute to the project to make sure that what we do is as a representative as possible. It is likely that it will also be from this group that people speak about the project and represent it at meetings.
If the steering group isn’t what would work for you:
Exactly how we do this is still to be decided, based on what the steering group think and what people would like (so let us know), but examples of how you could feed in include:
- We could write a survey that you can do online or by post
- We could come out and talk to you about what you think
- We could come to a group or service that you are already involved in, for example a peer support group, or through a or housing project, and talk to you or a group of you there.
- We could talk over the phone, or communicate via email
This very much depends on what people want. We have offices (and meeting spaces) in Musselburgh and Edinburgh, however, we will work to come out to what suits you and will have funding for travel expenses for people to get involved.
The project is initially funded for 12 weeks, to end just before Christmas 2015. By the end of this period, we would like to have a group set up and information leaflet guidelines produced.
NHS Lothian is redesigning their trauma service, currently provided through the Rivers Centre. They want to provide a service where people of all ages and their families can access support and treatment within a nurturing and safe environment which promotes reliance, opportunities and connections.
It’s really important that people who have experience of trauma are meaningfully involved in this redesign.
This page: http://capsadvocacy.org/about-us/ says who CAPS are, and what Independent Advocacy is: in short, it provides a way where people can set the agenda and get their voices across about things that affect their lives.
We realise that being involved in this project may be difficult at times, and perhaps make you feel quite vulnerable, particularly because of the nature of things that people might talk about. We will do everything we can to keep you safe within the group.
One of the first things that the steering group will look at will be how can we make sure this happens, but even if you don’t want to be involved in the steering group, please get in contact if you have things to say about how the project can be safe for you to get involved with.
The main topic of what we will be talking about will be how services need to work to be good spaces for people who have experienced trauma, and so you won’t be asked to discuss any traumatic experiences you may have had.
However, we know that this may become part of the discussion, and your past experiences may affect how you currently feel about services, or how you need services to work with you.
From what people have said to us, the impact of talking about your experiences can take a few days to affect you, so this is something we all need to be aware of, and will talk about ways to work with this so that everyone can feel safe being part of the project.
Who says what in the project will remain confidential, and it will be the learning that is taken away to try to affect the way that services are designed. However, we have a legal duty (child protection and adult support and protection) where if things come up that may come under either of these categories, we would need to pass these on. We can talk about this in more detail if you decide to be a part of the project. However, if you have concerns before that please feel free to get in touch.
If you would like to have your say about how you would like the trauma service to be like please fill out this anonymous survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/traumaserviceredesign
Support lines for mental health:
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87 (Mon to Thurs 6pm – 2am) (Fri to Mon 6pm – 6am)
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours)
Edinburgh Crisis Centre: 0808 801 0414