I was a little nervous to see what I’d actually been twittering about all this time!
But it turns out to be relevant, phew!
Today I’m re-blogging Eddy & Mind Your Head - Student Led Mental Health work from Leeds.
Freshers’ Week is over and as usual campus was absolutely buzzing. Free pizza, medieval swordsmen, a game called ’spot the gay’, someone to throw wet sponges at (sorry mate..), cheerleaders, token sweets and pens, a not so token hypnotising dog, it was all happening! The girls on the committee did a brilliant job of promoting the The Mind Matters Society and signing up new members on Wednesday. Along with this, one of my highlights was undoubtedly the Counselling Centre’s promotion on Thursday and Friday.
I’d had a phone call off one of the lovely Counselling Centre ladies a couple of weeks before saying that they were thinking of putting a bed in the freshers’ tent and needed someone to occupy it. At first I thought it sounded like some crazy idea that I would come up with, and that it might later be discarded for a standard stall and flyers. But when I turned up I was amazed to see a typical student bedroom complete with pizza boxes, cans of Carlsberg, random rubbish and…a traffic cone. How do these guys know us so well !? Next to the bed was a stall and flipchart asking students what advice they’d offer this student that was struggling. The bed was covered with slips of paper containing responses. These included sensible suggestions like “talk to a friend” and “go for a walk in the park”, and a few more unusual ones like “listen to Wham” (huh!?). Manning the stall was Nigel, Head of the Counselling Service, wearing a cool jeans and jacket combo, and cheery smile. Another member of the team, James, was complete with trendy scarf. The whole thing worked brilliantly, and the team showed that they are not just a thoughtful, friendly group, but that they are in touch with the student life, and are willing to go the extra mile to show this (although don’t expect to see them out in Halo anytime soon !). They have an impressive list of workshops planned for this term too, which cover topics like getting settled into uni life, improving communication and relationship skills and getting a good night’s sleeping. You can read about these in the GIAG booklets found in the Union, or at the Counselling Service’s website: www.leeds.ac.uk/studentcounselling.
As I started writing this I thought about the impression our society gives off. And I remembered that one of the great strengths of student-led stuff comes from our unique position. We are students reaching out to other students, and no else can offer this peer to peer approach. Our power comes from being ourselves, standing shoulder to shoulder with every other student on campus, and being representative of them all. It comes from us not pretending to be an authority, or to be always right; and from steering clear of the restrictions and politics that exist elsewhere. Let’s stay cool. If we do this we can offer society something really special – an enthusiasm, creativity, free-spiritedness and quickness in taking action, that rarely exist elsewhere. If the cost is that we’re a bit sloppy, and occasionally get things wrong, then so be it.
Eddy, The Mind Matters Society (www.themindmatters.co.uk)
De-Mystifying the NHS
Ah,this would be a neat trick! Like uncorking the genie and having the answers to any conundrum that crosses another’s lips.
But I did attend Yorkshire and Northern’s ASSIST event of the same name.
My intention was to develop my understanding of the NHS infrastructure and connection channels as much to understand the fundamental role that Information plays in developing that infrastructure.
ASSIST’s event affording me some greater clarity of the functionings of the NHS and the current challenges and difficulties as well as the reality of the working nature of ‘informatics’ within the system.
There are some key things I agree with.
1) Health Services produce Data.
Data is Data. It is not Information and turning that Data into relevant Information is the role of an Information Specialist.
2) Information Specialists need to be involved at service developmental level in order understand project development and how outcome data needs to be turned into relevant systems. If they are not involved at the start point then implementation of the planned projects and service delivery may be untranslatable.
We know this because this happens in the NHS.
It also happens everywhere else in Health.
3) Systems that focus on the internal workings of themselves tend to use language that makes no sense to anyone else.
In fact. We all tend to use language in different ways.
I could describe ‘Service User Involvement in the design of technical applications’ as ‘NHS to Patient Interfaces from the Patient perspective’
And indeed, this is the area in which design, research and development is fundamentally lacking in the NHS and everywhere else in Health.
Which is actually a clear opportunity.
If you fancy having a go at De-Mystifying the NHS yourself you are very welcome.