Grouchy Old Men? An Older Men's Mental Health Service Improvement Project
This project aimed to help develop services that engage isolated older men and promote good mental health and well-being. The project finished in 2010 and its outputs included a one day training workshop and a service improvement guide.
The Grouchy Old Men? project worked collaboratively with individuals and organisations with an active interest in the issue, including mental health services, generic health and social care services, third sector organisations, community-based organisations, and older men themselves. The project aimed to support service improvement initiatives among these groups and did this in a number of ways:
- Collecting examples of good practice - this involved raising awareness of the project through collecting information and evidence, and building a national network of contacts with individual practitioners and organisations working with older men, as well as older men themselves, to find out what worked and what didn’t. A good example is the 'Men in Sheds' project run by Age Concern Cheshire (now Age UK Cheshire). In October 2008 a national event was held in London attend by over 80 delegates which featured many of these examples, as well as helping to develop the national network further.
- Providing advice on service development, planning new projects, and evaluation - via the network a number of organisations approached the Mental Health Foundation for further information, advice, and support to develop their work or services to better meet the needs of older men. This included supporting an organisation to successfully secure £5,000 funding for the development of a group for older men focused on social inclusion and well being, and helping develop a training programme on older men's health for Age UK’s Fit as a Fiddle programme.
- Disseminating information and good practice examples – as well as passing information on via the network established by the project, in 2009 a one day 'Older men's mental health and well being' training workshop was developed. This was piloted on four occasions by the project manager in Hull and East Riding, Barking & Dagenham, and West Sussex with a total of 65 people attending, including staff from mental health services, generic health, social care and housing services, as well as some older male service users. In 2010 a short 'how to' guide was published by the Mental Health Foundation, aimed at helping develop services that engaged isolated older men and promote good mental health and well being tips and suggestions for services and organisations.
It was a two year project funded by the Department of Health and finished in 2010.
Toby specialises in mental health in later life, dementia and mental capacity, bringing twenty years of experience in the sector to his role.