Building on previous work to raise awareness of Self Directed Support (previously known as Direct Payments), the Mental Health Foundation (Scotland) and Voices of Experience (VOX) were commissioned by the Scottish Government in the autumn of 2008 to organise a series of seminars across Scotland. The seminars were directed towards people with mental health problems and were organised in partnership with a number of local mental health service user organisations and groups.
The context to the series of seminars is that to date there has been a very low uptake of Self Directed Support amongst people with Mental Health issues in comparison with a number of other care groups, e.g. people with physical disabilities, people with learning disabilities and older people.
The primary aim of the seminars was to provide Mental Health service users with basic information on Self Directed Support. In addition, the seminars also aimed to provide further opportunity for discussion on any issues and concerns that services users may have on Self Directed Support. The key aims of this phase of work were to:
- Identify barriers preventing people with mental health problems from accessing Self Directed Support
- Identify what information and/or support service users would find helpful in pursuing a claim for Self Directed Support and thereafter to develop an accessible information resource
- Explore the feasibility of developing local support networks which would help to take forward the SDS agenda locally.
Six seminars were held during the period of November 2008 to February 2009 with around 180 people in total attending the six events. The vast majority of participants were mental health service users although a small number of mental health professionals and staff from mental health service user groups were also in attendance at all events.
Following on from this work a booklet was developed for people who experience mental health problems and who are interested in getting access to self-directed support in Scotland. This booklet is for people who experience mental health problems and who are interested in getting access to self-directed support in Scotland. Self-directed support is designed to help people to manage their own social care support and choose the services that suit them best.
The booklet gives people information and allows them to make an informed decision about whether to get self directed support. It will also explain how self directed support can help people to manage their mental health. The booklet is also available in Chinese, Punjabi and Urdu. It will be available to download online shortly, or alternatively a hard copy can be requested from the Mental Health Foundation Scotland office.