Projects & Themed Working        

Action in Mind has a longstanding history of working together with other organisations that share similar values and charitable objectives to ourselves in terms of mental health, but also with those local and national organisations whose areas of interest and focus are aligned with our work.

Money and Benefits Outreach Service (Mental Health)

Action in Mind has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with the Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau through the synergy created by sharing our respective knowledge, skills and experience of mental health and money and benefits advice. We are therefore delighted to continue to host the Money and Benefits Outreach Service for mental health service users, one day per week in our offices in Stirling’s Riverside area.

First piloted in 1996 and established in 1999, the Money and Benefits Outreach service was innovative in its day for recognising that people experiencing mental health difficulties were at risk of increased disadvantage and poverty. Using the Empowerment Star, the Stirling CAB is able to measure the positive impact of the service on people’s mental health and well-being.

As Johnny Keenan, Head of Health Improvement and CSD Corporate Services, NHS Forth Valley commented:

“For people experiencing mental health problems, the Mental Health Money and Benefits Outreach Service not only helps to mitigate the impact of existing health inequalities compounded by welfare reform, but also works to prevent the exacerbation of existing mental ill-health to address the root cause of health inequalities i.e. poverty and social inequality.” (Extracted from Action in Mind: Annual Review 2015-2016)

While this was true then, the economic downturn of the mid 2000s was a significant factor in further increased disadvantage and poverty by people of varying disabling conditions, including mental health, and recent welfare reforms relating to employment and benefits.

From engagements with DWP benefits advisors and employment coaches we are aware that more people are presenting at local offices in distressed states, many have pre-existing mental health conditions. Some explanations relate to the stress and anxiety of benefit reassessment and tribunal appeals. However, there are convincing arguments that DWP clients struggle with completing benefit forms electronically as they neither have the skills or experience of basic computing far less the confidence to navigate the relevant websites and forms.  Many people have incurred sanctions because they have missed critical DWP benefit deadlines due, in large part, to these personal deficits.

To mitigate the impact of welfare reform in terms described above, Action in Mind sought funding to start up an internet café for people who are digitally excluded, by reason of affordability or opportunity, lack of self-confidence or computing skills.  With grant funding from the Sons of the Rock Society to purchase five laptops and software and with support of our partner, Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau, we have been able to develop and run small tutorial groups covering subjects ranging from typing skills, safe internet usage, setting up email accounts, using online video call facilities, and more.

With funding from ScrewFix and the Schuh Trust we have been able to refurbish our ground floor premises, including the kitchen facilities, and purchase a Smart TV as an additional resource for use by the internet café for training and information sessions.

The Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau was presented with the Action in Mind, Working Together award in 2016 in recognition of their tenacious support and contribution towards mental health and Action in Mind.

For more information please visit the Money & Benefits Advice Service page.

Future Pathways

Future Pathways supports in care abuse survivors. They help adults who were victims of historical abuse in a care setting in Scotland as children. Their aim is to help people to lead a happier and more fulfilled life.

Action in Mind is signed up as a support provider for Future Pathways, and is able to offer local support and counselling to people who had a negative experience in care as children. If you feel that you would qualify for support, contact Future Pathways and speak to someone in confidence about the kind of help and support that you feel would benefit you. Either via their website or by telephone on 0808 164 2005.

Working Well with Mental Health

Promoting positive mental health in the workplace

Work is a gateway that gives people opportunities to make real contributions to society through the purchase of their time, knowledge and skills.  Its benefits exceed monetary value as work also offers a sense of purpose, self-worth and self-esteem.

It can be hard for many of us to imagine what life would be like if we were denied or lost our jobs simply because we developed some mental health difficulties or had to step down from working because of chronic mental health illness. The road to mental health recovery through improved self-resilience and self-management is a difficult one, and for many a lifelong challenge.

Action in Mind was selected by the then, Scottish Parliament’s Community Partnership’s Project as one of five charities in Scotland to participate in their 12 month programme (2011-2012).
The purpose of the community partnerships Project was to help Scottish citizens to learn more about how the parliament works and how best to engage with its democratic process.  Each organisation had to identify and develop a themed area of work – we chose employment with the goal of encouraging employers to provide more effective mental health support in the workplace.  Our intention was to provide an employer’s guide based around the case studies of local employers drawn from local government, private and charity sectors.

Led by Michel Syrett and Suzy Johnson-Syrett, our mental health champions, and supported by our service users, we successfully achieved the production of the employers guide but also undertook a number of other activities:

  • discussions and meetings with elected members of the Scottish Parliament
  • meeting with the Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Mental Health
  • Parliamentary Questions and initiating a motion to the Scottish Parliament
  • presentation to the Scottish Parliament for Time for Reflection, 14 September 2011

The employer’s guide can be downloaded from the Information and Publication Page here.

Self-Directed Support

About Self-directed Support

The Social Care (Self-directed Support)(Scotland) Act 2013 (SDS) made provision for the implementation of Self-directed Support by all local authorities in Scotland from April 2014. Statutory guidance to the above Act, developed by Scottish Government with key partner organisations, was published in April 2014.

Self-directed Support proposes to be different from the way that people have previously been assessed for support and how that support has been delivered.  It is now required by law that the process of Self-directed Support assessment should be clearly person-focused and that people are helped to make informed choices about what kind of support best suits their needs, who provides that support and how that support is provided to them. It covers young people and adults, young and adult carers.

The Self-directed Support legislation places new duties and responsibilities on local authorities which are underpinned by four statutory principles as they apply to the initial assessment of need and to the provision of choice in order to meet those needs. They include:

  • Participation and dignity – these are core elements of independent living. Local authorities are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the supported person’s rights to dignity and to participate in community life are respected.  This principle applies both to the initial assessment of need and to the provision of choice as part of the wider support planning process.
  • Involvement – the supported person must have as much involvement as they wish in both the assessment and in the provision of support associated with that assessment.  
  • Informed Choice – the supported person must be provided with any assistance that is reasonably required to enable the person to express views about and to make an informed choice about their options for support.
  • Collaboration – the professional must collaborate with the supported person in their needs assessment and in the service provision to that person.

Who is eligible for Self-directed Support?

From April 2014 anyone seeking support and referred by a health or social care professional will be assessed under Self-directed Support eligibility criteria.  The eligibility criteria for adults consists of four categories:

  • Critical Risk – (high priority) indications must show that there are major risks to the person’s independence or health and well-being that is likely to require immediate or imminent provision of social care services
  • Substantial Risk – (high priority) indications must show that there are significant risks to the person’s independence or health and well-being that is likely to require immediate or imminent provision of social care services
  • Moderate Risk – that there are some risks which may require provision of some social care services, managed and priorities on an on-going basis or they may simply be manageable over the foreseeable future without service provision appropriate arrangement to review
  • Low Risk – there may be some quality of life issues, but a low risk.  There may be some need for alternative support or advice and appropriate arrangements to review over the foreseeable or longer term

If you have had an assessment of your care needs and have been assessed as needing services, you are very likely to be eligible for Self-directed Support. Any decision will also take into account a financial assessment of your personal income and you may be required to make a contribution towards your care.

How does it work?

This assessment will identify the help and care you need to live your life successfully and to keep you healthy and safe. This will involve you and your care manager, and may also involve others in your life such as family and friends.

Following this assessment you will be allocated a personal budget which will indicate how much money may be available to allow you to begin planning your support.

There are four options to choose from:

    1. Direct Payment - Your social services department provides you with a cash payment which is paid into a separate bank account for you to pay for the support you need. This can be used to employ staff at an agreed cost from a care agency or to employ your own support staff. This means that you take responsibility for all the terms and conditions of employment, insurances and plan cover for holidays and sickness, as well as ensuring staff are members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme)
    2. Individual Service Fund, Directing the Available Support - You choose your support and ask the social services department or another service provider to arrange and manage the budget for you. This means that you may not directly hold the funds allocated but that you direct how they are spent.
    3. Arranged Service - You ask your social services department to choose for you and arrange your support. You will be consulted about how best to arrange this and also your preferences on who provides this.
    4. Combined Support - You choose a combination of Options 1, 2 or 3 to build your support plan.

Developing your support

Once you know how much money is available to you, you will need to develop a support plan. This will help you gather information on how you want to spend your personal budget to help you live the life you want, and help you to look at what is important to you or at any changes that you may want to make in your life.

Once this plan has been agreed with your care manager, it will be reviewed at regular intervals to make sure it continues to meet your needs.

Organising your budget and support

When your support plan has been agreed, your care manager will arrange for the money to be paid either to you or to whoever you have agreed will manage the money for you. Your care and support can then be started.

Self-directed Support (SDS) and Mental Health: Capacity-building for third sector mental health providers (2012-2015).

This was a national three-year project led by the Mental Health Foundation (Scotland), in partnership with the Scottish Mental Health Cooperative, funded by Scottish Government.  

Action in Mind, working under the auspices of the Scottish Mental Health Cooperative, led on local activities and service user engagement across Stirling and Clackmannanshire planning and delivering two events, one for mental health service users and the second for professional service providers.   The concluding conference to present findings of the SDS project were presented at an event on the 30 September 2015.

Action in Mind produced a guide for local mental health service providers planning for self-directed support which was published in July 2015.  To download a copy of the guide go the Information and Publications Page.

Age in Mind (Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination of people over 50)

Age in Mind was a three-year project to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination of people over 50 in Scotland, a collaborative partnership between the Scottish Mental Health Cooperative, and funded by See Me – the national campaign to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.

Action in Mind was the lead organisation, working with and on behalf of the Scottish Mental Health Cooperative, delegated to deliver this project across Scotland.

The project’s key objectives was to identify areas of stigma and discrimination that directly impact on older people’s mental health and wellbeing and, through the model of change networks, to effect positive action and change.

Key activities and outcomes included:

The creation and development of four change networks – Central, Highland, East and West of Scotland.  These comprised older people with lived experience of mental illness, local groups and organisations.

Self-stigma workshops in Central and Highlands of Scotland which led to the creation of a self-stigma training package that can be delivered by older people themselves.

Promotion of mental health training within general nurse training, including research into the current situation and development of a simple training plan which will allow for standardisation of good practice in mental health training in all universities.  Initially this was being taken forward in meetings with Scottish government and Nurse Education in Scotland, and following completion of the project this was delegated to See Me.

Production of two short films about mental health stigma and discrimination within families.  Screenings took place during the Luminate Scotland and the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festivals in October 2017. Additional activities included film and animation workshops for Change Network members, particularly older people with lived experience of mental health difficulties, and a press campaign regarding family stigma  reported in the Glasgow Herald and also nine local newspapers, websites and social media.

Campaign to challenge upper age capping of mental health services at 65, and reduced services for people with functional mental health.

  • Awareness raising within local health and social care services
  • Meetings with MPs and MSPs, including the Minister for Health
  • Scottish Parliamentary event to draw attention to the mental health inequalities of people over 50 which attracted over 70 attendees
  • Participation at the Cross Party Working Group for Older People and Mental Health
  • Training in how the Scottish Parliament works and the processes of engagement with elected members of the Age in Mind Change Networks.

Stephen McLellan, Chair of the Scottish Mental Health Cooperative said:

“The Scottish Mental Health Cooperative were delighted to have worked in partnership with See Me on the Age in Mind project.  We feel that the joint work has added a considerable new perspective to the evolving narrative around age and mental health.
We are very appreciative of the coordinating and mentoring role which Action in Mind offered and how this contributed to the overall success of the project.” (Extracted from Action in Mind: Annual Review 2017-2018)

The Age in Mind project findings, along with published Literature Review, were presented at a closing event in October 2017 and can be accessed from our Information and Publications section on the Home Page.  The DVDs can be accessed from the Press and Media section on our Home Page.

Peer Mentoring for Mental Health Carers

Action in Mind’s project, Time & Space, as one of two delivery partners, the other was Glasgow Association for Mental Health’s project, Re-Connect, worked together with the Mental Health Foundation to deliver a three year pilot project, Peer Mentoring for Mental Health Carers across two locations, Stirling & Clackmannanshire and Glasgow City.  The project was funded by the Big Lottery.

Through secondment of a full-time peer support worker from the Mental Health Foundation, we were able to host a locally recruited member of staff to oversee the development of the project across both Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils, our first venture to work across both local authorities.  This was well-timed as it coincided with the establishment of the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership in 2014, and the forthcoming new carers’ legislation, the Carers (Scotland) Act 2018.

The project’s primary goal was to increase well-being of mental health carers through matching with a volunteer, also a carer at present or previously, newly trained as a mental health mentor.  

The project successfully achieved the Quality Award of the Scottish Mentoring Network which showed that it had applied good practice to all aspects of its work.  Assessments were based around six core quality practice elements:

  • matching purpose with performance
  • managing resources and accountability
  • putting the client first
  • providing committed mentors
  • employing skilled staff
  • active safeguarding

In brief, the project succeeded in achieving:

  • an innovative approach to mental health carer support, namely through volunteer carer mentoring
  • application of Penumbra’s I.R.O.C. (individual Recovery Outcome Counter) for enabling mentees to develop their own personal outcomes plan in their peer mentoring relationship
  • delivering short term support
  • dentification of, and inclusion of mental health carers not known to professional care services
  • the design, development and delivery of mental health peer mentor training module.

Julie Cameron, Head of Programmes, Mental Health Foundation (Scotland) said:

“Time and Space was a successful three year collaboration between Action in Mind and the Mental Health Foundation (April 2014 until September 2017).  With funding from the Big Lottery, Time & Space provided 1-2-1 mentoring to mental health carers.  The success of this project was down to a number of aspects, including the quality of staff and capabilities of the volunteers.

It was also due to the strong partnership working between the Mental Health Foundation and Action in Mind built on a clear understanding of our organisational strengths and a shared willingness to deliver an innovative approach.  The project was able to extend support available to mental health carers across Stirling and Clackmannanshire and test a new model of delivery where the skills and experience of mental health carers were placed centre stage.  The project was able to harness this by recruiting people with experience of caring or supporting a person in their life with mental health problems as volunteer mentors.  The training they received enabled this experience to be shared in a safe and thoughtful way to others at a different stage of the caring journey who required support.

The ethos of recognising carers’ skills was also evident in the use of peer research to evaluate the project.  This enabled existing volunteers to be trained into a paid peer research role.  This work is not only some of the best experiences I’ve had in working in partnership but was incredibly timely due to the focus on carers (Scotland) Act in 2018.  The learning from this project goes some way to demonstrate best practice on the core aims of the Act on carer engagement, health and wellbeing, early intervention and a focus on personal outcome for carers.  It also demonstrates how strong partnership working is the best way to ensure that these important aims are delivered.”

The project evaluation report (PDF) can be accessed on our Information & Publications page Or you can view the video on our Press & Media page.


> Download the findings and evaluation of the Pilot and Control Group PDF