What does ‘information’ really mean; what is the value of data and what structures are we willing to work within? These questions and others were raised at the Bid Development Day held at Lift Islington. On 19th November people from around the country, from different disciplines and experiences came together to discuss the next stage of the Knowledge Hub tender.
Six groups attended the Bid Development Day including: academics; practioners; lived experience; media and advocacy groups. Lankelly staff members and a Trustee were available to answer questions, which also provided an opportunity to hear some of the challenges envisaged by the bidders.
The Knowledge Hub will seek ways to address the systemic and structural betrayal of black and ethnic minority mental health.
Evelyn Asante-Mensah, Lankelly Chase Trustee, and also Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission introduced the day. She flagged the importance of recognising that data already exists on BAME and mental health but there is a lack of clarity about its use and also historical alienation of the people who use the existing services.
‘We have a history of working with ethnicity and mental health,’ said Cathy Stancer, Director, Equalities and Human Rights. ‘We are entirely committed to using our intellectual and financial resources to people tackling severe and multiple disadvantage. The people at the margins of society.’
Cathy Stancer, leader of the tender process emphasised how impressive the calibre of responses were and from a diverse range of organisations across the country.
Challenges and Opportunities: Defining the scope
The tender is an opportunity for potential bidders to set-out the parameters and priorities of the work. During the day, questions were raised including geographical coverage; working relationships with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; financial capacity; targeted audience; governance and the level of risk that Lankelly is prepared to take on.
‘The very act of collecting data could be seen as radical in itself,’ said Professor Sashi Sashidharan, Psychiatry, University of Glasgow. ‘Historically people have not been given the power to speak. This is an opportunity to move away from a prescribed way of operating.’
Currently, the tender process is being overseen by a core group of Lankelly Trustees. As the Knowledge Hub develops, its governance will become more independent and an oversight body will be established.
Data, data everywhere: What happened to the person-centred approach
‘We are forever being assessed, a lot of data about the community already exists’ Hyacinth Ricketts, Mental Health Practioner, African and Caribbean Mental Health Services. ‘What is it used for? People are tired of being observed.’
The tender is an outcome of several years of discussion and work. Focusing on change, we know that work needs to start on making the data count while also bridging the divide between policy and practise.
At Lankelly Chase we recognise that many people are not represented within the official data. Many of the people who ought to be accessing services, instead rely on their own resilience, drawing on their own resources and networks to live their lives.
Armed with brightly coloured pens, and brainstorming with people not in their proposal groups, attendees brainstormed: 1. Why is the issue important 2. Why does it exist and 3. Why do you care?
‘The services are not working for a large group of people,’ Professor Brian Brown, Health Communications, De Montfort University. ‘It’s not just about being a service user. It’s not a benign experience. It’s about enabling people to live more rewarding lives, without pinning pathological identities onto people.’
The increasing feeling of alienation that many people experience, was raised throughout the day. Be it from the need to be able to access services online to young men coming out of prison with no support services or mentoring.
And as for why do you care? Well, that was pretty much summed up by Jayasree Kalathil, National Survivor User Network (NSUN). Her response, ‘Do I really need to answer that?’
Beyond issues of social justice, the right to a rewarding life, we should all care because inequality and exclusion destroys lives and weakens society. We have high hopes for the Knowledge Hub. After last week, we are more motivated than ever to continue to build the momentum for change.
In recognition of the time consuming nature of the bidding process, Lankelly Chase is offering each group who attended the Bid Development day £1000 in support fees.
Final proposals to be submitted: January 29th
To join in the conversation please go to @lankellychase #eimhtender
We would like to thank Cassie Robinson, Point People, for facilitating the day.