Last month, Inspire finalised its response to the Department of Health’s consultation on the new draft 10-year mental health strategy.

We were committed to basing that submission – entitled No Broken Promises – on the contributions of two crucial groups: the people who use our services and the staff who support them. In order to do that, we hosted a wide-ranging engagement process within the organisation, throughout February and early March.

Discussions took place during team meetings and staff members encouraged those who use our services to have their say and get involved. We created an online survey and facilitated virtual feedback sessions via Microsoft Teams, with respondents using our interactive and easy-read toolkits to record their thoughts on the draft strategy’s themes and actions points.

Replies, letters, poems and case studies came in from across Inspire: specialist, condition-based services; floating support; advocates and patients; community-based services, counsellors and psychiatrists; the addiction team; supported-living staff and residents; human resources; and professional development. The detail and insight produced by this internal dialogue proved invaluable, affording us a rich source of information and ideas.

Our priority was to convey the voice of lived experience to high-level decision makers and the document we sent to the Department is very much part of that promise. It is built on the views of our colleagues and those who use our services – the individuals who make up Inspire.

They told us a story, one shaped by people who are completely engaged with the issues at hand. All of them stand ready, and willing, to make the system work; they believe in our potential to craft a world-class service that fosters good mental health and wellbeing for all. The Department should be guided by this knowledge when enacting a strategy upon which much hope now rests.

To read No Broken Promises, click here.