Episode 4 – ‘Barriers to accessing crisis services.’
Hosts – Arlie (Suicide Prevention Coproduction Project Co-ordinator at Leeds Mind) and Ryan (volunteer)
Volunteers – James, Abi and Andrew
What hope staff will get out of this episode:
Abi – ‘I hope staff find it useful to hear some first-person perspectives from people who have been in crisis and tried to access services. I hope they know that we do sympathise with a lot of the difficulties within the system. We are creating this series to help them and work with them. We aren’t against them, and I hope we can make some progress together’.
Andrew – ‘I hope staff get from this that we are all on the same side, and we want this to work… for everyone involved. I want staff to be well and able to do their jobs as much as anyone else… we totally appreciate that they must go through all sorts of issues doing what they do. This is for everyone’.
During this episode, volunteers explore the theme of barriers within crisis services. They approach this from the perspective of people with lived experience, and also explore some of the barriers individual staff might feel when delivering crisis services in a struggling system. Volunteers offer personal recommendations for staff to adopt in the everyday practice, to support people most effectively, whilst perhaps being up against bigger systemic challenges.
Main takeaways from the volunteers' discussions:
- First impressions count. A negative first encounter with a service can make people in the community feel like services aren’t for them, and prevent them from accessing support in the future.
- Community members understand that a lot of the issues around accessing crisis services is a consequence of cuts to public services and austerity, not the fault of individual staff. However, staff do play a significant role in crisis services, and there are things staff can do within their personal practice that can make mental health support more meaningful and accessible to people in the community.
- Genuine empathy and support from staff doesn’t go unnoticed, and is appreciated by those accessing crisis services. The volunteers stressed 'we are on the same side'.