Archive for July, 2009

Information for Information’s Sake

I work at Information for Mental Health.  We’re based in Leeds, that doesn’t make a lot of difference other than it’s a geographical fact.  In terms of how I perceive what IMH does – it takes a complex overview of the City’s mental health services – including Medical, Statutory and Voluntary Sector (we term it – mental health in it’s broadest sense) and puts that together from the perspective of the end user.

What services offer is one thing.  How people define themselves and therefore how and what they look for as a solution is different.    We maintain that as our starting point and if we have expertise, that’s where it is. Developing a system that people can use, based on how they might choose to look for information on specific services, though localised is somewhat straightforward to think about in terms of a  National (or even International)  picture.  It’s simply a question of scale.

The inter-connection between the medicalised and broader spectrum of services is fundamental to providing relevant choice to both service users and those providing services .  Housing, money, environment, skills, creativity,  and personal fullfilment are fundamental to positive mental health.  Information on the services supporting individuals to flourish in these areas is also vital systemically.   But how do we integrate this successfully with transparency and simplicity  that enables successful navigation of both medical and non-medical mental health services within one system?  Or even, can we?

On top of that, how do we ensure it remains rooted in what makes sense to the end user? Can we solve the complexities of a system in a simple way (simple – not simplistic) whilst focusing on the premise of the user –  who are you, how do you define yourself and what do you want?

Sometimes people don’t know what they want, they don’t know what’s possible.  Sometimes they only know what’s wrong and what they don’t want.  It isn’t always about systems providing answers – asking the right questions is much more fundamental.

And on that note here’s my main question of questions at the moment –

What next?

Kate Brown



July 2009
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