Advancing Mental Health Equity Collaborative: Waves 1 & 2

Waves 1 and 2 of the three-year Advancing Mental Health Equity (AMHE) Collaborative launched in July 2021 and October 2022 with an aim to support mental health care providers to advancing mental health equity in their local areas.

The collaborative, part of the RCPsych Equality Action Plan, has provided a fantastic opportunity to access expert support and guidance to tackle a difficult but extremely important area in the push for better mental health care for all.

Participating organisations are receiving support to implement the AMHE resource, using tried and tested quality improvement methodologies. The programme includes tailored support for each organisation to:

  • understand their local population and identify groups and inequalities to focus on (a maximum of three to start)
  • form a project team per population who are responsible for leading the work (project teams will include people who work in the organisation and people from the population of focus)
  • work with each population to adapt our programme level theory of change to create a co-produced driver diagram as to how the organisation can improve access, experience and outcomes for the population
  • co-produce a measurement strategy to demonstrate the impact of the changes that will be introduced
  • test ideas on how to improve access, experience and outcomes using a systematic approach and measure the impact of these changes
  • scale up the changes that have led to improvement
  • evaluate what has been implemented and celebrate successes
  • ensure the changes and approach to this work are sustained, as taking part in the AMHE collaborative marks the start of an organisation’s journey to improving mental health care, treatment and support for people at risk of experiencing inequalities and inequity.

In addition to dedicated support from a Quality Improvement Coach, participating organisations also have access to:

  • a community of people who have, and are developing, expertise in advancing equality and problem solving
  • a network of professionals who are working together to achieve greater mental health equality in their local areas
  • a number of experts with knowledge of areas of inequality and inequity 
  • the team who developed the AMHE resource.

Our learning community comes together four times a year to share their learning. You can view the presentations from these events as well as other resources.

For more information about the programme, please see the AMHE Collaborative Wave 2 Support Offer

If you have any questions, please contact the team at AMHE@rcpsych.ac.uk.

Wave 1 & 2 Case Studies

The Magpie Project

With the largest Korean community outside of South or North Korea living in the borough of Kingston, Mind in Kingston sought to address historical racial inequalities in mental health provision locally, using principles of co-production and lived experience leadership. 

In 2020, they began the journey of developing culturally-appropriate, tailored mental health support to the large and diverse Korean population living in their area. The Magpie Project was formally launched in January 2022, following a research and co-production period with partners and stakeholders from their local Korean community. All findings confirmed that the health inequalities faced by the Kingston Korean community were underpinned by a combination 

of factors; including lack of mainstream service accessibility (especially in mental health), language barriers, and cultural barriers such as stigma and shame.

Local Korean voices also highlighted the differing cultural understanding of the concept of mental health or mental illness, and indeed the lack of direct translations of the concept between English and Korean. These and other complex 

factors combined to result in the dangerous reality that many Korean individuals locally felt they were not able to speak openly about mental health and did not have mental health support available to them. 

Mind in Kingston heard many examples of individuals opting to travel back to South Korea if they could afford it, to access mental health support in their home country, as they faced too many barriers here in the UK. 

One example of the lack of support available, was that whilst the NHS signposts mental health information from the Royal College of Psychiatry in 28 languages, Korean is not one of them (despite it being the second most spoken language in the borough of Kingston.)

The Magpie Project now consists of bilingual (Korean and English) staff and volunteers, who provide emotional and mental wellbeing support, through a diverse range of support methods and services. Critically, the Magpie Project provides a range of safe, confidential, and non-judgemental spaces where individuals from the Korean diaspora can seek solace, advice, and support, in their own language. The team provides this through 1:1 Counselling; physical and wellbeing activities; a weekly Drop-in Café, mental health awareness sessions and 1:1 signposting sessions about support services and wellbeing. The team also sensitively translate and promote materials that are culturally appropriate to the community.The aims of the Magpie Project are to promote the concept of positive mental health and 

improve quality of life for those who need wellbeing support. The Magpie Project is open to anyone of Korean heritage living, studying and working in the borough, including (but not limited to) those of South Korean, North Korean, Chinese Korean and British Korean heritage. 

After several years of building trust and connections, in 2023 Mind in Kingston was honoured to support the community to lead on production of a ground-breaking video which features community leaders with the aim of challenging mental health stigma and discrimination. 


 

Barriers to Accessing Veterans Specific Services project

The project aims to increase the number of referrals of women into veteran’s services from 5% to 11% and increase the number of veterans who remain engaged with mental health services by March 2024. The AMHE work will help the team build on designing and providing new women specific pathways within veteran’s specialist services. 

Over the course of the collaborative, the team’s evidence shows many women veterans do not access, nor remain engaged with, mental health services. Have a look at the summary developed by the team on the progress of their work so far:

Objectives 

  • We will increase referrals of women into NW veterans’ services from 5% to 11% and increase the number of women veterans who remain engaged with mental health services by March 2024
  • Reduce DNA (Do not attend) rates and maintain our supportive relationships (for sustained mental wellbeing) for veterans reducing the longevity and severity of their conditions
  • Provide new women specific pathways within veteran’s specialist service.

What we are doing

  • Thematic analysis of current data within veteran specific services versus local population data and local population mental health data
  • Systematic review of current literature and research relating to women veterans, access to service, barrier to access and service attributable mental health themes in the women veteran’s cohort

Achievements & learning

  • Dedicated Project team established including Lead Psychologist; Specialist Psychotherapist, Data lead, Operations Manager and the recruitment of a volunteer research assistant
  • Linked with key stakeholders nationally both of research teams and providers of services to support recruitment into focus groups and learning from similar projects across the geography
  • Systematic review completed and thematic analysis of 12 years of psychological dataset underway

Next Steps

  • NHS Ethics committee approval so, we can take forward as a research proposal also
  • Undertake focus groups with women veterans. The aim of the focus groups is to understand how women veterans would like to engage in the work, and to help develop women specific pathways and shape veteran’s specialist service. The focus groups will be be led by people with lived experience and will utilise themes from the Office for Veterans Affairs (Cabinet) Veterans Strategy Action Plan 2022-2024. 
The aim of this project is for all patients admitted to the Bluestone Inpatient Unit who require an interpreting service 

by June 2024, to be able to self refer to Interpreting Services NI and have full access to this during their admission and post-discharge. 

The work has been established due to a recognised need for high-quality care, more responsible services which take 

into account language barriers to avoid medication errors and communication issues where English is not a first language.

As part of the project, the team have made an amendment to appointment letters to highlight the offering of interpreting services. The team are also looking to develop a one page leaflet/slip for wards to give at the point of discharge so patients know how to access interpreting services in other services (e.g. outpatient).

You can learn more about this initiative in the slides presented in the June 2023 learning set.

Mind in Kingston identified that many of their members who identified as being both Neurodivergent and having a mental health condition, were facing an intersection of challenges which impacted negatively on their experience and the accessibility of mental health support. Modelling the principles of co-production, Mind in Kingston recruited five Lived Experience Champions from the neurodivergent community. Within this group, there was a diversity of experience and identities, with individuals identifying as being Autistic, having ADHD and/or having multiple learning difficulties. 

Following recruitment, Mind in Kingston consulted with each Champion on their accessibility and communication needs and preferences, to identify how best they could feel empowered to engage with the project.

The Champions took part in 12-weeks of focus groups; co-production focused with an element of peer support included. Staff members from Mind in Kingston supported the sessions, with the primary aim being to listen and learn from the Champion’s experiences of accessing mental health services and their views on potential quality improvements that could be made. As the work progressed, an overarching aim for Mind in Kingston was co-produced and the project resulted in several recommendations and change ideas for the organisation; “To improve the accessibility and experience of mental health services for people who are neurodivergent”.

Wave 1 & 2 Team Driver Diagrams

Q&A webinar recordings

24 March 2021

Below you can watch a session we held for senior leaders of organisations providing mental health care across England and the Devolved Nations, to find out more about the Advancing Mental Health Equality Improvement Collaborative. Speakers include Adrian James, Shubulade Smith and Amar Shah.

27 June 2022

Below you can watch a recording of the AMHE Collaborative wave 2 Q&A event, and hear from Dr Adrian James (former President of Royal College of Psychiatrists), Dr Raj Mohan (Presidential Lead on Race Equality) Emily Cannon (Head of QI NCCMH) and Dr Amar Shah (National Improvement Lead for Mental Health Royal College of Psychiatrists)