Reflections from practitioners

On 9th October, we brought together the practitioners who have been testing the personal asset mapping tool together for the last time. At this session, we were keen to hear more about how they’d been getting on trialing the tool out in practice, as well as listening to their reflections on the process and being involved in the project overall.

Here are some of the things that practitioners said that they had learned in the project:

“How beneficial asset mapping can be to achieve individual goals”

“I’ve learned that I didn’t know some of my clients as well as I thought”

“How the tool can be used across the board, not just about mental health”

“Potential to use the maps with individuals and groups but needs buy-in from practitioners”

“That practitioners from different backgrounds are very skilled”

Similarly, we were aware that many of the practitioners involved in the project were very used to working within set-out processes, with validated tools and that working in an exploratory way would take them out of their comfort zone. We knew this might bring a number of challenges for the practitioners, which we were keen to understand better.

We asked practitioners about some of the fears that they’d overcome throughout the project process, and one of the clear themes was developing confidence – both in using the tool, but in their own skills as a practitioner. Some examples of other factors mentioned by the practitioners include:

“Overcame the people I support’s initial doubts about the project.”

“Overcome- lack of confidence in my knowledge.”

“Making something complex simple enough to explain.”

Practitioners were clear that there were still some barriers that would need to be overcome before the approach could be embedded in practice. These barriers included:

“The future. Where we go from here? Will the digital tool be used.? Selling asset mapping to staff.”

“Becoming more practiced in utilising the tool with others with different needs and support.”

“Follow up and engagement with people who use services”

“Adapting it so that it works for the majority or at least so they will try it.”

It was invaluable to get this feedback from the practitioners, and the project team will be considering these issues as we move the project forward – particularly that of ‘selling’ and communicating the goals and outcomes of the process to other practitioners working locally.

As part of the project evaluation, and understanding the worth of the process, we will, of course, be following up with individuals to find out how they felt about their experience of being involved in the project, to understand if they felt differently after having gone through the asset mapping process and to determine any changes they might have made as a result of this. A full report will be available in due course.

We are also working together with the Connections (The Richmond Fellowship) peer-support group to develop the next prototype of the digital tool, ensuring that people who use services are at the centre of the development process.

We’d like to thank all of the people who were involved in testing the tool and process in practice – your hard work, commitment and openness has made the project possible.

Mapping Edinburgh’s Self Management Resources

One of the things that we are really keen to do is to share the learning from this Kirkintilloch project far and wide so that others can use and adapt the process that we’ve gone through to better understand the resources that are available in the communities in which they live.

We were invited to come along and give a presentation about the project at the ALISS (Access to Local Information to Support Self-management) event on Tuesday 25th October.

One of the things we did was to showcase some of the different approaches to mapping that we tested in Kirkintilloch. Some photographs from the event are available here:

This was just a taster session and I think we were a bit ambitious to think that we could begin to map out some of Edinburgh’s self-management resources in a little hour session. It was mostly about showing people a new approach, and giving people a method for which to start thinking about collecting the different resources that are available, as well as learning something new about the area in which they work. We came away with a wealth of knowledge and information which will give a helpful baseline for which to build on.

This wide range of ‘assets’ or resources, came out of conversations, scribbles, post-its and using 3D shapes. Maybe they popped into peoples’ heads when something related was mentioned or when they spotted something on the map, but what it seemed to do was to help people think about self-management in the widest possible sense – enabling them to think outside of ‘traditional services’. And that is one of the things we like best about using assets as an approach – it is not just about positive language it is reframing how people think.

Beyond developing a map of resources, we’ve also found the process to be useful in  promoting connections or relationships between individuals, between individuals and organisations and between organisations. This certainly seemed to be happening on the day, there was a really good buzz in the room – with even some talk about establishing a local network of people interested in self-management.

We asked people how they found going through the process and received a really positive response. Additionally, there were lots of suggestions as to how it could further be developed, including:

  • colour coding the different categories of assets
  • ensuring that the areas that we choose to map are at the right size and are not overwhelming for participants
  • involving people who use services to understand their experiences of the different resources mapped

More soon.