"Our vision remains, take some suffering out of the world, put some kindness back in."
COPE Scotland’s aim is to find new and better ways to promote mental wellbeing, reduce suffering and offer new tools and insights which support self-management led by experts by experience and to share what we learn with others to adopt and adapt for themselves, their families, communities, groups, and organisations and that in time we are no longer needed.
Our risk management co designed with the voices of lived experience had systems in place if we needed to move from a direct face to face service to a phone service so transitioned easily. We totally recognise not everyone wants a phone service; however, we did the best we could to meet people’s needs and expectations. Many people found the flexibility offered by a phone service suited their needs better. So much so that we will not be returning to face to face, the one-to-one service is now by phone. We noticed an increase on activity online so adapted how we connect virtually through online workshops, new wellbeing materials and working with partners to support people to get online. We found twitter to be a medium where new networks were formed and also connections with individuals.
We have always supported parents and carers however, during the pandemic we noticed an increase in parents and carers coming to us for support, perhaps the more flexible phone appointments and appointment times worked better for creating space for their wellbeing needs.
There were challenges for the people we supported around accessing other health related services which were beyond the scope of what we could offer, also, issues with housing and neighbours exacerbated by lockdown as well as isolation. We did what we could, worked with partners where we alone weren’t enough and adapted where we could e.g., offering touching base phone calls, for a blether.
Our ambition was never to grow an empire but an idea. New services emerge regularly that are including mental wellbeing in their menu of support, there are more peer support and changes in procurement with how the health board fund the sector. We shall phase out the one to one we offer over the next 2 years as others are now offering this. We aim to share our learning with others to adopt and adapt more widely as this is something we are often asked. Beyond that would be exploring wider public health promotion online and then perhaps that is the end of the charity, there are others there now to carry the baton the next step of the way.
A more secure landscape for the third sector is needed so they don’t need to constantly be chasing grants and trying to keep the services going which are no longer funded; but people want to see. Also, to offer the same security of employment other colleagues in health and social care may have, who perhaps don’t face redundancy on such a regular basis. There needs to be a recognition of the enterprise within the sector to try out a new idea to then share widely so that funding has a beginning a middle and an end and there needs to be a way the sector doesn’t need to compete within itself for survival.
This pandemic shone a light on the need for everyone to have some self-management tools to refer to as while self-management doesn’t mean people have to do it alone. Having tools and awareness to maintain wellbeing during a time of crisis, means perhaps people suffer less. Our vision remains, take some suffering out of the world, put some kindness back in.
To learn more about COPE Scotland’s work during the pandemic visit their website (this link will take you away from our website).