Overcoming barriers to integrate self management across the Highlands
“If we can teach young people how to self manage, what a difference that will have in the future."
The integration of self management into the community is one of the core values of MySelf-Management. Having overcome barriers to harness partnership working, champion the voice of lived experience and encourage innovative transformation, MySelf-Management connect communities across the Highlands by educating, informing and supporting people to reap the benefits of self management.
Known as Let’s Get On With It Together (LGOWIT) until April 2023, MySelf-Management support people with long term health conditions by looking at the commonality of symptoms rather than specific conditions, highlighting that people are right at the centre. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MySelf-Management Highland introduced e-learning and transitioned towards online services, which Development Officer Kirsteen Campbell says has increased community involvement from across the Highlands.
“Our group members are at the centre of everything we do”, Kirsteen says. “Our Highland self management forum, which previously ran in-person in Inverness, now has a good attendance from other areas thanks to it being online.”
MySelf-Management run ‘Living Better’ groups across the Highlands, which provides group members with the space to get together, chat over a coffee and collaborate on activities both in-person and online, highlighting the emphasis on person centred services.
They also work in partnership across the sectors to ensure that communities become digitally literate, enabling them to access the support and services they need to maintain their self management online. This has seen the organisation run innovative Discover Digital drop-in sessions across the Highlands, whilst they have partnered with three youth organisations to provide education on preventative self management.
“We do a lot of partnership working, which is vital for networking”, Kirsteen says. “The young people decided it would be good to build a website for youths in Highland, and with changes to healthcare and the increase in services transitioning online, it’s important that everyone feels comfortable using technology and doesn’t get left behind.”
MySelf-Management have had to overcome many barriers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, including funding constraints and difficulty in maintaining an effective and meaningful service across parts of Highland – the largest region in Scotland. But thanks to quick and decisive action in transitioning their services to an online format, the charity have shown they are adaptable and versatile for the benefit of their members, again showcasing the value placed on community and person centred practice.
“Feedback from group members told us that they could not have coped without our support”, Kirsteen added. “As a team we were incredibly proud of how quickly we were able to turn things around, having operated as a face-to-face only project. The pandemic pushed us to try new things in order to support our group members through some of the toughest times we’ve ever faced.”
Despite facing further challenges such as high staff turnover, the resilience of MySelf-Management in overcoming these barriers has seen the charity secure funding from partners, including NHS Highland, to continue this community work. As a result, the charity remains committed to working across sectors to harness youth work, progress into new areas and strengthen core services, highlighting the determination to champion integrated ways of working.
“If we can teach young people how to self manage, what a difference that will have in the future”, Kirsteen added. “Preventative work is vital as we move forward, especially with increasing constraints on health and social care.”
You can find out more about the services and support offered by visiting the MySelf-Management website: https://www.myself-management.org
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