Gaun Yersel: Celebrating Self Management

Written by: Rhona Millar, Network Development Officer, the ALLIANCE

Rhona shares a quick summary of the Self Management Network Scotland national networking event.

Earlier in April we brought together our Self Management Network Scotland (SMNS) members for our largest ever national networking event at the Studio, Glasgow. The event was about creating a space for network members to meet one another, share learning and hear about the national context of self management but it was also about how we can collectively take the network forward.

Members heard at the event that the Self Management Network Scotland has grown to over 500 members across all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. Hitting this milestone was a prime opportunity to assess what role the network plays in influencing and supporting self management approaches to become embedded across health and social care, and what we can do to keep this momentum going.

We heard from a range of network members in lightning update sessions and it was clear that self management approaches take many different forms. You can read a summary from the members update here.

Stories from network members were gathered throughout the day from Mind Waves Community Correspondents. We wanted to hear from network members themselves about what does self management look like to individuals, what challenges they have experience and what support has made the biggest impact to how people self manage. Themes emerged such as the importance of having health professionals who understand your condition and that being involved in your community can play a role in helping people to successfully self manage. We are looking forward to sharing these on social media and will be part of an exhibition during Self Management Week 2018.

Health and social care integration remains high on the agenda, so network members got to grips with the integration process in the workshop ‘Understanding Integration’. Other members heard about the newly opened Self Management Fund, ‘Working Together to Strengthen Integration’ which aims to invest in the relationship between the third sector and health and social care partnerships.

Network members also saw the launch of the annual Self Management Awards, which are open for nominations now. You can celebrate individual stories, staff, projects, resources and partnerships who have championed self management approaches. For the first time, young people can be recognised for their self management journey in our Year of Young People – Self Management Award.

In our morning workshop network members looked at what makes a network successful and how the SMNS achieves these aims through its current activities. Discussions suggested that SMNS events and the opportunity to meet and hear from others about the self management work they are doing is helpful but more events outwith the central belt are needed; this is something we will definitely take forward over the coming year. The bulletin was also regarded as helpful but we can do more to improve – do you know that we can share your news or upcoming events you are hosting/involved in through the SMNS bulletin? Just drop me an email. Network members also shared a range of benefits they received from their involvement with the network. From support, skills, learning and information, peers, new ideas, funding, personal relationships, and as you would hope, networking opportunities! It was encouraging to hear, that the network has a sense of value to it’s members.

So how do we build on this for the future?

Network members tested ‘wildcard’ ideas; ideas that had been suggested at previous SMNS events or had come out of one to one meetings. We asked members to think about what would be needed to make this idea a reality, how would we know if it was useful, and what support could network members offer. A huge amount of information came out of this part of the workshop and there are some exciting ideas we are looking to take forward shortly such as digital events and a ‘Marketplace’ networking event. Other ideas we will be working towards over the next while, such as developing a base of SMNS volunteers who can share their self management story and special interest groups.

Other wildcard ideas that we proposed included Self Management Champions and developing a partnership/connection framework to link up network members. These may be longer term goals and development of how the ideas will form may be shaped by some of the shorter-term projects that come before them. It’s an exciting time, but as things progress network members will remain informed and be able to feed in and shape this work.

As we continue to reflect on next steps, an Action Plan for the Self Management Network Scotland will be formed and will be shared with members shortly. In the meantime, if you would like to feed in to this work or would like further information please contact Rhona Millar, Network Development Officer, rhona.millar@alliance-scotland.org.uk