Emerging Minds, Australia, 2018
Striving for excellence
Quality improvement involves continually seeking feedback from child and family partnerships through a variety of methods. Be open to critical feedback and remember that in mistakes are learnings that will allow you to strive for continual improvement.
Some tips for quality improvement of your child and family partnerships are:
- Know that your organisation is not the expert – be open and comfortable with feedback and criticism. Acknowledge where you fall short and strive to improve.
- Make an ongoing commitment to evaluating what works and what doesn’t and share this knowledge with other organisations when possible.
- Use different mechanisms to gather feedback: internal review, external review, surveys, phone consultations, face-to-face meetings, workshops and personal reflections.
- Ensure to seek feedback after each meeting or period of significant work. A survey followed up by a phone call is an effective process. An anonymous survey may help to collect information that some people may find difficult sharing if identified. You may consider using this template.
- Be transparent with your partnerships – no one does this perfectly, no one has all the answers. Your strength is in your willingness to receive feedback and continually improve.
- Remember the importance of trying to do the right thing, learning from your mistakes and trying to do it better next time.
- See some examples positive and critical feedback below.
Some examples of positive feedback are:
- I had an amazing time. It taught me so much and also allowed my experience to be heard. It was amazing on a personal level and to also know that what I went through could be used to help others in similar circumstances. It also allowed me to network and link in with my local mental health services which was special to be able to do work with them also.
- I thought it provided us with opportunities to connect with other like-minded individuals interested in providing education materials to others that we through our experiences recognised was not always readily available. The positive environment created by the coordinator and the selection of progressive members of the team allowed for a healthy exchange of ideas on what the resources needed to reach people and answer vital questions many have about mental illness.
- I really enjoyed it. It was so worthwhile being able to share my experience in a supportive environment, both from the staff and other lived experience members. It taught me valuable skills about resource development and I felt empowered being able to use my experiences to support other families going through similar things.
- Overall, it was an excellent experience to feel, at my stage of life, that I had a forum; I could give something back of my experience as a child and adolescent that was listened to, understood and valued.
- It was one of the most enjoyable times I have had. Meeting wonderful people and sharing experiences and thoughts. Creating material that has helped many families and useful tools for clinicians. Created in a way that was relevant and user friendly and in a language that could be readily understood.
- I liked the idea that my experiences were out there as a source of support for kids going through the same thing. I also liked the idea that my story was helping to shape how services were delivered to children whose parents have mental health issues.
- I appreciated being able to provide information that might help other people. I was grateful for the monetary or gift card compensation; it gave me additional motivation to find time in my busy life to complete the surveys.
- I enjoyed being able to share my story and assist others.
- The organisation was phenomenal. There was always a lot of content to get through so adequate breaks were good. Because it does bring up triggers and emotional things. It’s always a challenge to stay on task with this also. Staff were beyond supportive and made the trip and travel and work a great experience.
- I think the face-to-face conferences were very well organised. Flights, accommodation, etc. Leaving not much for us to organise ourselves except pack our bags and bring our lived experience.
Some examples of critical feedback are:
- Cramming a lot of content in can be quite exhausting. Not staying on task, which isn’t always easy in a group situation, especially with lived experience.
- I felt like teleconferences were hard in ways … sometimes I felt like I butted in on someone speaking, other times I would hold back because I wouldn’t want to appear overbearing.
- Sometimes having people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences discussing deeply personal things in the same room can lead to disagreements and conflict. The staff always attempted to manage this well and made me feel like my voice was important. However, this can still be difficult sometimes and I think just understanding the different personalities and experiences you are bringing together and how they might clash would be beneficial for future discussions.
- Not enough inclusion in the design of the strategy of the initiative for those of us interested. I would like to have seen us have a rotating position on the board or some other part of the organisation … Felt like us and them at times with some one or two privileged of ‘us’ being able to participate at another level.
- Some of the surveys were really long. It would be better to have a series of shorter surveys than one long one.
- More face-to-face experiences to provide feedback.
- On rare occasions a facilitator or participant would make a judgemental comment about certain aspects of a participant’s lived experience and/or personal views. I would recommend setting strong boundaries on personal attacks or judgemental comments amongst facilitators and participants.
- Not getting a chance to express our lived experience to people in higher places face-to-face.
- The phone interviews had less order in regards to allowing representatives to voice their opinion in succession.
- I don’t remember getting any information on how the stories were used (it’s been a while though).