The History of H.A.Y.
How Are You began as part of the NHS England Mental Health Transformation project in Peterborough. It has – and continues to be – a constant journey of coproduction. We started in a room full of local Peterborough people, and threw them the challenge of what mental health support really meant to them. The room became buzzing with energy and covered in postit notes. So then we asked everyone what we should do with the extraordinary knowledge we’d managed to gather that afternoon – because it became apparent it was true local knowledge. We weren’t just hearing about organised activities that were all ready well listed. We were finding out about the groups that had no poster, no website – but provided the best possible community support. We were hearing about more formal activities that were brilliant but perhaps felt hard to go to that very first time. And gradually the brief that became first H.A.Y. Peterborough and then later H.A.Y. Cambridgeshire & Peterborough became clear.
We were given three very clear steers from that initial coproduction event.
Firstly, we were asked to create a website on a truly local level. One that understood it’s local community. Valued it. Celebrated it! A website that would constantly listen, that would change as and when needs changed, that would never be finished and always seek to hear more from the people it hoped to serve.
Secondly we were asked to make something that didn’t feel too mental-health-y. We had the most brilliant discussion around barriers to accessing mental health support – and something rang out. One of the biggest barriers was the phrase “mental health” itself. We knew people who felt comfortable looking for support defined in that way were already getting their needs met by other local resources. We were asked to take a different approach.
Then finally we were challenged to go further than providing a directory. Again, if a “list of stuff” was what someone needed, that already existed. But so many conversations in that initial coproduction event, and the copro groups that followed that and helped us shape the design for the site, led to the same thing: knowledge is rarely the gap that stops people accessing support. What we need is to help people actually taking those first steps, opening that door, walking in somewhere new and meeting new people. So we filled our websites with introduction videos from activity organisers. We try to give you “walk in” videos so that you can practice walking through that door virtually first, to help make it just a touch easier when you go for real.
The H.A.Y. team have been busy ever since seeking out the gems in the local community that boost wellbeing. But we don’t stop there. We take that knowledge and very proactively share it with clinical colleagues working in mental health services, with the teams working in GP surgeries, with our professional friends working across council teams, with the brilliant VCSE organisations in our county – and of course with you, the general public. The team is frequently out at events talking about community activities, groups and services. And they are sitting in professional meetings helping those supporting others to know what is happening and what might benefit those in their care. But most importantly we don’t just talk about what we know. We listen. We ask questions where we can’t find solutions. We do all we can to help you take care of you.
H.A.Y. shares details of any activity, group or service in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough who provide a wellbeing boost to local people.
To send us details of your activity so we can include you in H.A.Y., please complete this form.