The first day of the 26th TheMHS conference has been very inspirational.
Te Pou’s Emma Wood paired well with Platform’s Philippa Gaines in their featured symposium to explore how services and leaders can work better together. This symposium proved very popular with about 50 mental health and addiction leaders participating.
Emma and Phillipa focused on how to connect and collaborate in order to deliver better outcomes for people who need or use services. The audience was challenged to generate better ideas by getting more people involved in their initiatives and to be:
- conscious of possibilities
- goal driven.
What does it look like?
To be effective collaboration needs to occur at various levels of the service system and often is most effective when it happens simultaneously from the bottom up and the top down. This is a paradox I think we need to be more comfortable with.
The audience worked in small groups throughout the workshop to describe and share examples of barriers and enablers of collaboration. Examples were discussed from Christchurch following the earthquakes, from the rural health alliance, the peer support workforce, and from various examples of how schools can function as hubs for vibrant communities. So – what stops us from working this way? Regardless of the obstacles, which are many, the solution has a lot to do with being authentic!
Are you ready?
A ‘collaborative-ready workforce’ needs to bring their real personality to work. The peer workforce has a mandate to do this already because their lived experience is highly valued. Others of us may have been encouraged in our professional development to be objective, dispassionate and analytical in our work. However, if these traits result in a lack of ‘authentic trust’ we might need to rediscover our humanity to be more effective in our work.
Creating fresh possibilities
The parting message from Emma and Philippa was to create fresh possibilities – make a commitment to do something differently.
My challenge is to invest more time in building collaborations in my area of work. Please keep me ‘on task’ by asking me to be even more specific about this goal.