Project Updates

Going from 10 improvement ideas to 5

Over the past few months we have been busy working hard on Moving on Mental Health in Dufferin Wellington. Stakeholders (providers, leaders, parents and related social services) have been coming together to turn our insights into actions. We have been using a human-centred design process to guide this work.

In June and July we spent time together thinking about how we might improve services and experiences for children, youth and families. We all know there are a ton of things we can do better, which makes it hard to find a place to start. Thankfully the design process helped us focus on what matters to stakeholders and lead us to coming up with 10 high level ideas how we might improve:

We then used a process that forced us to really think about each idea in more detail. We identified:

  • The problem each idea was trying to solve
  • How the idea might improve things
  • How we’ll measure improvements
  • Added more details around what the idea might actually look like
  • Figured out possible ways we might actually test it

This process reminded me a lot of my grade 6 science experiment, minus the static electricity. We came up with a hypothesis, a way to measure our hypothesis, and a method to test it. It was actually far more rigid than I expected, and certainly made me think critically about each idea.

We had some great debates and conversations among the prototyping team which led us to combine and extend several of the initial ideas. We documented everything as we went so that anyone can understand our thinking at the time. We drew sketches of the ideas to help communicate them to others. We also came up with proto-personas (short for prototype personas), a representation of a stakeholder we might want to test the idea with.

We then took a step back and looked at what we had. We landed on 5 ideas that we thought we could move forward with testing in the time that we have. We put 3 in the parking lot for later to be sure we don’t forget about them even if we can’t do them right now. Here’s how all of that looks:

This is a snapshot of where we're at right now. We’re in the process of refining these ideas and packaging it all up in a way that supports the Moving on Mental Health Steering Committee in making decisions about where we should go from here. The Steering Committee will consider what impact these different ideas could have on our children’s/youth mental health system in Dufferin Wellington, and which one or two ideas have the greatest potential to improve the experiences of children, youth and the people who care for them when they need to approach an organization for a service or support. 

Once we've chosen one or two ideas, we’ll work with stakeholders to build them quickly and cheaply, and then take them out for feedback. This lets us know if we’re on the right track without spending a lot of time or money making sure the idea is ‘perfect’. It also allows us to quickly change the ideas and adapt them based on real feedback from our stakeholders. It should be a fun and eye-opening experience! We’ll keep you updated on the blog as we go. 

Transparency is key--this blog is where we share our learnings, failures, and successes

We've already learned so much through this initiative and we have a lot more to come! It's so important to us that we're not the only ones learning from this process--just because you're not in the room at our meetings doesn't mean we can't all benefit! This is why we've created this blog--to share openly about this process with everyone involved in our work; with other communities working on similar initiatives; and for anyone working to apply design philosophy, tools and methods to complex problems.

It's a messy and incredible space to be working in, and we're always learning. This blog is where we'll post about what we're doing, what we're learning, where we've failed, and where we've succeeded. Our goal is to always learn and evolve our ideas, and when we fail, to fail forward. That's why we've created a dedicated space for transparency, openness, feedback, and growth--it helps all of us learn from the process, and stay accountable to why we're here! 

Join us as we work to improve the child and youth mental health system in Dufferin Wellington!

Read Our Report on Phase One

The Insights Report has been finalized and submitted to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services along with the completed Community Mental Health Plan for Children and Youth, and the Core Services Delivery Plan.

The Insights Report outlines what we did for this phase of the project, and what we learned. It paints a common vision for the child and youth mental health system in Wellington Dufferin over the next three years and beyond, and describes the three priorities for CMHA WWD to focus on over the next year as the Lead Agency. 

Acting on these priorities and what was learned will continue to be a collaborative effort involving CMHA WWD, many community partners, and most importantly, children, youth and families with mental health needs. Please check back for more information on next steps.

If you have questions or comments about this report, please get in touch with Heather or Kate.

We are Deeply Grateful to Everyone Who Contributed

The success of this project relied on the participation and openness of people who’ve had experience with the child and youth mental health service system. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the youth and families who so generously gave their time and shared parts of their stories so openly, in a courageous effort to improve this system, largely for the benefit of others. The strength and love that was observed throughout this engagement process was incredibly moving, and we wish continued hope, strength, and support to the youth and families that participated. 

We would also like to thank the many community partners who contributed to this project. Although CMHA WWD will continue to act as a facilitator within the child and youth mental health system in Wellington Dufferin, its success relies on ongoing collaboration with its community partners. We are extremely grateful for their continued enthusiasm and involvement.

Phase One Engagement is Complete

All engagement with children, youth, families, and service providers has been completed for Phase One. A draft Insights Report is in the final stages of revisions, and will be submitted to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services by March 31, 2016. This report describes what was learned during this initiative and the three priorities that CMHA WWD will focus on over the next year as Lead Agency. Please check back for further updates as this report is finalized.