Services with Heart: Mental Health System Reform

So, at the recent Service Integration Conference in Pt Lincoln, I was explaining what I do and finding that there was great enthusiasm for my networks. Someone asked me if I had written my model down yet. That night I woke after 2 hours sleep with a lot of the model in my head wanting to be written. About 8 hours of writing later I had the first draft. This is not exactly what I was expecting to come from the conference with! I’ve shown it to a few people and received a really warm, and also valuably critical response. I also have a friend and mentor on board who thinks ‘bigger picture’ like me and is keen to develop the model with me. So that’s becoming a new key project I’m working on. Here’s a little more about it:

Services with Heart

I’m developing a model of service design, delivery, and export, with a particular emphasis upon mental health system reform but broader applicability to business structures. The focus is on creating systems that are ethical, humane, and sustainable. It’s informed by various areas of learning including Systems Theory, Fundamental Human Needs, The Peter Principle/Pyramid, the WHO model of mental health service delivery, Human Rights, Healthy Multiplicity/Pluralism, and Culture as a primary means of idea transmission. It is intended to be scalable, adaptive, self-exporting, capable of being dismantled to smaller components, and testable. I’ve written the first draft which is Phase 1.

I’m currently in Phase 2: the research and development phase, gathering data on the value and issues with existing models, with a particular focus on causes of the common declines of useful and heartfelt services – we are good at starting valuable services but there’s a significant issue in the way they grow and key areas of common entropy that threaten the continued existence of the service, or their continued usefulness and quality of service. I use my existing networks as living organisms that both test and inform the model in practice. I’m currently gathering support for a stretch of Qualitative research through interviews with people who use or work (or have used or have worked) in services.

Phase 3

  • making sense of this data and building draft 2 of the written model.

Phase 4

  • constructing several pilot programs in different high needs areas to research and evaluate the model in action.

Phase 5

  • reflecting on this evaluation and using it to adapt the model.

Phase 6

  • developing at least two programs in consultation with independent, existing organisations, one in development and one at re-evaluation of the existing service.

Phase 7

  • researching and evaluating the model’s exporting capacity in these projects.

Phase 8

  • publication.

I expect this plan will also change and adapt through the model development! 🙂 I’m hoping the end result will be a useful way of creating systems and organisations that function as much healthier organisms with much more intelligent feedback structures, and far better cultures in which people can learn, work, and receive support.

How you can help:

  • Support Me emotionally, practically, or via donations
  • Respond to Call-outs when I am looking for people to interview
  • Help me develop qualitative interview skills
  • Look for funding or study opportunities – this could be a Masters or PhD project in Public Health but I have few contacts in the academic world
  • Take on a role in any of my Networks to free up my time

9 thoughts on “Services with Heart: Mental Health System Reform

  1. I found a quote from philosopher Bernard Lonergan today that seems to go here: “… the proper apprehension and appreciation of the work of art is not any conceptual clarification or judicial weighing of conceptual evidence. The work of art is an invitation to participate, to try it, to see for oneself… the work of art invites one to withdraw from practical living and to explore possibilities of fuller living in a richer world.” (Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology, DLT, London 1975 (2), p. 64


  2. Brilliant. I trust and hope you mean your MA/PhD? Go for it! Keep working. Have a look at what John Reed from Liverpool shared on Intervoice also, for connections. I hope to be more useful from October, as up to then my time (online and otherwise) is restricted, only available in short bouts at a time.
    – Just one thought re developing the model – have you factored in dealing with/curtailing the power of pharma industry? Gathering evidence from the movement/case studies about the harm of psychiatric drugs – and then – ? Just from reading your post above, I am not sure where that would (have to) come in?
    As for YOU developing it, it seems to me there is room to develop you role as an artist in all of this, how the two link, and how you want to services to develop out of your calling as an artist. I am trying to share a bit how that is for me on my baby-step blog on
    Speak soon!


  3. If you need my help for anything let me know. I currently receive services for depression and anxiety and am a certified peer support specialist in the state of Texas. I’m also interested in knowing more particulars about your service plan.


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