Header image for Service User Involvement

Service User Involvement

What is Service User Involvement?

Washington Mind aims to develop and deliver services that are based upon the needs of our service users. Genuine user involvement is central to the work we do. By becoming involved you can help us to deliver appropriate and worthwhile services that meet your needs and the needs of the community we serve. Service users bring their knowledge and their experiences and play an invaluable part in shaping the mental health services that we provide. By becoming involved not only do you assist the organisation you can also increase your confidence and develop your skills. (The term ‘service user’ can be seen as being quite negative…Washington Mind has discussed this and it was decided by our ‘service users’ that this term is acceptable to our ‘service users’).

Access the Getting Involved leaflet here! 

How can I get involved?

Service User Meetings

Service User Meetings take place bi-monthly during Open Mind sessions and are open to all Washington Mind service users, staff and volunteers. All are welcome to contribute to the meeting. Agendas and minutes of the meetings are available upon request.

Typical agenda items include: Updates to schedule Future plans for events and activities Feedback from evaluations, suggestion box and ‘You Said – We Did!’ notice board etc… Issues and concerns Share ideas!!

Steering and Focus Groups

Our services are developed on an ongoing basis. Steering and focus groups are established to move forward particular projects e.g. the therapeutic group programme enabled people whose experience of attending group therapy and delivering group work to come together and to be involved in the development of our therapeutic group programme and a Quality group looking at policies and procedures enables involvement in the monitoring of the quality of the services we provide.

Executive Sub Group

SF-Service-User-Involvement-Poster-2Members of the Sub Group are volunteers who are current service users of Washington Mind. Sub Group meetings are scheduled prior to Committee meetings. Sub Group members are also invited to attend Committee meetings. The role of the Sub Group is:


Newsletter Group

Washington Mind develops a newsletter that is circulated to our service users (past and present) as well as other organisations that provide services in the City of Sunderland. Service users are actively encouraged to submit articles and photographs and other items for the newsletter and it is now easier than ever to do this. You can now e-mail the newsletter at any time by e-mailing [email protected]  You can download a copy of the latest newsletter here and find out more about the newsletter on the newsletter page. You can also receive the newsletter by filling in your details in the Newsletter Sign UP box to the right of this page.

Volunteering Opportunities

Washington Mind seeks to involve volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. We believe that the people who use our services can bring unique understanding and empathy to staff/volunteer roles and therefore encourage service users to apply for volunteering roles and opportunities. All potential volunteers will be asked to attend an informal interview and be required to complete an enhanced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) Disclosure Application and provide two referees. All volunteers will receive induction training and begin on a three month trial period. A staff/volunteer training programme is in place and training will be offered that is appropriate to the volunteering role. Both group and individual supervision is provided.

Access Our Volunteer page here!

Training Opportunities

Washington Mind believes in providing appropriate training to meet the needs of our staff and volunteers and to assist with personal development. Training is provided on a rolling programme and this programme includes safeguarding, mental health awareness whilst also offering the opportunity to gain NVQ qualifications. Service users and carers have provided training to staff and Volunteers; sharing their own experiences of living with mental ill health and/or emotional distress. You may also want to look at our more detailed Training page.

How to provide your views on the services Washington Mind provides?

Any of our staff or volunteers would be happy to speak to you directly.  You could email us on [email protected] or write to us at the Washington Mind office.  If you prefer you could use our text service on  0750 7330995  Here are some further ways you could provide your views: Contribute to group meetings Use suggestion box provided Complete services evaluation form Speak directly to a Sub Group member Join a sub group (e.g. newsletter)

Attend a consultation event If appropriate follow the Complaints procedure National Mind You can also get involved with National Mind by joining Mind link. There is information on Mind link on the national Mind website www.mind.org.uk

Things you said and what we did:

You Said...We Did...

You found us difficult to find

Liaised with the council and a road sign is now in place to direct visitors to the building

You Said...We Did...

You wanted our text service back

Our new text service number is now in action 07507330995

You Said...We Did...

You wanted an Open Mind session in the Coalfield area

We now have a session on Tuesday from 2-4pm at the Hetton centre

You Said...We Did...

the new Hetton Open Mind session was on too late

changed the time to 2-4pm