Innovating Mental Health Peer Support
Jointly owned and democratically governed by its peer members.
The Shareholders Are Our Members.
One-member-one-vote at our online General Meetings means our peer members will have an authentic voice in what we do. Whilst also receiving a share of any profit we achieve as a social enterprise in dividend payments.
A New Approach to Mental Health
Most individuals, families and carers of those with mental illness, autism and learning disabilities are often familiar with being Service Users (SU) of the NHS (a.k.a the public sector). Many may have also used the services of charities (a.k.a. the third sector) which today can be responsible for operating contracts commissioned by the NHS and our local councils. Some of us are even fortunate enough to be able to pay privately for services too (a.k.a the private sector) though this largely could be as a result of dissatisfaction with our local services.
Many service users are seeking personal recovery (living as well as possible) and ultimately social inclusion. Although there are increasingly positive signs that co-production (which we broadly define as involvement of SU’s in designing services) is beginning to be adopted, many SU’s are still frustrated by their treatment. It may even be the case that co-production can’t ever deliver the envisioned democratisation of these services unless Experts By Experience (EBE) have voting rights to pass resolutions and appoint directors themselves.
The very idea that EBE’s would have voting rights today may seem revolutionary. But it wasn’t long ago when the appointment of Trustees of charities were rarely “out” as EBE’s and co-production was just a dream. Every new beginning starts with a dream so this is how we plan to give birth to Peer Mindset…
A New Co-operativism
Definition and Values
A co-operative is a person-centred enterprise united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Cooperatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
Cooperatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Note: These are the internationally recognised values and principles of cooperative identity as defined by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).
We intend to create the first digital mental health multi-stakeholder and solidarity co-operative inspired by the Fair Shares Model (Prof. Ridley-Duff, 2015).
As most private limited companies we will have shareholders that have the traditional rights of representation from voting (such as to appoint new directors) and a share in the companies profits (dividends).
Our members (shareholders) can be issued one or more classes of share: Peer shares, Labour shares, Supporter shares and Stewardship shares. Each share class is entitled to an equal number of Directors on the companies board. Members of each share class can vote in their class on a one-member, one-vote basis at a General Meeting. However, when all classes vote together – it is one-member-one-vote irrespective of the number of shares a legal person holds.
30% of any surplus (profit) the company makes or any sum over £2,500 (whichever is greater) in a financial year will be distributed to each share class as dividends. Each class will receive a 25% share.
Eg. (a) If there is 10x Peer Shares to 5x Peer members then they would receive 25% of the dividends. (b) If 1x Peer member has 5x Peer Shares of the 10 Peer Shares above then they would receive 12.5% of the dividends. Individual Peer shareholdings are reset to 1 from the beginning of the financial year as long as a valid subscription is held. Supporter shares remain the same unless sold or forfeited.
Individuals and Peer support groups can still participate as affiliate members but won’t be full members (shareholders). We will welcome Charities and business as members on exclusive terms. Further information will be in our constitution and articles of association at launch.
Our vision is for our members to eventually suggest, plan and initiate projects for our co-operative. These are some of the projects we have planned to begin with:
Recovery Needs Website
We own the website RecoveryNeeds.org and RecoveryNeeds.co.uk. We plan to develop this property to allow our members with their user accounts on Peer Mindset to curate content.
Apart from selling yearly subscriptions we plan to offer branded merchandise for sale and other innovations as well. We would also invite our members and organisations to sell digital goods E.g. books, podcast, etc...
Autism Needs Website
We own the website AutismNeeds.org and AutismNeeds.co.uk. We plan to develop this property to allow our members with their user accounts on Peer Mindset to curate content.
Peer Mindset Pounds (PMP)
We planned to initially launch with our own Peer Mindset Pounds (our own Crypto-currency). However, the regulatory environment is still uncertain on this so we have put these plans on hold for now.
Regular engagement on our members area such as logging in and giving others support will lead to automatic rewards of Peer Points. You will be able to redeem 100 Peer Points for 1 PMP. Limits and restrictions apply.
PRemium Peer Membership
If you fancy maintaining your own blog - then for a higher yearly subscription we will provide you with a WordPress blog as either a subdomain of peermindset.co.uk, RecoveryNeeds.org or AutismNeeds.org. For example: http://PeerWorkerJane.RecoveryNeeds.org.
Expert By Experience (EBE) WIKI
We would like all of our members to contribute and share knowledge in a WIKI. It could contain useful information applicable in our own lives (such as navigating common EBE obstacles) and could provide valuable foundations to future projects of our co-operative.
Expert By Experience (EBE) E-Learning
EBE's learn by living and doing. Professionals on the other hand benefit from formal training. Many admire our intuitive understanding while others can obfuscate knowledge unintentionally. Our bitesize courses intend to bridge your knowledge gap and so you can be armed with more knowledge that informs your experiences to inspire change.
VolunteerING and EMPLOYMENT
We would like to be able to create temporary and part time volunteering and employment projects that benefit us all. This will require funding that we don't have at present. We plan to attempt to Crowd Fund in the future. You may even be inspired to setup your own business and collaborate with us.
Thank you for reading about Peer Mindset.
I’m very passionate about people like myself with mental health challenges, autism and learning disabilities living a life as well as possible. I have had many different diagnoses over the years but despite the struggle I have persisted. During my journey I have encountered many limited assumptions from a bygone era of what people like me can and cannot do. At times I have believed such opinions to my own detriment.
What has become clear to me over time is that many individuals with our challenges want more than just treatments and therapies. We want to be included in society – with purpose, economic participation and networks like the rest of society. But I feel society today doesn’t yet know how to make us fit. The present structures and opportunities are not really designed for us in mind. Therefore I believe we can play a part in demonstrating “how” it can be done.
I want Peer Mindset to be part of the hope that can bring about positive change in mental health, autism and learning disabilities so please help us by getting involved.
Below are some content of my journey in the media. It’s not 100% accurate and I have changed a lot during that time too. Even if Peer Mindset is not for you – I hope I can at the very least inspire you. Best Wishes, Shaun.
I self-documented my journey of training to run my first marathon over 6 months on my Youtube Channel. I have changed so much!
I'm giving away 18 Books by author @matthaig1 to one random person that Retweets this. T&C: https://t.co/D5DMavEA3Y. This is to spread #mentalhealth awareness and that I'm #Running my 1st Marathon to raise funds for @Rethink_. Donations gratefully welcome: https://t.co/n9IqKPJiAE pic.twitter.com/8P0dOHJZCM— Shaun (@ShaunGVos) March 18, 2019