A real difference: How the Star is helping the Carers Trust prove its impact

In the increasingly competitive world of carer services, commissioners want robust outcomes data. For the Carers Trust, measuring outcomes has become crucial in its mission to improve support for unpaid carers – and the Carers Star is helping provide the evidence it needs.

Since the Care Act of 2014, local authority commissioners have had to assess carers and provide support where needed. This has given rise to bigger, multiple contracts for services helping carers – and a corresponding demand from commissioners for good outcomes measurement.Carers Star case study

 “The landscape now is that you need to demonstrate the difference that you’re making – it’s more and more competitive,” says Dr Richard McManus, insight and intelligence manager at the Carers Trust. “There’s a big difference in the way services are commissioned and ultimately how they’re delivered.”

The Carers Trust has a large network of partners, all operating in slightly different ways, so collecting and analysing robust outcomes data across the network is crucial. “The Carers Star is widely used throughout the network,” says Richard. “It’s a really useful tool, based on lots of research, evidence and testing, as well as engagement with the carers themselves.”

With nearly a third of the Carers Trust’s network partners now using the Star, Richard McManus is able to see the individual impact of particular services, but also to gather data on the collective impact across the network. It’s proving invaluable in securing bigger contracts, which the Trust bids for jointly with one or more network partners.

“Having the Carers Star is a really good way of demonstrating that we understand the needs of carers,” says Richard. “More generic charities might have less robust reporting and measurement in place. But with the Star we can show we have specialist knowledge and real expertise – and also for particular groups, like young carers, carers for people with dementia, or carers who also work.”

The Carers Trust is seeing benefits right across the network. “The network partners that use the Star really value it,” says Richard McManus. “It helps them with improving their services and transforming the way they deliver those services, based on real evidence and feedback from carers.”

“And of course, because of its robust design and methodology, it’s highly appealing to commissioners.”

For more detail about how the Star works both as a measuring tool and for carers themselves, have a look at the case study. Related blog: we also published a related blog; Carers Star makes collaboration count.

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The Carers Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Carers Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Free client webinars: dates for August

Triangle continues to host a series of free client webinars, and has just announced several dates for the month of August. These free live webinars are for existing Outcomes Star clients and there are limited seats available. An email invite for existing Outcomes Star and Star Online clients will be sent out this week.

These webinars are short video workshops which will be 45 minutes long and which will include a brief presentation, followed by a question and answer session, they are designed to share knowledge, ideas and information with Outcomes Star clients. Each session will be hosted by two of our Triangle and Outcomes Star experts and will focus on a core topic.

There are three main webinars, currently, and their main topics and dates in August are as follows:

Practitioners guide to Star Online

  • Wednesday 29th July, 10am
  • Wednesday 5th August, 10am
  • Monday 10th August, 2pm
  • Monday 17th August, 10am
  • Wednesday 26th August, 2pm
  • Wednesday 2nd September, 11am

How to use the Star remotely (Phone/online)

  •  24th August, 2pm

An introduction to Star Online reports dashboards.

  • Monday 3rd August,   10am
  • Wednesday 19th August, 10am
  •  Monday 7th September,  10am

For more information on the webinars, how to book, or what clients need to do, please take a look at our previous posts, or wait for your invite email. Please note: We have limited spaces available and we expect them to fill up quickly! We will be organising further webinars to meet demand.

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If you have any questions about our webinars, remote training, new Stars, or would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Webinar: The Outcomes Star as a key work and evaluation tool in the employment sector

On Wednesday 8th July Triangle will be hosting an ERSA Webinar. This webinar is an introduction to the Outcomes Stars used in the Employability sector. The webinar will consist of an introduction to the Work Star and Pathway Star followed by a Q&A.

Reserve your place now

This webinar is a part of the ERSA Building Partnerships 2.0 summer webinar series.

The Outcomes Stars are evidence-based tools for measuring and supporting change when working with people. They are a great way for frontline services to demonstrate their impact whilst improving their keywork. The Work Star and the Pathway Star are both tailored specifically to the employment sector.

The Outcomes Stars are evidence-based tools for measuring and supporting change when working with people.

The Work Star has been designed for use with adults out of work or returning to the workplace. It provides a holistic framework for services to use when supporting service users, as well as a simple way of measuring progress to work.

The 3rd Edition of the Work Star was published in 2017 with input from the Department of Work and Pensions (Essex Social Justice Team), Prospects, Hounslow Council and The LightBulb.

The Pathway Star is the Outcomes Star for people overcoming barriers to work and is designed for use with people who need considerable support if they are to move towards work. This includes people currently facing significant barriers to work, such as health or housing problems, substance misuse, crime, domestic abuse, family culture (including generations of people not in work) or household finances.

The Pathway Star was developed by Triangle with service providers and commissioners from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

On behalf of everyone here at Triangle we look forward to seeing you at the Webinar and would like to extend a big thanks to ERSA and finally please sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already.

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Each Outcomes Star is carefully created in collaboration with sector organisations, for more information on which Stars are suitable for your sector please contact us or take a look at Find your Star. If you have any questions on which Star to use, or if you would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Free client webinars: Introduction to the Star Online reports dashboard

Are you an existing Outcomes Star and Star Online client? Triangle has added several more dates for their free, live webinar Introduction to the Star Online Reports Dashboard via Zoom through July.

Two Star experts will host a live workshop and introduction to the new Star Online reports dashboard for existing clients, who are currently using the Star or who would like an introduction to the new Star Online system. Clients have been emailed details of dates, with information on how to book.

What will this webinar cover?

This webinar will explore the Star Online reports dashboard. It will cover:

  • the three new report dashboards for implementation, snapshot and distance travelled reporting
  • how to use the filters
  • how to think about engagements to create instant and engaging charts that can be downloaded to add to any report or funding bid.

The webinar will also discuss what the reports can tell you about how Stars are being used in a service and the progress made by service users.

Each webinar will consist of a short video presentation, which will be followed by a question and answer season and it is designed to support clients by sharing knowledge, ideas and information.

Please note: We have limited spaces available and we expect them to fill up quickly!

Who will benefit from this webinars?

This webinar is ideal for Managers as well as anyone responsible for producing reports on Outcomes Star data. Clients may have recently started using, or be about to start using, the new Star Online system.

How much do these webinars cost and what do I need?

The webinars are all free. To attend, clients will just need to book your place via the email invitations and log on to zoom.

How can I reserve my place?

As an existing client, you will have been sent an email with the dates and information, just RSVP to the dates you can make. If you find you cannot attend a webinar, please cancel your reservation to allow others to make use of the place.

What are the dates and times?

  • Wednesday 8th July 10am
  • Monday 13th July 10am
  • Wednesday 22nd July 10am

We will be announcing more details on upcoming dates into August and beyond, please keep an eye out for the emails with dates and times.

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If you have any questions on which Star to use, or if you would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Free client webinars: How to use the Star remotely

Triangle will be hosting another webinar for existing clients, on Tuesday 21st July at 10am, exploring how to use the Star remotely, either via phone, video or online.

What will the webinar cover and who will benefit from attending?

Following on from our guidance on How to complete the Star remotely this webinar will be of interest to any practitioners, who due to the current social distancing measures, are completing or thinking of completing Stars with service users via phone or online platforms. We will share our top tips on making this work.

This webinar will be approximately 45 minutes long, and will feature a 20 minute presentation followed by a question and answer session via the Zoom chat function and it is designed to support clients by sharing knowledge, ideas and information.

How much do these webinars cost and what do I need?

It is free for all existing clients. Clients should already have received an email invite to the webinar series, and should follow the instructions and book through the email invitation. If you find you cannot attend a webinar, please cancel your reservation to allow others to make use of the place.

The webinar will be hosted by two Outcomes Star experts. If you are interested in how to complete the Star remotely, please take a look at our guidance

Please note: We have limited spaces available and we expect them to fill up quickly.

What are the dates and times in July?

Currently we have only one date – Tuesday 21 July 2020. We hope to schedule more in the coming months, so keep an eye out for future invites if you are unable to make this date.

 

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If you have any questions on which Star to use, or if you would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Free client webinars: Practitioners Guide to the Star Online

As a result of the increased interest in webinars amongst our clients, Triangle has added more dates for their Practitioners Guide to the Star Online, live webinar via Zoom through July and August.

Triangle will be hosting webinars for existing clients, who are currently using the Star or who would like an introduction to the new Star Online system. Clients have already been emailed details of dates, and how to book.

What will this webinar cover?

Webinar 1: Practitioners Guide to the Star OnlineThis webinar will be an orientation session to the new Star Online and during the webinar we will introduce practitioners to the new Star Online features, such as setting up engagements and managing notifications. It will also explore many of the main tasks practitioners need to complete, including:

  • creating a service user
  • adding Stars and Action Plans
  • navigating the Help Centre and
  • locating the Star resources you need.

Each webinar will consist of a short video presentation, which will be followed by a question and answer season and it is designed to support clients by sharing knowledge, ideas and information.

Please note: We have limited spaces available and we expect them to fill up quickly!

Who will benefit from this webinars?

This webinar is ideal as an orientation session for existing Star Online clients and their practitioners, keyworkers and managers who are already using, or about to migrate over to the new Star Online. Each session will be run by our very own Triangle staff, trainers and implementation leads who are there to support clients and answer any questions they may have.

How much do these webinars cost and what do I need?

The webinars are all free. To attend, clients will just need to book your place via the email invitations and log on to zoom.

How can I book my place?

As an existing client, you will have been sent an email with the dates and information, just RSVP to the dates you can make. If you find you cannot attend a webinar, please cancel your reservation to allow others to make use of the place.

What are the dates and times?

  • Monday 6th July 11am
  • Thursday 16th July  10am
  • Monday 20th July 2-3pm
  • Wednesday 29th July 10am
  • Wednesday 5th August 10am
  • Monday 10th August 2-3pm
  • Monday 17th August 10am
  • Wednesday 26th August 2pm
  • Monday 31st August 10am

 

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If you have any questions on which Star to use, or if you would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Introducing a series of free Outcomes Star webinars

As part of our commitment to provide support and resources to our clients, Triangle will be hosting a series of free live webinars via Zoom over the coming weeks.

These webinars are short video workshops which will be 45 minutes long and which will include a brief presentation, followed by a question and answer session, they are designed to share knowledge, ideas and information with Outcomes Star clients. Each session will be hosted by two of our Triangle and Outcomes Star experts and will focus on a core topic.

There are three main webinars, currently, and their main topics will be as follows:

  1. Practitioners guide to Star Online
  2. How to use the Star remotely (Phone/online)
  3. An introduction to Star Online reports dashboards.

Please note: We have limited spaces available and we expect them to fill up quickly! If the webinars are full please contact us to register your interest and we can organise further webinars to meet demand.

Webinar 1: A practitioners guide to the new Star Online

Webinar 1: Practitioners Guide to the Star OnlineThis webinar will introduce you to the new Star Online features including setting up engagements and managing notifications. It will also cover all the main tasks practitioners do:

  • creating a service user
  • adding Stars and Action Plans
  • navigating the Help Centre and
  • locating the Star resources you need.

This webinar is ideal as an orientation session for all practitioners and managers using or about to use Star Online version 2.

 

Webinar 2: How to use the Star remotely (via phone or online)

TWebinar 2: How to use the Star remotelyhis webinar will be of interest to any practitioners, who due to the current social distancing measures, are completing or thinking of completing Stars with service users via phone or online platforms. We will share our top tips on making this work.

 

 

 

 

 

Webinar 3: Introduction to the Star Online reports dashboard

Webinar 3: An Introduction to Star Online reports dashboardThis webinar will explore the Star Online reports dashboard. It will cover:

  • the three new report dashboards for implementation, snapshot and distance travelled reporting
  • how to use the filters
  • how to think about engagements to create instant and engaging charts that can be downloaded to add to any report or funding bid.

The webinar will also discuss what the reports can tell you about how Stars are being used in a service and the progress made by service users. This webinar is ideal for Managers and anyone responsible for producing reports on Outcomes Star data.

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General Outcomes Star webinar FAQ’s

Are these webinars free and how can I book my place?

As an existing client, you should have been sent an email with the dates and information, just RSVP to the dates you can make, or contact us for more information.  The webinars are all free.

What are the dates and times?
  • Monday 1st June, 10am -Webinar 1: How to Use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Wednesday 3rd June, 10am – Webinar 2: How to Use Star Remotely (Phone/Online)
  • Wednesday 10th June, 2pm – Webinar 1: How to Use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Thursday 11th June, 10am  – Webinar 3: Introduction to the Star Online reports dashboard [FULL]
  • Monday 15th June, 10am  – Webinar 3: Introduction to the Star Online reports dashboard
  • Wednesday 17th June, 2pm – Webinar 2: How to Use Star Remotely (Phone/Online)
  • Thursday 18th June, 10am – Webinar 1: How to Use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Monday 22nd June, 10am  – Webinar 3: Introduction to the Star Online reports dashboard
  • Tuesday 23rd June, 2pm – Webinar 1: How to Use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Monday 29th June, 2pm – Webinar 1: How to Use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
Can’t make the webinars?

Don’t worry, contact us anyway to register your interest and we can organise further webinars to meet demand.

Who will benefit from these webinars?

Existing clients, keyworkers, practitioners, Licensed Trainers may all benefit from the webinars. Managers in particular may benefit from attending Webinar 3: Introduction to the Star Online reports dashboard.

How do I reserve my space?

If you are an existing client, you will have been sent an email invitation to book your place. If you have not received this email, if the date you would like is full, or if you are a prospective client and would like to find out more about the Outcomes Star, please contact us for more information and to register your interest.

The webinars are full, how do I book another one?

We have limited spaces available, there are 50 spaces for Webinar 1, and only 25 spaces for Webinars 2 and 3 and we expect them to fill up quickly! If the webinars are full please contact us to register your interest and we can organise further webinars to meet demand.

What will I need to do?

All you need to do is RSVP and book your place, and then log on to Zoom or follow the link to the webinar on the date and time of your choosing.

 

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If you have any questions about our webinars, remote training, new Stars, or would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

 

 

Carers Star makes collaboration count

How do you get someone whose life is centred on another person to look after themselves? For more than 50 carer organisations, the answer is with the help of the Carers Star.

Published in 2014, the year of the Care Act, the Carers Star filled an immediate need for services and commissioners alike – to measure the impact of “care for the carers”. But the Star isn’t just about good outcomes data. Even more crucial is its ability to engage struggling carers in the first place. And the key to the Star’s success here is collaboration.

 “Carers don’t want someone to come in and take over,” says Victoria Mellor, lead care advisor on the CarerLinks project for Crossroads Together. “There’s nothing worse than an assessment where someone’s in front of you scribbling away and you don’t know what’s being written. It can make you feel a bit paranoid – how is someone going to use that information?”

Example image showing the cover of the Carers Star User Guide and a open spread with the detailed scales for one area

By contrast, she says, the Carers Star is a tool that both worker and carer can see. Its visual form – the star shape – makes it instantly clear what is working and not working in each of seven areas of a carer’s life. Worker and carer fill it in together, in any order, led by the carer’s immediate concerns.

“Carers usually have something they want to focus on straightaway,” says Victoria. “With the Star you can look at that first, so the carer gets their priorities straight in their head. Then you work with them and map things out together – this is going to be your job, and these things are going to be mine. It really empowers the carer.”

How you fill in the Star is equally flexible. Crossroads Together use it for assessment at the first home meeting, but sometimes carers are in crisis or just not ready and it doesn’t feel appropriate to complete the Star. “Then I just use it as a guide and a prompt to bring things back if the conversation goes off at a tangent, and I fill it in when I’m back in the office,” says Victoria.

“Later on, when things are brighter for them, we use it reflect on what’s changed. They like to look back at the journey – they ask ‘what did I say the first time? I’m in a different place now’”. That’s really helpful. One of our main aims is to empower them to take responsibility for what they need and how they can achieve it.”

At the original Carer Star training, some Crossroads Together workers worried that carers wouldn’t like the Star. “But carers do want to engage,” says Victoria. “There’s no typical carer – they definitely keep you on your toes. But that’s the great thing about the Star – you’re able to use it in different ways with different people. It’s very adaptable.”

Stephen Taylor, service delivery manager at Carers Leeds, agrees. “There are lots of different ways to get the carer to engage with it. Carers like the visual stuff, they like the scaling, and they like to see change. The Star is about their journey – it helps carers to stay focused on the bigger picture, not just a bad week they’re having.”

Traditional assessments, he says, tend to focus on what is wrong. “The Star is much more collaborative. Because it’s strengths-based, people are really engaging in their own care plan. Through good conversations, they’re coming up with their own ideas about what works with them. The collaborative approach is a very powerful thing.”

And the collaboration isn’t just between worker and carer. Both Crossroads Together and Carers Leeds have found that the Star can help with spreading good ideas and ways of working across their organisations.

“If an adviser has a really successful Star, we use it as an example in a team meeting,” says Victoria. “It helps show what’s working, say in Liverpool, that we might want to duplicate in Shropshire.”

“There’s real potential to share good practice when you see the variations,” says Stephen. “When I look at the data, I try and look across the individual teams and how they’re doing in particular Star areas. For example, are our mental health specialists doing better on the “How you feel” scale for carers? It’s about asking good questions – what are you doing well?”

“I think the Star’s great – I like the questions it raises.”


Using the Carers Star

  • The Star works well for carers with complex or ongoing needs
  • It’s typically used over three to six months
  • Each scale is underpinned by a five-stage Journey of Change – cause for concern, getting help, making changes, finding what works, as good as it can be
  • It’s also possible to use the Carers Star on the phone – Triangle can advise on good practice
  • For young carers, consider My Star instead of the Carers Star.

The Carers Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. Triangle is exhibiting at the Carers Trust Network Partner conference from 11th to 12th March. If you are attending and would like to meet the team, or want more information on the Carers Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

The importance of relationships with youth in mind

Tom Currie, Outcomes Star’s Implementation Lead, shares his thoughts after attending Oxfordshire Youth’s Youth in Mind conference.

It was a real pleasure to spend a day at Youth in Mind, the annual conference about young people and their mental health. The event was beautifully hosted by Oxfordshire Youth and Oxfordshire Mind with 400 delegates and a wide range of presenters from a diverse mix of organisations speaking on several subjects. But one thing that kept coming up in the talks, demonstrations and workshops was the importance of relationships in supporting young people to maintain optimal mental health.

Relationships: a key component

Whether it was Rowen Smith and Mary Taylor from Family Links talking about resilience and managing difficult emotions, or Julia Belton from Clear Sky describing how she uses play to engage children who had Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), relationships kept being identified as a vital ingredient.

The value of relationships was also highlighted in the Step Out workshops, hosted by two Donnington Doorstep Junior Ambassadors, young people who deliver sessions on Protective Behaviours to year 5 students. These peer led sessions offer yet another example of how you can use the power of relationships to gain credibility and influence with the people you work with. (They were preaching to the converted with me on this one, as I have been a strong advocate for the power of relationships for a few decades.)

What are the vital ingredients of a supportive relationship?

This question came up in my conversation with Julie Belton in the exhibition hall just after her presentation on how to engage children with ACEs. We agreed that many practitioners would probably say that good relationships are at the core of their work but that they may well mean different sorts of relationships. And that makes assuring the quality of those relationships tricky. Luckily some clever people at Search Institute in Minneapolis have done some great work researching and articulating these qualities in their Developmental Relationships Framework, which is free to download

The Developmental Relationships Framework identifies five elements:

  • Express Care – Show me that I matter to you
  • Challenge Growth – Push me to keep getting better
  • Provide Support – Help me complete tasks and achieve goals
  • Share Power – Treat me with respect and give me a say
  • Expand Possibilities – Connect me with people and places that broaden my world

Each of these elements is then linked to three to five well defined actions, so it really is a practical, useable framework. I believe the Search Institute are spot on with the balance of the elements they have articulated. If you want to put their theory into your practice, then you could download the framework and start to strengthen these elements in your work.

If you are interested in using a tool that helps provide a structure for four of the elements they identify, and also provides useful evaluation information, then get in touch and we could talk about whether one of the Outcomes Stars for young people would suit your way of working. It would be a pleasure to talk to you about what you are trying to achieve, because all supportive relationships include good conversations.

Speaking of good conversations, I had a great one with Bethia McNeil  (CEO of the Centre for Youth Impact), when I saw her a few months ago and she told me about the Supportive Relationships Framework. She knows a thing or two about frameworks having written the seminal Framework of Outcomes for Young People in 2012 as well as its brilliant 2019 sequel, predictively titled: A Framework of Outcomes for Young People 2.0.


If you’d like to talk to Tom following his attendance at the event, please call +44 (0) 20 7272 8765 or email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

Young people and mental health: How to make the conversation count

As Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 draws to a close, Joy MacKeith, co-author of My Mind Star, reflects on what the development process taught her about how schools and services can support real change for young people.

This week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and there certainly is a lot going on. Yesterday a colleague attended a conference on mental health in schools in Manchester and next week Triangle will be hosting a stand at Oxfordshire’s Youth in Mind conference. This is all happening against the backdrop of a Government Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health and increasing concern in the media.

Catching up with my colleague after the conference yesterday, it is evident that the commitment to equipping schools to take a bigger role is certainly there, but thoughts about how to do this in practice are still developing. So it seems like a good moment to draw out some of the lessons from our work with Action for Children to develop My Mind Star, a tool for engaging and supporting young people around their mental health and measuring their progress.

After initial discussions and scoping in 2017, the development process began in earnest in 2018. Over the course of a year and a half we held a series of workshops with young people, front-line workers and service managers to find out what really makes a difference when working with young people. My Mind Star, a version of the Outcomes Star for mental well-being in young people, was then developed and piloted across 11 Action for Children services and also HeadStart Kernow

Here are some of the highlights from that process.

Recognising the need for help is a crucial first step

Talking about change with the people directly involved is always fascinating. What emerged early on in the workshops was that young people often don’t seek help because they don’t realise that things could be much better. Not recognising that what they are experiencing is mental distress, they cope as best they can on their own. So, a really crucial first step for many young people is reaching out for help. Interestingly, this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week theme is ‘Find Your Brave’ and a key message is to be brave enough to ask for help.

Don’t look at mental well-being in isolation

Another clear learning point was that we must look at mental well-being in the context of the whole of the young person’s life. The workshop participants identified eight key areas that should be part of the conversation. After piloting this was reduced to seven because it emerged that safety is an important aspect of all of these areas, rather than something that should be discussed in isolation. 

The final seven outcome areas are:

  • Feelings and emotions,
  • Healthy lifestyle,
  • Where you live,
  • Friends and relationships,
  • School, training and work,
  • How you use your time and
  • Self-esteem.

Participants emphasised that it was vital to cover all these areas when talking to a young person, even if they were not what was immediately presented as part of the problem.

Involve young people in defining what ‘good’ mental health and well-being looks like

Developing the scales for a Star involves in-depth discussions about what ‘good’ looks like. The scales for each outcome area or domain describe a journey from things being very bad to the desired outcome being achieved. This means pinning down what ‘bad’ means, what the desired outcome looks like, and what steps people take as they travel from one to the other. 

When it came to the ‘How you use your time’ scale, there was an interesting conversation about time spent on screens. Questions raised, included, is time used this way always bad or can it also be a positive way of accessing support, information and entertainment? There was a definite difference of perspective between the generations and it was very important to have young people in the room to share what good looked like for them.

My Mind Star helps young people identify issues and set goals

My Mind Star was piloted over six months with 67 workers and 177 young people and the pilot was evaluated using feedback forms and a further workshop. Both workers and service users really valued the way that the visual Star Chart summarised their life and helped them identify priorities.

The vast majority (94%) of young people said that the scales helped them to describe how life was for them at that moment. While 85% said that the scales helped them to understand what they needed in the way of support. In the words of one worker: “I liked that it gave the young people the opportunity to see where their priorities are, not what someone else thinks we should work on. This gives them some ownership and increases motivation”.

Evidencing change is motivating for everyone

Three quarters of the workers valued the way that My Mind Star opened up better conversations. And both workers and service users found it encouraging to see progress when the second My Mind Star was completed. As one young person said, “I liked doing the Star because it reflects the improvements I have made in the past months”

Psychometric analyses showed that the outcome areas were coherent and the scale was responsive to change. Managers very much valued the fact that it enabled them to evidence the progress that young people had made.

Following the pilot, amendments were made to the tool based on the feedback and the final version was published in September 2019.

Take-aways for those working with young people and mental health

Based on our learning from this project, and on personal experience, just letting young people know about different kinds of mental illness isn’t enough and can even be counterproductive. Young people can mistake the natural highs and lows of the teenage years for a mental health problem or start to identify as being ‘anxious’ or ‘compulsive’. Rather than knowing the labels, young people need to know what mental well-being looks like in simple and everyday terms so that they know when they need to ask for help. 

Also, when they do ask for help, schools and others need to make sure that there is ‘no wrong door’ and that everyone is equipped to have that initial conversation, to signpost them to others if needed and to keep a watchful eye. As in so many areas of life, prevention or early intervention is better than leaving things until there is a crisis. 

Ultimately, the evidence from our pilot is that My Mind Star can really help make those early conversations count and give everyone working with young people a framework, a shared language and a way of evidencing the difference they are making.


Triangle will be at the Youth in Mind conference on 12th February at the King’s Centre in Oxford. If you’re attending the event and would like to arrange a meeting with us on the day, or if you have any questions about My Mind Star, other versions of the Outcomes Star for the mental health or young peoples sectors, or would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.