Independent mental health charity DGS Mind was set up in 1967 to provide mental health support to people in North West Kent. Services include supported housing, counselling, activity sessions and one-to-one mentoring. This support is available both to those experiencing mental health problems, as well as their carers.
The charity has a comprehensive lone worker policy that all staff and volunteers adhere to. However, it realised that it also needed a robust lone worker safety system to protect those staff that mentor clients on a one-to-one basis. Lookout Call was selected for its value and ease of use, its well-established reputation in the lone worker UK market, as well as its excellent after-sales support.
DGS Mind, based in Kent, works with a broad spectrum of people, helping them to cope with everything from anxiety and depression, to bipolar and schizophrenia.
Mental health is, of course, an extremely complex issue – and so those experiencing problems need to be supported in very different ways. With over 45 years’ experience, DGS Mind is able to offer a range support services to meet those varying needs.
Its committed team of staff and volunteers work closely with other organisations to assess need, and deliver the best possible care. Often people are encouraged to attend ‘community support’ activities, where they learn to cope alongside other people experiencing similar problems, but the charity also offers one-to-one support to people who may have anxieties about going out, or mixing with others.
DGS Mind recognises that staff and volunteers working alone with service users may sometimes be at risk. To help minimise this risk, the charity limits lone working but, in some cases, this would compromise the support to the end user.
“We needed a system in place where we could ensure that staff and volunteers working alone were safe,” says Angie Lawrence, Business Manager DGS Mind. “And, if something did happen, we as an organisation were aware of it and could quickly take action.”
Why Lookout Call? DGS Mind had previously tried to address the issue of lone working with a ‘buddy’ system. Support staff would tell a member of the admin team who they were going to meet, and what time they expected to be back.
“This system worked to a point,” explains Angie. “However if admin staff became busy and forgot about the worker, no action could be taken in the event of an emergency.”
DGS Mind started looking at lone worker safety systems to enhance the protection of its staff, and ease the pressure on the admin team. The organisation researched a range of lone worker safety systems and eventually chose Lookout Call because it offered robust lone worker protection, value for money and excellent after-sales support.
“Admin staff now have time to complete other tasks and don’t have to spend time checking on the safety of lone workers,” says Angie. “Line Managers know where their lone workers are and we can now be sure that if there is a problem with a lone worker that something will happen to deal with it.”
Angie says that 30 lone workers now use the system, with six nominated responders taking it in turns to respond to alarms, and adds that feedback from staff has been overwhelmingly positive.
“They have all commented on how easy the system is to use and that they feel supported by DGS Mind using such a system.”