otrbristol | 6th August 2020

The OTR’s young person’s survey results

Hi! You may remember a little while back, we shared a survey where we asked young people who had been involved in any area of OTR’s work to provide feedback. We were really interested to hear what we do well, what isn’t quite right and, importantly, what changes we can make to offer the best possible experience when seeking mental health and wellbeing information and support at OTR.

We already ask for feedback at the end of any kind of session or group at OTR at an individual level, but this survey was on a much bigger scale – we asked for your thoughts around every single aspect of our work.

As expected, you didn’t disappoint – 171 of you completed the survey and gave us really honest, insightful ideas around how we can develop our services, offer of support, communications and many other areas of the OTR experience.

Your feedback was overwhelmingly positive and it was so validating for us to read that we’re getting so much right. We’ve added some of your lovely comments to the various project pages of our website. The words we read so often were ‘welcoming’, ‘supportive’, ‘caring’, ‘approachable’, ‘understanding’, ‘friendly’, ‘accepting’ and ‘brilliant’. Thank you!

Our focus now is to take your constructive comments on board and make some changes, which we’ll explain below.

The first thing we want to say is “sorry for the delay”! This survey did happen a few months ago now, and we would’ve liked to share these findings sooner, but it turns out that a global pandemic can be quite the distraction!

Who filled out the OTR survey

Why are we telling you this? Well, it’s important for you to know that our survey results are inclusive of a diverse range of young voices, from varying backgrounds and circumstances, and therefore with different needs. Even still, this is an area we can improve upon. Reaching and influencing more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young people, for instance, is a priority – which we’ll talk about more a little later.

The average age of the survey respondents was 16, and we had responses from young people right across our 11-25 age range.

  • 77% of our respondents were White British; 4% any other white background, 2% any other mixed background, 2% white and black Caribbean, 2% Irish, 1% Black British, 1% Black British (Caribbean/African/other), 1% Chinese, 1% Indian, 1% other.
  • 45% of the survey responses were from young people who have accessed OTR in the last six months, which means we got a good chunk of ‘live’ feedback on our work (super helpful!)
  • 62% of responses were from female-identifying young people.
  • 38% of responses were from young people identifying as heterosexual (straight), meaning 59% identify as LGBTQ+ (3% selected ‘Prefer not to say’).
  • 16% of respondents considered themselves to have a disability.
  • 53% of young people had engaged with other mental health service/s before coming to OTR.
  • 45% of respondents had been to OTR for 1:1 Therapy. Of the other 55%, we heard mostly from young people engaged in Hubs, Freedom and OTR within a school setting. We’re pleased to say that we had representation from almost every OTR project in the responses!

The headlines

We asked how you heard about OTR, and almost half of you (48%) were recommended by a professional (this usually means a teacher, GP or social care worker). 27% of you were recommended OTR by a friend or family member (very cool – keep those conversations going!), 14% of you followed up on us coming in to your school, and 6% of you found us online (either our website or social media).

We asked how clear were you about what you could expect at OTR before you came: 32% of you said ‘Quite clear’, 24% said ‘Not really that clear’, 20% said ‘Fine!’, 12% said ‘I had no idea what OTR was or how it could help me’ and 9% said ‘Really clear – totally understood my options’.

We asked overall, how satisfied were you (on a scale of 1-10) that OTR was able to support you and help you move forward and your average rating was 7.6.

63% of you were clear on what to do if you’re unhappy with any part of your experience at OTR.

At OTR, this is the % of you who experienced feeling the following qualities:

83% Listened to / heard
81% Taken seriously
60% Clear on what would happen at OTR
56% Equipped with information that feels transferrable to help you support others in your community with their wellbeing
54% Empowered to make your own choices
30% Inspired to get involved in social action
29% Inspired to make change in the world

We then asked some questions about how different aspects of your identity were represented at OTR (again on a scale of 1-10). We scored:

8.1 for treating and communicating with you in an age-appropriate way
9 for accommodating and representing your gender identity
8.7 for accommodating and representing your ethnicity

And finally, here’s the big one – the stat that is blowing our minds and we want to shout from the rooftops:

92% of you would recommend OTR to a friend!

Areas for development & what we’re doing next

You left us some really insightful comments, here is a summary of the themes and how we’re already starting to make changes:

You identified waiting lists as a difficult thing to experience at OTR.

This can unfortunately be true of our 1:1 Therapies service in particular – we have a huge demand for this, and there is usually some sort of wait.

What we’re doing: While we do offer lots of options ‘while you wait’, including coming along to our Hubs or taking part in a group, we know that waiting lists suck and we are working to reduce these, or provide different options, as much as we can. You have also told us that we need to be clearer from the start that there may be a wait for some services – we agree and will display this on our website and be really clear on this in conversation at our Hubs. You have also asked that you’d like to receive a check-in if you’ve been on a waiting list for a while.

Lots of you want more of OTR.

We take that as a compliment! In your comments, sometimes that was explained as wanting longer appointments, more sessions (beyond the 4-8 weeks that our current offers tend to sit between), more Hubs, and follow-up appointments after your time at OTR has finished.

What we’re doing: At OTR we work really hard to provide you with the tools and techniques to feel well and, basically, not need us any more. We want to empower you to be able to look after your own mental health. But we understand that sometimes issues can take a while to explore, so again we are taking this on board. We are also reviewing ‘endings’ at OTR – what happens when your time with us comes to an end, and what needs to be in place to make that safe and positive. We are also reviewing how the partnerships we have with other agencies and support services could be useful as an onward journey from OTR, plus trialling some Peer Support sessions (you can sign up for these here).

Those of you who are 18+ are asking questions about the support that’s available to you, and that’s as a result of us making our 1:1 Therapies accessible to 11-17 year olds.

What we’re doing: We have held a period of consultation with 18-25 year olds (mainly via our drop-in ‘Central+’) to understand what this age group wants from a service like OTR, and will continue to work to provide a diverse 18+ offer, again inclusive of our partnership work.

You have also identified that OTR needs more support and inclusion for BAME young people – including a more obvious option to request a BAME therapist.

What we’re doing: We really hear you on this. In the last few months we have expanded our Zazi team to be able to offer a better BAME-specific service – but it’s important to say that we want our work with BAME young people to be intersectional; not to sit solely in one team within OTR. It needs to be really firmly embedded throughout everything we do, and we’re making steps to improve this – as all services should. We are also taking steps as a workforce to challenge and hold ourselves to account; just last month we have launched a Race and Equalities Working Group – and among other things, this group will consider how we can suitably target our services for a diverse range of young people.

You have also helped us to understand that it needs to be way more obvious how to raise a concern, comment or complaint with OTR.

You have the right and power to tell us whenever anything isn’t quite right and you shouldn’t feel in any way awkward about doing this.

What we’re doing: Since the survey, we’ve created this page on our website to give you the space to offer feedback. Complaints go straight to our Management Team, so you know they are being taken seriously. We are continuing to work on ways to make it comfortable and clear on how to do this ‘in person’ with a member of the OTR team. We also have a ‘Complaints and Comments’ booklet that we need to ensure each and every young person receives before they start in any session at OTR.

You told us that some of our sessions can be difficult to get to.

What we’re doing: In the coming months, and when COVID-19 is finally behind us, you will see OTR in even more community settings. If you’re unable to come to us, we’d like to be available to you out in the community. We’re expanding our work in arts, nature and activity-based settings, including specifically new groups around music and sport, so watch this space! The pandemic has also forced us into using digital platforms more than ever before, and we’ve since listened to feedback that some young people prefer this – so that helps us shape a more flexible offer in the future.

From the stats we shared, we would also like to improve the following areas:

  • We’d like to hear from more young male-identifying people in future surveys (and more generally speaking, we’re working to find ways to reach more young men – including our work with Empire Fighting Chance)
  • We would like more young people to be totally clear on what to expect at OTR before you come
  • We would like more young people to be totally clear on what to do if you’re unhappy with any part of your experience at OTR

We have learned that this survey is really, really helpful. We’ll therefore be making it an annual thing – that way, we’ll be able to track our progress over time and hold ourselves to account for working on the changes you’ve requested. We also learned that there are different and better ways to ask some of our survey questions – for instance it was really interesting to learn that so many of you engaged with other mental health services prior to OTR – we’d like to unpick how and why we’re different, and how we might be able to work alongside them better. We also need to be careful with our language, ensuring you can answer our questions with confidence (so we’ll stay away from acronyms and make sure our wording is really clear!)

To be really transparent, there are some bits of feedback that we are unable to act on. For instance, some of you asked for OTR to provide crisis support, 24/7 availability, or treatment for quite specific areas of mental ill health. OTR isn’t and won’t ever be a crisis service and we’re really careful not to advertise ourselves as such; we are here to support your wellbeing and empower you with tools and tips to look after your own mental health (and that of your friends and communities!) What we are committed to, though, is being really good at signposting to other support services where more immediate attention and treatment is needed.

We also really hear you that you want a better biscuit selection at OTR (Jaffa Cakes were mentioned a few times – got it), so that’s feasible, but sadly the one person who requested an OTR swimming pool is going to be disappointed – that’s sadly a little bit too ambitious!

Thank you!

We want to say a big thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to fill out the survey. We’re committed to empowering young people and listening every step of the way, so hopefully you have found this summary to be helpful. If you have any further feedback for OTR then you can visit this new page of our website (created as a direct result of the survey!), to leave your thoughts – however brief or detailed – any time you like.