The main questions are about:
- Current life situation – work, relationships, housing, children, health, etc.
- Current support – who the person has around them and other forms of support.
- Family background – details of parents and siblings and relationship to them.
- Health – engagement with other services, use of drugs and alcohol, etc.
This helps give a general overview of what is happening in a person’s life at the current time. We also ask about any previous counselling and how helpful that was and what they are looking for from Mankind. This helps to form a set of goals or realistic aims that can determine the type of service offered. These do not have to be fully formed at this stage, it is just useful to know why someone is looking for help at this time and what they would like to achieve.
The second part of the meeting explains the monitoring system we use to measure progress. As a charity we receive public funding so have to show that our services are effective. To do this we use a system called CORE which stands for ‘Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation’.
This system uses a questionnaire that clients are requested to complete at regular intervals throughout the service they are accessing. Each time a questionnaire is completed it produces a graph that can be shared with the client to help show the progress they are making and how best to proceed.
At the end of the meeting, there is time for any questions and there will be a discussion on whether Mankind is the right service and what type of service would be best to offer. This is usually 1 -1 counselling and our other group services will be explained.
Sometimes we need to gather further information if the person is engaged with other services such as psychiatry. However, this is always done with the person’s consent and ensures that we are working holistically with any other services they may be engaged with.
The initial meeting is always done at the client’s pace and they do not have to answer any of the questions if they do not wish to. We are aware of how difficult this first meeting can be and want to make it as comfortable as possible.