Collecting Patient Stories

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When developing our Aiming High; Changing Lives strategy in 2021, service users, carers and local communities told us that we need to explore different ways to gain a deeper understanding of people's thoughts, feelings and experiences of our services – what worked well, what was difficult and everything else in between. 

To achieve this, we have launched a new way to collect detailed stories (or experiences) from people who have used our services, their carers, families, and support networks. Your stories will help us to identify themes and understand whether we are achieving the standards and quality we aim for.  

This pilot project has been co-produced by people with lived experience of mental health services along with staff and will run until November 2024. 

Why are patient stories important?

Your perspective and journey through our services are unique and by sharing your story, you provide valuable insight into what we are doing well and the areas that we could improve on.

Our Trust currently collects feedback in number form which is used to measure people’s experiences and opinions. For example, we can see the number of people that had a positive or negative patient experience, however through this project, we want to gain a deeper understanding of these experiences – we want to know the ‘why’.

Where will the stories go?

Your stories are confidential and will be themed alongside other stories so your identity will remain anonymous. Your voice matters and each story contribute to wider conversations – we may use your story in the following ways:

  • In reports summarising insights and themes from the stories for a variety of audiences.

  • With our executive leadership team, service directors, commissioners, and other external stakeholders to help improve services.

  • As part of our strategy refresh when we evaluate the impact our current strategy has made.

If you have given consent to do so, we may also share quotes from your story with the public through Trust communications, for example on social media posts, newsletters, our website, and in our Annual Report.

For more information on how we keep your identity anonymous, please look at our  Story Teller Information Sheet [pdf] 153KB

How we will collect the stories

If you decide to share your story, you can meet with the Project Coordinator beforehand who will answer any questions, collect your preferences for example, availability or method of collection, and you’ll be asked to sign a consent form. You will then be matched with a Story Collector. These are people with lived experience of mental health services and include service users, carers, and staff who have received dedicated training.

You will have the choice to meet online or in-person at a mutually agreed location, either one to one or as a small group, and given the space to share your experience, in your own words. The conversations will be recorded (either in writing or using a recording device) to allow our Analyst to transcribe and analyse. Any recordings will be permanently deleted once analysed.

You can withdraw up to two weeks after sharing your story. After this time, your story will have been anonymised and themed alongside other stories.

How to get involved

We want to hear from you! There are a few ways to get involved:

  • Share your story as a Story Teller - anyone who has had contact with our services or supported someone who has can share their story. We want to know what worked well, what was difficult and everything else in between.
  • Become a Story Collector and empower others to share their stories. You need to have lived experience of our services either directly or through supporting someone to access them, and be a member of the Trust’s Involvement Register.

If you would like to get involved or want to find out more, please contact us by emailing

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a research project?

No, this project is an alternative way to understand your experience of our services and what impact our strategy has had on that experience.

Can I raise a formal complaint through this project?

No, this project is separate to the complaints process. To raise a complaint, please do this via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

Do you offer different methods of sharing stories?

We are currently only collecting stories in audio and written format. We are exploring more creative methods to collecting stories which could include videos, photography and art. Watch this space!

If you have experience of collecting patient stories in alternative ways and would be happy to share your methods with us, please contact and a member of the team would love to learn more.

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