In the last twelve months, EduPod’s creator, Dr Asha Patel and her team at Innovating Minds have been on a winning streak and so we asked her to share her story with SAS.
EduPod is available with SAS staff absence insurance policies and helps to provide mental health leads with tools to plan, manage and evaluate their journey to creating happy and mentally healthy environments for the whole school community. SAS clients can access this support by contacting their account manager.
Our journey over the last twelve months
Five years ago, I decided to set up Innovating Minds. I had worked for over 10 years in in community and inpatient settings, in psychiatric rehabilitation, secure forensic mental health hospitals and in education. I had met many people whose lives might have been so different if they had been able to access specialist psychological support at a key moment in their life. Since then, I have striven to open up specialist trained support for children, families and employees so that they can benefit from early mental health interventions.
At first, I was working face to face with just a few schools and then I started to employ other clinical psychologists. I soon realised that demand was so intense that we could never keep pace if we relied just on face-to-face interventions. I started to look at digital solutions – a one stop shop with information, advice and accredited training. I wanted to be able to offer an affordable and accessible service for people on the ground who supported others. This could be teachers, Mental Health Leads or counsellors who was focused on creating a whole school approach to mental health.
When we started to introduce our new services, we soon found that EduPod met a distinct need and we were encouraged to enter for awards.
We heard we had been shortlisted for the Greater Birmingham Asian Business Chamber of Commerce annual awards. Our main office is based in Kings Norton and the ceremony took place at the National Motorcycle Museum on 7th December. We were delighted to find that we had won the Contribution to Society Award, which was presented by Nina Wadia, famous for her role in EastEnders.
In March 2020 we won an Amazon Scale Up –Social Enterprise Award. This was very exciting, and we were so looking forward to attending the formal dinner, hosted by comedian Tom Allen, at the London Hilton on Park Lane. Thanks to coronavirus this was postponed but we hope to enjoy a live celebration at some stage in 2021.
In December 2020 I won a NatWest Every Women Award in the social enterprise category. The Gaia Award, sponsored by Montezuma’s Chocolates, was for a female business leader who had a social enterprise that combined strong community benefits with a sustainable business model.
Finally, at the beginning of 2021, Innovating Minds were announced as winners of the Mental Health Platform Development Company of the Year 2021 at The Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards.
These rewards have been very encouraging to the team at Innovating Minds. The judges have recognised our professional skills and expertise and the impact of our work. It was a challenge to move away from traditional models of delivery and there were times in the early days when we wondered if it would work. As it turned out, we had correctly anticipated the increased demand for mental health services and the upsurge of interest in learning online.
Along the way, we have been lucky enough to meet organisations such as the Schools Advisory Service (SAS) and develop a partnership. SAS is the largest and only DfE approved supplier of staff absence insurance in the UK. As part of their comprehensive support, they offer EduPod to their customers. EduPod provides mental health leads with tools to plan, manage and evaluate their journey to creating happy and mentally healthy environments for the whole school community.
Emily Proffitt (National Executive at NAHT & Headteacher) a SAS staff absence insurance policy holder said, “I have completed my first self-assessment. Really pleased with the speed of this and the starting point for us to review.”
Our partnership with SAS is enabling schools create happy and mentally healthy environments which will impact on future generations.