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Posted: 14th May 2012

"Mental Health Providers Forum (MHPF) continues to be the leading voice representing voluntary sector mental health service providers across England. Across our membership we represent the broad scope of voluntary/not-for-profit mental health organisations – from large national and regional providers through to small local service providers."

The Mental Health Recovery Star

I first came accross this organisation unknowingly in 2010 through an evaluation tool posted on a noticeboard at Stepping Hill Hospital.

This is the Mental Health Recovery Star and is a really accessible way to plot progress at the start, during and end of a project. In fact, that is how it got used in 2010 for the AWE Course in Wigan.

There are other forms of assessment tools, such as the
Warwick-Edinburgh Wellbeing Scale (2006)

Although this can be a good starting point, there are issues with it's design. This has arbitrary and very subjective language choices such as: “I’ve been feeling close to other people” and "I’ve had energy to spare" - which can mean different things to different people. There are obvious cultural and personal language barriers to this form of assessment.

With the star, there is a visual element to the results as well - meaning there is a 'shape' that you can work from.

Although, being slightly pendantic, I would have liked "Addictive Behaviour" to be 'Free from..' or 'Non-addicitive behaviour' so that the 'goal' was to create a full circle, rather than all but one. I suppose though, it stands out when you see it towards the other scales.

Some examples in their publication: The Mental Health Recovery Star: its development and use in practice

Unfortunately though, they both use scales. I think that yes, they can be useful to put a number on a feeling, but apart from my initial dislike of scales, they can be very varied day to day or hour to hour. At what point does a source of information (a participant) become unreliable about themselves, and how valid is it as an assessment tool in the end anyway?

I think there must be another form of creative assessment that uses these types of approaches together.

Image from:

The organisation does other things - their website has many useful publications.

Another useful publication:
Mental Well-being Impact Assessment Toolkit

Lots of very interesting diagrams (p. 16) about the factors associated with mental health and practical templates at the back.

Further Reading

3 Space

A charity that turns empty shops into temporary spaces for community use.