Kitbag got started in 2004 with funding from the Foundation of Advanced Cardiac Therapies and the World Economic Forum. It evolved from the insight that we are experiencing what IFF member Maureen O’Hara has termed as a “crisis of the psychosphere”. We are finding it hard to engage with the profound changes that are happening in the world around us in ways that transcend our default patterns of belief and behaviour. However when individuals, families, organizations and communities engage with the challenges that they face with honesty and a willingness to learn, the results can be transformative.
Working with health professionals from a range of disciplines, in particular psychotherapy and psychology, and with a team of designers, IFF developed the first prototype Kitbag in 2005. This was presented in 2006 at a conference of mental health professionals and emergency response workers addressing the psychological impact of traumatic events like 9/11, Katrina and the Asian tsunami. In 2007, Kitbag was introduced to a group of women at Cornton Vale women’s prison in Stirling. Following this, IFF was successful in obtaining funding and support for Kitbag from NESTA who in 2008 selected the project as one of ten promising innovations in mental health across the UK.
In 2009, with funding from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, IFF trialled Kitbag in a number of communities: a disability group in Glasgow, a carer’s group in Fife, a women’s group also in Fife, a group of women affected by domestic abuse in Aviemore, a group of community workers in Renfrewshire, a Conditions Management Team in Renfrewshire, a Maggie’s centre for people with cancer and in teams of staff in the NHS.
Using the results of these trials, in 2010 and with funding from the Portobello Fund, IFF modified and developed the new version of Kitbag which has a number of variants to help people access the resources from different perspectives and need. Alongside this development work, IFF has created a version for children which is now available on-line as Kitbag for Families and its variant, Kitbag for Schools.
IFF wishes to thank all its funders for their support of this work.
There is more information about the development of Kitbag and the results from testing out Kitbag in communities in the documents below (to download, right-click and "Save As"). Other reflections and updates can be found on the IFFKitbag blog.