Carers week 2018

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Hello everyone welcome to your new blog for Matthew McKenzie a carer from South London. Now as of this blog it is carers week 2018. Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

For this year carers 2018 looks to address caring in the community as where carers can come connected to the community and also keeping carers healthy. It is quite common to know that carers can also be isolated and caring for someone that they have known for most of their lives or at least someone special.

We all want a caring Society so that’s why it is so important and continue to address that carers can be connected to the community.

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1. Make sure carer centers are still active in the area so at least carers have a safe space to go and get support and advocacy.

2. Make sure staff are trained to be carer aware and engage with carers and unknown carers as much as possible.

3. If you know of any carers or your close to someone who is currently carer, it does not hurt to give them a call to see how they are doing.

4. A good one is to make a Pledge on the ‘carers week’ website. https://www.carersweek.org/get-involved/pledge-support.

5. Educate carers on how they can keep fit and healthy so in order that they can care for others it is important that carers care for themselves.

6. Reward organisations that make a continued effort to raise the profile and support of carers so it can sit a good example to other organisations for instance GP practices, NHS trusts or councils.

Giving help

It is so important that you raise and continue raise the needs of 6.5 million carers across the country. It is a shame that carers have to Sacrifice so much when their loved ones become unwell. Carers don’t often ask for much so that’s why we should at least give carers some recognition.

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Lambeth MH Carers Forum update May 2018

IMG_20180531_195653Welcome to the May’s update of the Lambeth Mental Health Carer forum. It has been a while since I did an update for the forum, since I could not attend the previous Lambeth MH carer forum and forgot to blog about the other previous forums.

This forum caters for unpaid carers who are caring for someone with a mental health need, e.g. someone suffering from psychosis, eating disorder, depression, bipolar and other MH illnesses.

The forum is strategic and gives carers the involvement and empowerment to query, question and even compliment the mental health services in Lambeth and sometimes beyond e.g. we are hoping to have a representative from NHS england attend in future.

This Lambeth MH forum was on the 31st of May and was well attended with some very good questions and statements from the forum members. The Lambeth MH Carers forum is run from the 336 building off Brixton road.

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Guest speakers at the forum was Stacey Hemphill from the ‘Living Well Network Hub’ and also Lambeth Police Mental Health lead inspector Mark McLeavery.

Updates from Stacey was on how and why the Lambeth Living Well Network was started up and provides support people’s Mental Health and wellbeing. They liason with Lambeth GPs and those using the services.

Stacey talked about how the network engages with carers and what support they can provide service users. The Living Well network runs at the following places being the Mosaic Clubhouse on Effra Road, Clapham Methodist Church and also at 336 Brixton Road, you can call them on 0203-691-5080 or email them on slm-tr.lwnhub@nhs.net

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Next up was Inspector Mark McLeavery from the Lambeth Met Police. He spoke about how the Lambeth police engages with someone who is in a crisis out in public. The forum were very interested to hear how someone in crisis ends up at the Maudsley’ hospital ‘Central Place of Safety’.

Mark mentioned Lambeth has a challenging and high rate of mental health needs, plus the stigma of mental health can make things even more challenging.

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Mark Spoke about the Crisis Assessment Team ‘CAT’ and the use of ‘street triage’ Mark stressed that there are no use for police custody cells for those in mental distress, although I did mention the problem with beds and he mentioned at worse A&E might be the last option for someone in serve distress.

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The forum moved on to discuss GDPR and updates from Carers Hub Lambeth, it now seems that the charity ‘Help for Carers’ is being disbanded and Carers Hub Lambeth has split from it.

Going on to the minutes of the last forum that took place in April, the updates were from how Lambeth Healthwatch are engaging with its support networks. Updates on the King’s Health Partners ‘Mind & Body’ programme. Updates on C4C visits, plus the good news on the Money and MH Link update with government passing a law that supports those suffering debt from MH illness, which involved one of our very own carer member of the forum helping to lead on the project.

Other updates have been no news on the rota from SLaM regarding guest speakers, but I mentioned the trust were under reorganisation, so we will see what happens after that. There is also a push to have a Lambeth MP engage with the forum to see the wonderful work unpaid carers are trying to do to help their community.

This concludes the update from the Lambeth MH carers forum.

Lewisham MH Carers forum April 2018 update

IMG_20180529_135451Welcome to the Lewisham MH carers forum update for May. Out of all the four Mental Health carer forums in South London, this is the oldest one I chair. The MH carers forum ran on the 29th of May.

Carers Lewisham have been very good in supporting the forum and helping to advertise it, but we still need to reach other mental health carers in the borough of Lewisham. It is very important unpaid mental health carers know what is going on with the mental health services, let alone being engaged and trying to influence them.

For the month of May, we had guest speaker Stephanie Edwards who is the Clinical Team Leader for the Psychosis service in Lewisham. This forum was highly strategic as the forum members got a brief breakdown of the mental health services in Lewisham. The mental health service structure for the borough of Lewisham was complicated due to the current restructuring of SLaM staff, but hopefully we will have Donna Hayward-Sussex at the April forum, she is the Deputy Director of the Crisis Services within the Psychological Medicine Team.

The forum members need to know and query how mental health staff restructuring will affect service user and carers in the borough of Lewisham. As far as the forum knows, there will be be senior management consultations regarding interim posts.

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The mental health trust that covers 4 boroughs and a few more regarding mental health services is preparing for the CQC visit in July, they have spent a long time preparing services and involving carers and service users in ward/service inspections, which was good to hear. The MH carers forum appreciates staff have worked very hard.

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Regarding future forum engagement, the members look to be updated on the NHS trusts estate developments, governance structure and involvement oppertunities. I queried how many carers does Lewisham MH services have on the books, but it can be difficult to pin down the answer, still heard that around about over 800 Mental health cases are in the books, so it gives us some idea of the number of families and carers we need to reach.

Stephanie Edwards is preparing for Lewisham’s People’s Day, so the forum looks to provide cards, posters and leaflets.

After discussions, I brought out a large map of SLaM’s services and Stephanie took time to explain what the services in Lewisham are about, who was responsible and answered queries from the forum members.

There is concern that not enough carers in the borough know what is going on and are not getting involved. There are plans to have the forum held alternatively in the evenings at the Depford community centre. We also hope the carers support group can be set up in Lewisham Hospital so new carers can gain therapeutic support since there is limited time for carers stories at a Carer MH Forum.

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The forum has requested an MP visit soon from the borough of Lewisham to boost carer empowerment and understand carer issues with the borough

This concludes the update for the Lewisham MH carer forum.

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Southwark MH Carers Forum May 2018

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Here is the update from the forum I run after the BME MH Carer/SU forum in the afternoons.  This forum is aimed at unpaid carers in the borough of Southwark, although mental health professionals are free to attend.

The May carer forum was very well attended with representatives from Southwark CCG, Southwark Healthwatch, Kings Health Partners and nurses from the Southwark inpatient acute wards.

At the start of the forum I presented what a mental health carer is, that being basically an unpaid carer supporting someone with mental health needs.

We then had Eliza Hinchliffe presenting on Kings Health Partners project ” Mind and Body Programme”

She presented on the new Mind and Body programme, which is a Kings Health Partners initiative between Guys&St Thomas, Kings College Hospital and SLaM. The Mind & Body programme looks to close the gap between mental health needs and physical health needs.

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The forum discussed ways engagement can be made with carers in mind. There is an offer to promote the forum via the hospitals in Southwark, which means families and Carers can link up on what is going on.

The forum hoped to have Mick Wright Turner – Head of PMIC Southwark Pathway, but he was unavailable.  However we were very impressed that nurses from the Mental Health unit attended the forum to speak about the carers pathway progress.

Next up to present was Karen Clarke who is the mental health lead at Southwark CCG. The forum is particularly interested in collaborating with her regarding updates on mental health services in the borough of Southwark, especially services that needs to give more thought/involvement and engagement about families and carers.

Karen spoke about her role and an introduction about Southwark’s mental health strategy. There will also be a IAPTs review,  the Southwark wellbeing hub review and more updates.  The forum spent some time comparing it to Lambeth’s Mosaic clubhouse. The forum would like southwark CCG to help promote what we do and let carers know there is a place to be heard.  Karen aims to continually engage with the forum, so carers and carer champions can be involved and spread the word.

Next was Southwark Healthwatch updating on projects regarding carers?

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Southwark Healthwatch spoke about their new initiative to engage with carers about mental health services.

The engagement officers took the time to ask carers on what they think would be a mental health crisis and where would the carers take their loved one during a crisis and would like to interview carers about mental health services in the borough of Southwark.

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The forum again would like Southwark Healthwatch to help promote the forum, which Healthwatch agreed via their community board.

The next part of the forum looked into engagement requests Updates

There was a very short discussion on meeting the MP Neil Coyle, the MP has helped promote the forum and there will be a Southwark MH event in Parliament with members of the forum talking about why such a forum is needed.  All members noted that this will bring much needed awareness of what carers are trying to do while being empowered to do so.

Members are also excited that MP Helen Hayes is due to visit the forum in June.

Lastly we had an update from Carers involved in SLaM Foundation Trust

I have been helping train staff on the wards, one ward was actually done over at the Maudsley, this is in regards to carers & confidentiality. The training is being done with help from the trusts Modern Matrons.

Another member of the forum attended NHS England’s conference and raised if their 5 year plan includes try Triangle of Care.

This concludes the update for the Southwark MH Carers forum, stay tuned for the Lewisham carers forum update and also the Lambeth Carers forum update.

 

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum May Update

Welcome back to a quick update on one of the mental health carer forums I chair. This particular forum involves unpaid BME carers and those using or have used the mental health system. This is the only forum which involves ethnicity at it’s core.

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Lewisham is a very diverse borough and there is a high rate of mental health representation amongst the afro/carribean population. The forum has been running since last year and we have made a lot of progress, especially through engagement.

The forum runs once a month, usually on a Friday. The main topic for the May BME forum was on the SLaM quality report on the “Quality Priority setting for 2018/19”. All 4 of the Mental Health forums had a chance to give feedback on the mental health services South London & Maudsley provides regarding quality improvement. Despite feedback having to be rushed, I am grateful that the board has given the forums opportunity to provide feedback.

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The report is an 8 page breakdown of where feedback is given in regards to improving quality of services at the trust. The BME MH forum meeting held on the 25th of May focused on page 7 of the report. I allowed each member of the forum to speak about how they felt was raised in the report.
– Quite a few had opinions about how medication could be improved and wondered how the forum would be updated on progress.

– It was mentioned that some people would not have time to read the report and it should have pictures, but I felt at least we can have a discussion about the report so members can hear other’s views who had read the report.

– A lot of the members felt it was very important that the board take the suggestion of including familes in services, especially on the ward. One member felt comforted that family visited them on the ward, because they had a difficult time with staff.

– Another member wanted more information booklets, since I had handed them the new carers handbook, the confidentiality handbook and they queried why they had not seen those before.

– Some members want engagement regarding what compliants and compliments are made across the trust

– Lastly a discussion was raised on the problem of training staff to be empathic, especially staff from BME backgrounds who still lack empathy towards BME service users. This requires more discussion.

The forum members look forward to the Police along with the Central Place of Safety attending the June forum, especially since there was concern due to the recent death in Catford.

One important note is the members wish to have a mental health act officer engage with them to understand not only the mental health act, but also how the trust will adopt any new changes to Mental Health Law.

Mental Health Awareness week 2018

Welcome to a new blog from a mental health carer in South London. This video helps to raise awareness of mental health. Specifically mental health awareness week 2018.

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What on earth is mental health awareness week you say? I actually have done a few videos on the awareness event some years back, but let me refresh your mind.

As a note, I have also done a video version, press play to watch it.

Mental Health awareness week aims to raise awareness of mental health and mental illness or health needs. Mental illness can affect us all ranging from minor mental health problems to chronic mental health needs. Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 14th to the 20th May. For 2018 the theme is on stress. Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes

Without campaigns or events to raise awareness about stress and mental health, many people would fall victim to stress, which can actually get out of control. We all experience stress and minor levels can actually help us achieve what we are trying to do, but prolonged and high levels of stress can cause damage to our mental and physical health.

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Stress can affect your mood, behaviour and body. Stress can cause any or a combination of the following.

  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of focus
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling overwhelmed

Stress can also lead on to other mental health issues being

  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Addiction problems in order to cope with stress
  • Eating issues

Sometimes what we need is to recognize when we are stressed and either stop or behaviour or seek help. Taking time out from stressful situations can do us a world of good, especially speaking to friends in the community.

So what have I done for MH Awareness week 2018? Not only did I promote awareness via this video, but I took part in a Curry & Chaat event over at Southwark carers. It is important not to forget those who try to protect and care for someone with mental health needs.

I hope this blog has been educational to you and hope you have a happy mental health awareness week 2018.

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum April

Welcome to the April update of the Lewisham BME Mental Health Carer & Service User forum. I know it is a mouthful of a forum name, but I hope it explains fully the forums purpose. Out of all the 4 forums I participate in, this forum is specialised for BME members who often can face a double stigma of identity, neglect and mental health needs.

The forum runs once a month at Family Health ISIS, which is a charity that focuses specifically on African & Caribbean needs in the community. With lack of funding comes difficulty in outreach for those struggling with mental health needs. In fact on my way to the forum I found several unfortunately BME people on the streets clearing struggling with mental health needs and I often wonder what support or engagement they are getting.

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The forum had a good turn out because we have SLaM’s diversity lead explaining her role and engaging with the members of the forum. She told the members about what the trust aims to provide regarding BME members from across the 4 boroughs and listened to us on what works on our journey through psychological therapy and what does not work.

Some of the feedback was on race and Identity.
Problems in reinventing the wheel.
Tracing back issues via family tree structure.
Assessments not flagging up mental health needs in order to access services.
Increasing communication to GPs, Churches, Mosques and community groups.
How people need to be involved and sharing power with those wanting to shape services.

The members of the forum hope SLaM’s diversity lead comes back to work with us on tackling such issues.

During the forum, I was happy to see Lewisham CCG turn up and take notes since they were interested in what was going on. They will get back to me later, but I am happy they are becoming more involved.

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We also had a healthy eating session from Healthwatch Lewisham who spent a good hour speaking to members about what foods contain, how foods can be categorised and we also spent time making a healthy fruit kebab.

All of the food was provided by Lewisham Tesco, which helps organisations strengthen community spirit and involvement. The forum members appreciated healthwatch Lewisham’s healthy eating workshop and they have been very good in engaging with the BME forum.

This concludes the update for the Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU forum.