Welcome to my March 2022 update of our SW London mental health carers forum. The group is a hybrid group of my other forums. Usually my carer forums focus on engagement and updates, but this one sometimes acts as a peer and network group for those caring for someone with mental illness.
Speakers for March 2022
Karen Persaud – SWLSTG – Carers, friends and family involvement coordinator
Gary Baker – Carers Support Worker – Richmond Mind
Antonia Buamah – Patient peer support – EMHIP– Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project.
Karen from South West London & St George Presents
Karen who sometimes attends and engages with our group updated us on carer developments at the local SW London mental health trust. Karen spoke about the new carers peer support worker Zoe Hannah. The new role will be running for one year and should hopefully continue onwards.
The trust is actually really committed to pushing forward the lived experience workforce as part of their overall service delivery. This is where they have four services user peer support workers in posts. SWLSTG are also currently reviewing the trust’s carers strategy, which is quite outdated.
The new strategy will also be reflecting on the need for the trust to do more around supporting carers through their carers recovery journey, because carers go through a recovery alongside supporting loved ones through their own recovery journey. This means it is trying to balancing out wellbeing needs.
The next update for SWLSTG is there new recovery college course, which is being facilitated by Kingston adults education, college. The course has been adapted for wellbeing techniques for carers, families and friends. The course should be running for 10 weeks. Karen also updated briefly on the friends, families and carers group incase new members of our forum are interested in trust involvement.
Last updates from Karen was on the carer awareness training for staff, especially on induction for staff. This would involve carer communication skills plus carer involvement in the planning and discharge.
Gary Baker – Carers Support Worker – Richmond Mindpresents
Gary fed back on how Ricmond Mind works closely with Richmond carers regarding mental health carers. Carers can be self refered or be referred to by another professional. Once they received that referral, Richmond Mind will contact the carer. From there the carer will be given access to support and workshops.
Gary mentioned that quite a few people tend not to like the term carer and tend to prefer being called a client or the person’s relative.
Responses from carer members.
Are services at Richmond could be offered in Merton or Kingston? (quite a few members asked about the services) My question was on engagement from SWLSTG, I wondered if Richmond Mind staff have been invited to meetings. Gary talked at length regarding carer champion meetings. The next question I asked for engagement from community mental health teams. This is where Gary mentioned that there was not enough.
Antonia presents on the Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project (EMHIP)
Antonia talked about how the Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project (EMHIP) is an attempt to reduce inequalities in access, experience and outcome of mental health care in South West London (Wandsworth & Tooting, Battersea locality). It was developed through the leadership and activism of leaders within the African, African Caribbean, and Asian communities.
The EMHIP advocates for a practical, locally based service improvement programme, co-designed with service users and local Black and Asian communities, based on established evidence, building on existing community led, co-produced projects.
In the UK, people from the Black and Asian community are being denied equal and compassionate mental health care.
They more likely to be brought to and kept in without their consent.
They are more likely to access mental health services through the police and criminal justice systems. find themselves unwell and back again, once released, particularly men
be forcibly restrained and given more than the recommended amount of medication.
The fence of mental heath for the Black and Asian community has been broken for several generations and the many promises of repair (partial or full) has not materialised to date.
We have delved deep, hence, our toolkit EMHIP– Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project.
Antonia pointed out that as a community we’ve recognised that our broken fence must be repaired once and for all and have forged collaborations and partnership with many friends
South West London CCG (CCGs are now replaced to Integrated Care Boards) South West London and St. George’s Mental Health NHS Trust Local context of Black and Asian – voluntary, faith and community groups
This can be organized via the non-profit Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN)
The Hub offers our guests, visitors and other attendees a communal safe place to sit down, relax and have a conversation in a hospitable environment.
¨ Physical Health and Wellbeing checks ¨ Citizen Advice Bureau/Housing First Aid ¨ Pastoral Systemic Therapy ¨ Mental Health and Wellbeing Out-patients type clinics ¨ Explore training or employment opportunities ¨ Promote on-going recovery ¨ Social life wellbeing ¨ Effective “active sign-posting” to the supportive local services or agencies
This was a brief update for my SW London mental health carers peer group. For the month of July SW London NHS will be engaging our group regarding SW London’s mental health strategy. I for one will hope it will include families and carers.
Hello fellow unpaid carers. Welcome to a brief update of my South West London mental health carers forum. I am very behind on my updates because I have been busy working on my new poetry book on carer experiences. I am also developing online courses for carers. So if you want a bit of education, try some of my courses out.
Going back to my SW London carers forum. This one is for April and the following speaker from Hull University was
Dr David Barrett – Empathy and Nurse Education.
Dr David presents to the SW London carers forum
Dr David Barrett from the Department of Paramedical, Perioperative and Advanced Practice at Hull University wrote a paper on “Effectiveness of empathy education for undergraduate nursing students”.
David started out describing to the group on what is empathy. David felt that we would have our own thoughts on the term and what it means to us and why it’s important. David felt that it’s a tricky one, because there’s lots of people who have lots of different ideas on exactly what it is.
Dr David felt that empathy is about being aware of, and understanding what somebody else is feeling. Plus empathy is being able to demonstrate to them, that understanding as well. This mean’t that empathy awareness is not just not just internalising, but also demonstrating to the person that you understand how they’re feeling. Empathy is using that willingness to respond appropriately to those needs. David mentioned about a term “walking in someone else’s shoes, or it’s someone else’s pain”. David felt it was that as a concept.
There seems to be a problem on just how far you can take it as possible to understand what somebody else needs are? This is because everybody is an individual, we’ve all got our own backgrounds or experiences, our own ways of dealing with things. So whether it’s truly possible to ever understand what somebody else is feeling, He thinks it is a discussion that the group could looking into afterwards.
The reason why empathy is so important is that in an health care setting, it can provide some important benefits for people that nurses and other health care providers care for. There is good research that if somebody is empathetic as a health care provider, then the person they provide care for is likely to have a better experience might see higher levels of service user satisfaction.
If there is a healthcare team is demonstrating empathy, and it can, for example, reduce infection rates, improve what you’re feeling yourself, it can even reduce other complications, e.g. diabetes and other things. So in the end we can see improved physical health outcomes. Dr David stated that most importantly you can also see improvements in mental health and well being. This is where you can see lower rates of depression related distress or anxiety. It is also worth mentioning that improved mental health can also sometimes be seen in the healthcare professionals themselves.
Dr David Barrett started talk about how nurses were trained in Empathy at the course and on the importance of families and carers being involved education from an authentic perspective.
Just to note, I missed a month by Jumping to April, but will add the blog for my SW London carer peer group for March later on.
You can get hold of Dr David’s paper from the link below.
Hello fellow carers. University Hospital Lewisham have released a new Survey. The survey is specifically designed for people who have received in-patient care at NHS University Hospital Lewisham within the last 12 months. The survey can also be completed by carers of patients. The survey asks about your experience of the process of being discharged from hospital, and the first few weeks after coming home from hospital.
You can click on the link below to access the survey
Hello fellow carers. A quick update from my past carer forums. This is the April update of my Joint Southwark and Lambeth mental health carers forum.
Speakers for this forum were
Naomi Good – Engagement from Guys & St Thomas NHS FT
Rachel Braverman – Expert by experience at Royal College of Psychiatrists
Just a quick note, I cannot remember if Rachel managed to attend this forum. I think should could not make it and attended my south west London carers group at a later date.
It was however good that Naomi engaged with carers who look after someone with a mental illness. The thing is that patients also use physical health services. So it was important to get stakeholder engagement from Guys & St Thomas hospitals.
Naomi Good Presents to the forum.
I know Naomi very well when she used to work at NSUN, this being the National Service User Network. Naomi did a lot for developing the 4PI involvement standards at mental health NHS trusts. These standards are still very much in use today, although there still needs to be a lot of work done.
Naomi is now the stakeholder engagement at GSTT and is also a carer herself and spoke on the following.
Joint Programme for Carers and Patients in Covid Recovery
Surgical Strategy – delivery workshops and steering group
Apollo Programme – Electronic Health Care Record
Carers Strategy – development
Naomi started by presenting the Joint Program for Carers and Patients.
Basically the programme aims to make sure the views of patients, carers and the public help with future service changes during the pandemic especially those who have been most affected by the pandemic. GSTT want to continue to improve and provide the very best care to patients, especially to those who are:-
Waiting for treatment Virtual access to care Struggling with Long COVID
There actually were some workshops back in April and May which Naomi presented on the surgical strategy
The Apollo Programme
The Apollo Programme
Naomi then spoke about how Apollo will be the most ambitious programme of transformation they have undertaken. GSTT will be replacing many of the systems (both digital and paper). GSTT currently use with a single, integrated and comprehensive source of information across Guys and St Thomas’ (including Royal Brompton and Harefield) and Kings College Hospital Trusts. Epic is a US-based provider of electronic health records (EHR). It is used in some of the best hospitals around the world including the majority of top-ranked US hospitals, and UK trust’s such as Great Ormand Street and Cambridge.
GSTT Carer Strategy
I asked a quick question regarding GSTT’s carer’s strategy in which Naomi responded they do have one. The GSTT carer’s strategy is embedded within each of the different strategies, but there is an effort in refreshing that and making sure it is available across the trust, which is seen as priority area.
Naomi talked about how others could have the opportunity to make a huge impact to the care of patients and the experience of carers across Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London. During the programme to date, the carer’s voice has been integral to shaping how they will support carer’s to access care on their loved ones behalf’s. In future phases of the programme, patients and carers will help GSTT to user test the patient-facing applications, and design their patient communications and training programmes.
• Reimbursement of time spent in workshops and meetings in line with Trust policy • Reimbursement of travel expenses, childcare costs, and carer costs • Access to various IT training opportunities • Foundation Trust Membership (for those 18 years of over). • Job references
Here are two more poems from my upcoming book “The Poetry book of mental health caring”.
The first poem focuses on wellbeing for carers who are caring for someone suffering mental illness. To be fair it does not actually have to be mental illness, but the main point is the person is thrown into becoming a carer.
The next poem is more psychological. The poem called “The Mirror” asks the carer to reflection on their identity, especially when the carer is judgemental about themselves. I certainly was very judgemental about trying to provide unpaid care and at times I still am critical.
Welcome to a brief update on my joint Southwark & Lambeth mental health carers forum. I run this forum online via zoom once a month. It used to run from Maudsley hospital, but had to move it online due to the covid situation. I am guess I am so lazy to move the forum back to the mental health hospital. Will have to see.
Another update is I have started my volunteering at my local accute hospital trust, so I will be having a carer stall for families of patients to visit me. Lewisham & Greenwich trust have been helpful in giving me a spot to engage with families and carers. There will be lots to work towards, but it certainly is a good start.
Going back to my Joint Southwark and Lambeth mental health carers forum. The speakers for March 2022
Claire Parry – Maudsley Psychotherapist on updates at psychotherapy projects at the NHS Trust
Rebecca Davies & David Meyrick – Developments for families & carers in the borough of Southwark
Annette Davies – Carer peer groups and PCREF.
Natalie Marshall – Community peer lead and support for unpaid carers
Claire Parry presents to the group
Clare Parry is a family therapist. She took up the post in June 2021. This being the role of lead family therapist in Soutwark. This includes being a trusted advisor around family therapy and family work across the NHS trust. So part of her role is looking at where services may have family therapy and family work and where they don’t. Her focus is on more of the psychotherapy side rather than kind of carers assessment side. A lot is done to make family members and carers comfortable with the service they provide.
Part of her role over the last year, was working really hard in the psychotherapy services and reduce waiting times. There has been an acknowledgement that waiting times for therapies are far too long. So they have been piloting a project, which means that they are offering other interventions, while individuals, couples or families are on the waiting list for therapy
Clare is very interested in the stories that many carers have to tell, So she wants more carer engagement to events. Claire hopes that psychotherapy can make a different to others who don’t get to talk when someone’s unwell. Clare talked about how some major carer systems have been influcing the NHS trust services, those being the Tree of Life and the Triangle of Care. She also talked about Open Dialogue.
Rebecca and David presents on community transformation project
A lot had been covered by Clare on community transformation, but it was also included at this part of the forum. Rebecca mentioned that a new team, that being a low intensity team has just started. It has just been open for a couple of weeks and the rest of the services will be moving over. There was also more talk about the new mental health hospital build from Lambeth to Southwark.
Rebecca also mentioned that there will be a north and south primary care mental health teams, and the four CMHT’s which will work with most of the service users across them across the borough of Southwark. Rebecca moved on to talk about complex care services, which will include assertive outreach, rehab teams, low intensity team and early intervention team. Plus community mental health teams are going to be merging a lot of the other services.
David who is the maudsley inpatient carer lead for Southwark talked more about Triangle of Care. He admitted things had been slow due to the previous covid-19 epidemic, but with South London & Maudsley working towards their first star in the triangle of care membership, things are picking up. David mentioned how each ward has a carers champion and how they are engaging with families and carers on the wards. David had a strict regime of carers being included in patient notes especially in surguries. Support for patients had to be increased and families & carers are an important factor. David also talked in-depth of the self assessment dashboard which helps to work towards the triangle of care standard.
Next we had a carer who is championed in Southwark for helping to run groups for carers. Her name is Annette and she also run’s her ethnic carers peer group. To be honest, I am a member of her ethnic carers group and is was great to here how she empowers and links other mental health carers. Most if not all carer groups are online due to covid and travel restrictions, but I am sure when things settle down, there might be a room which can host the groups.
Annette also spoke how she was South London and Maudsley’s co-chair for their Patient Carer Race Equality Framework, something I myself have a very close eye on, but not really involved in. To be honest, I usually provide updates regarding race and mental health off my online news site
Welcome to my latest blog. I decided to post something different this time and I want those who read this blog to reflect. I want people to reflect on what makes a community?
Well to be honest many things actually make a community, sometimes it can be hard to pin down. After all community is a large concept, but for me I think people make a community. My thoughts on this does not stop there, I was wondering what makes a caring community? This kind of question makes things tricky, but these days a caring community is something we are still working towards.
I do not think a caring community can be pinned down to one thing e.g. People. I think many concepts can influence and motivate others to care about each other. If you go through my website, I often talk and promote the ideals of unpaid caring. I promote how important families care for members of that family. I promote how friends can stay connected and ask how someone is doing. I promote how neighbours check in on each other, even if to miss the latest episode of EastEnders.
The thing is to make others aware of such ideals, because I am sure when the time comes, we all would want a community that cares for us. Unfortunately it is not that simple. Those in the community all have different values, culture and different identities. How can we work towards the common value that is important to everyone in the community? There will be times when those in the community cannot understand each other or do not recognise the value of each other. This is why it is so important we continue to connect, learn and share with the community.
It is true that values, culture and identities are different within the community. However we can celebrate our uniqueness as a common goal and continue to share the common values we all cherish. As a community we must continue to recognise those values and build on them, everyone’s voice will be important although there will be some things we need to avoid. Not everyone wants a community, but I know deep down the majority cherish the importance of connecting, sharing, learning and building on culture. These are the great values for the community and these values can help a community that cares for its people.