Welcome to another blog post from Matthew Mckenzie a mental health carer in South London. Hope you are enjoying my site so far, so feel free to check out some of my other creations, that being my YouTube channel, twitter channel, mental health newspaper and audio.
On the 14th of February i attended the Lewisham Mental Health & Wellbeing day 2017 “What Keeps Me Well?”. Which is a very important topic regarding mental health and wellbeing. The event lasted from 10:00 to 4:30 pm and was held over at Lewisham Town Hall.
The Mental Health & Wellbeing day was held in conjunction with
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
Various community groups and charities (sorry if I have missed any out anyone)
Feel free to view the video version
What it was about?
Usually held every year, I feel it is a great chance to not only bring the mental health service providers, council and health commissioners together, but also a chance to bring the local community groups and charities to promote their services to the public, patients and their families or carers.
As mentioned before the theme of the event is “What Keeps Me Well?” and usually there is a different theme each year. The workshops held later during the day focused on the theme and helped to educate the attendees on wellbeing.
Who was there?
The first thing I did when I arrived at the Town hall is sign in and head to the advertising stalls. It is one of the best place to network with different community groups, old friends and fellow carers. Here is a list of the stalls I visited.
Service user and carer advisory group (SUCAG)
Including Some representatives of MHOAD
This is an ‘umbrella’ group which enables service users, relatives and carers (past and present) to discuss views and feedback to inform the development and delivery of SLaM services.
Healthwatch ensures local people’s voices counts when it comes to shaping and improving local health and social care services
Sydenham Garden Project
Sydenham Garden is a unique wellbeing centre utilising its gardens, nature reserve and activity rooms to help people in their recovery from mental and physical ill-health in Lewisham.
Action for refugees in lewisham (AFRIL)
AFRIL is a grassroots charity, based in London, working with refugees and asylum seekers to relieve poverty and social isolation.
Bromley and Lewisham mind
Bromley & Lewisham Mind works to improve the quality of life of adults affected by mental health problems or dementia.
Carers Lewisham supports Carers in the London Borough of Lewisham aged 5 upwards. They provide a range of services including advice, information, emotional support, breaks, opportunities to meet other carers, and time out from caring activities.
Usually available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.
South London and maudsley membership and engagement
Provide mental health service for those experiencing chronic mental health issues or problems. This stall was advertising membership to the trust, council of governors and engagement.
Service from SLaM or South London and Maudsley. IAPT stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapy and is an NHS service designed to offer psychological therapies (CBT) to people suffering from anxiety, depression and stress
Lewisham Warm Homes
Helping those to keep warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression
Change Grow Live
Used to be CRI, leading charity championing people who have faced hardships such as addiction, homelessness and abuse, and supporting them into recovery.
Family Health ISIS
FHI services targets people from the African/African Caribbean community, who have been experiencing mental health Challenges.
SLaM carers support information
Providing information for carers and families on supporting someone with a mental health illness as well as themselves.
Council Chamber sessions
The Lewisham Council chamber sessions featured a set of 3 talks and a Q&A panel session.
Carmine De Rosa talking about St Marys therapeutic garden project
Lots of work has been done renovating the St Marys Church garden. We were shown a series of picture slides from the event’s chair Carmine De Rosa. Gardening can be therapeutic and contribute to the wellbeing of those involved and it is exciting to see a project finally develop.
Councillor and Lewisham MH champion Jonathan Slater
Jonathon was at the event talking about Living well project and Lewisham MH and wellbeing strategy. Jonathon talked about the importance of including carers and service users into shaping Lewisham’s mental health strategy, he has worked very hard to put mental health in the councils agenda and there is still a lot of work to do. Not all questions have a quick answer or solution, but Jonathon stressed that if we all worked together as a community then anything is possible.
George Howard talking about London’s MH Transformation programme
George Howard spoke about the importance of developing a London wide Mental Health Transformation program where efforts will be made to close the mortality gap regarding those suffering mental ill health. The program will look to develop and enhance wellbeing for children and young people, connect with those who use social media and develop services for those suffer post-natal depression.
This part of the wellbeing day gave a chance for those in the audience to raise questions to selected members of the panel and also provide statements and feedback. I felt this part of the event highly important because people do not always want to be told updates and not be able to ask difficult and challenging questions. I was told several times during the event that the Q&A session was one of the highlights of the day.
The Morning and Afternoon workshops consisted of the following, one of the workshops I helped facilitate. Unfortunately I could not stay for the afternoon session, but from what I noticed, there was a very good turn out for each and every one of the workshops.
- Service user involvement: What does it mean for you?
- Mindfulness for carers
- Lewisham Jobcentre Plus workshop on MH and wellbeing
- What’s important for MH Carers and how can they be supported
- Wheel of well-being
- Lewisham recovery journeys
- How to cope with Medically unexplained symptoms
- Gardens and Health – how gardening can keep us well
- Lewisham public mental health and wellbeing strategy – the next steps
It was a shame the Mental Health and Wellbeing day did not occur in 2016, but I was not disappointed in 2017. Out of all the past wellbeing days, this event stood out because it allowed even more involvement from Service users and carers (like myself). I am thankful for Lewisham CCG for allowing me to host a workshop and providing a platform for the community to engage and focus on what keeps us all healthy not only in body, but also in our minds.
As a note, I would like to invite mental health carers like myself to book themselves at Carers Lewisham ‘MH Carers forum’.
I am looking forward to the next Lewisham Mental Health and Wellbeing day. Till Next time.