Monthly Archives: July 2017

Southwark Mental Health Carers Forum 2017 July

Southwark MH Carers forumThis is a update from the new Southwark Mental Health Carers forum for July. The Mental Health Carers forum for the London borough of Southwark, took place on the 28th of July 2017 over at the Jane field room at Maudsley hospital.

We had good attendance from carers, a representative of Southwark Carers and a researcher working on carers experiences. The first forum for carers caring for someone suffering mental health problems looked into how such a forum would be shaped.


Continue reading

Lewisham BME Mental Health Carers Forum July 2017

handsWelcome to the update for July 2017 of the Lewisham BME mental health carers forum. This is the first BME Mental Health forum for carers in this borough. The forum is run in conjunction with Family Health ISIS who provide community support for those in mental distress and also advocate for their unpaid carers.

To watch the video update, please click on the video below.

The forum chaired by myself examined how the forum should take place and why such a forum should exist. In the discussion it was clear that we feel we have no idea how many BME Carers in Lewisham. We also feel that perhaps there is limited influence BME carers have on Mental Health services.

Mental Health BME carers need some empowerment in their role and hopefully the forum can be a physical platform to allow such carers to engage and empower themselves.

There of course is a large community BME in the London borough of Lewisham. Plus with a history of discrimination, stigma and lack of understanding of mental health, which BME communities can experience, the forum wishes to investigate what causes such issues and how could they be tackled.


Other reasons for the creation of the BME carers forum is that a high rate of the BME community using the mental health services. We unfortunately do not know the number, so we should query data, which Healthwatch could provided some assistance.

The reasons for the forum are numerous, so I could not list them all down, however lastly there has been several studies and research requiring input from BME communities, but with minimal reach. Why?

Questions and issues

Some questions were raised during the forum e.g.

  • What is the quality improvement for BME carers?
  • Who is monitoring the data?
  • Plus there should be a breakdown of the data.

A Lot of the discussion focused on the stigma experienced by BME lived experienced and their carers. We all told stories of what it was like to be a BME Mental Health carer and stigma was a common theme.

We felt lack of education and information on what mental health means could be affecting the BME community. There also needs to be a range of mental health education for young BME groups, but the forum wondered how this is going to progress.

One thing, which the forum members felt was that there seems to be an issue with mental health jargon. The theme kept occurring when exploring BME mental health carer issues.

We looked at who should engaged with the forum and due to browsing through the “Meeting the public sector equality duty at SLaM 2014” – The Equality Manager, Organisation and Community SLaM was suggested.

Also the Senior Associate, Equality & Diversity at Lewisham CCG was suggested, but we also need to continue to grow the forum, which must feed for FHI carer support groups.

Lambeth Mental Health Carers Forum July 2017

20140710_143445Welcome back and here is the update for the Lambeth Mental Health carers forum for July 2017. This probably the second time the forum took place, since the last Lambeth Mental Health carers forum was more of a planning meeting to structure the forum.

As a form of carer empowerment, I chaired the forum and hope we can have a rotation of carers charing for the following months. Chairing a forum can give carers more confidence at meetings, leadership and being involved.

Continue reading

Lewisham mental health carers forum July 2017

coverHere is the update for the Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum for July 2017.  This is one of the older mental health carer forums in south London, the carers forum has been running for more than a year.  Of course, When I say “Mental Health Carer”, I mean someone who is caring unpaid for a relative, friend or neighbour suffering from some form of mental illness.

Continue reading

Consciousness and the end of mental life – Lecture Review and summary


Prof Daniel N Robinson

Hello again. Hope that after reading this blog, you have time to check out my site. I do more than just the awareness series on mental illness.  I also do a series of lecture reviews, mainly on psychology, psychiatry, sociology and ethics.  Why on earth should a carer spend time on humanities and psychology? Well for a start it is interesting and fairly related in the mental health area.Hello again. Hope that after reading this blog, you have time to check out my site. I do more than just the awareness series on mental illness.  I also do a series of lecture reviews, mainly on psychology, psychiatry, sociology and ethics.  Why on earth should a carer spend time on humanities and psychology? Well for a start it is interesting and fairly related in the mental health area.

This particular review looks at one of the psychological greats lecture on his course “consciousness and its implications”.  The lecturer is Daniel N Robinson who is a philosopher who is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Georgetown University and a Fellow of the Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University.

Unfortunately the course can be a little challenging to get into at first, but there is nothing wrong with replaying the lecture in order to get to grips with the subject material.  The course has 12 lectures and as you can tell Prof Daniel spends time examining the mystery of what is consciousness.

As a carer, all the years I have been trying to support someone close to me struggling through mental illness, I found myself asking deep and profound questions.  The most common question i would ask myself is “Where is the person that I used to know?”.  How far has this mental illness taken from the person I used to know.

As of this blog post, the lecture I will focus on is lecture 12 titled “Consciousness and the end of mental life”.  I did have some reservations playing the final lecture, because as you may have guessed there is this overwhelming fear of deep dark questions probing me on the challenges I will have to face.

The lecture begins off looking as several startling cases of patients trapped years in a coma only to slowly come out of a coma from severe brain trauma.   One incredible story was of Terry Wallis – The man who slept for 19 years. Terry Wallis emerged from a 19 year coma and regained the power of speech.


Medical professionals were astounded and started to examine the changes in his brain, it had always been the case that neurons were non-regenerative, but in the Wallis case there seemed to be strange activity in his neurons. How!?!?
Prof Daniel starts to talk about the Coma Recovery Association and how the association offered advice on how comatose patients can recover, but it is risky.  Within the lecture we look at further cases where there was one woman who recovered from a coma only to complain that unconsciously she kept hearing the doctor by her bedside talking.

Another startling case was of was of Brian Kastler, neurosurgeon’s in this case were astounded at his slow, but gradual recover from devastating brain trauma. The lecture looks at many other cases and examples, but Daniel is quick to point out that these cases are not often the expect outcome.

Embed from Getty Images

Prof Daniel reminds us that the brain is not like skin or bones, if affected by trauma then the cells more likely will die. Still the regeneration is a lot greater in childhood, depending on the damage.  However if the cerebral cortex is damaged then the greater the damage. The lecture points out that each patient case is unique and throws light into neuroscience. What was the deciding factors in each of the cases?

The lecture then moves on to the Terri Schiavo case, where a patient “Terri Schiavo” was a right-to-die legal case in the United States from 1990 to 2005, involving Theresa Marie “Terri” Schiavo, a woman in an irreversible persistent vegetative state. The lecture examines the problem of PVS (persistent vegetative state) cases and looks into cases where there has been misdiagnoses. This then shows the dilemma faced by doctors with several startling questions “When to turn off the life support system?”, “where are there signs of life?”, “What are the other possibilities?”.

Can you begin to see how the lecture is slowly moving into ethics?  There is no mistake why I have added a link into ethics off my blog site because when practicing medicine, you are dealing with people’s lives and if doing that then ethics is not far away.

Embed from Getty Images

Prof Daniel lecture looks into more philosophical areas on American philosopher Thomas nagel’s question “what is it like to be a bat?”. Prof Daniel wants to raise the implications of consciousness.  Prof Daniel also talks about Arestole’s work on the biological studies on sensation.  Eventually the lecture gets into deeper questions on what is consciousness as he queries if someone dreaming is conscious regarding if they are aware of sensations. A good example is given on how we determine our own consciousness, which is down to epistemic justification (part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs).  If no one believes that we are conscious, then we can only hope to share our experience with that person so they experience the same thing. e.g. pointing to an object in the room as validation.

Embed from Getty Images

The lecture then takes a greater step towards ethics and moral thought. With examining questions on.

  • Our duty to others, our rights to others.
  • They have a rights to be treated even though unwell, but how?
  • We have a duty not to exploit the vulnerabilities of others.
  • What are our duty to others whose rights cannot be protect by themselves?

Prof Daniel then throws up a dilemma not only for health professionals, but for carers or caretakers. Remember the question I asked myself at the beginning of this blog?  So this is why I often say to mental health carers that they should take an interest in psychology and psychiatry.  Do not be put off by its deep complex field, we all have something to contribute.

Friendly male doctor's hands holding female patient's hand

Caring for someone with Depression or Anxiety

10177241_747738765268892_5890142387668348507_nWelcome back to another one of my collaborating on raising mental health awareness. This time I am collaborating with mental health survivor Psycopathic_ sociopath. That is the name of her Youtube channel. You may wish to check out some of her stuff, although she has just begun to do more videos on mental health.

Since my link from the states has suffered through Depression and Anxiety, we decided to base our latest video on caring/supporting someone going through both mental health illnesses. She spoke about what she feels would help someone going through depression and anxiety, plus I also did the same.

If you wish to watch the video, please click on the video below.

Supporting someone with depression

On my section, I spoke in depth about supporting or caring for someone suffering through depression. Most of my tips were fairly basic and quite common. Mainly being there for someone going through such a hard time. Being there for someone can help them no matter whatever mental health problem the person is experiencing.

You may also want to ask how they are from time to time. It always helps to check as it shows you care. My link from the states mentioned that if you are going to use comforting words, then try be sincere about it. People can often tell when someone is not honest about how they care for someone.


One more tip I placed in the video was When the person talks, it is important that you listen and do this actively. Not always an easy thing to do, but it does pay off in the end.

The last section of the video covers anxiety. I hope you get time to watch the video and I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog post. See you next time and have a good healthy mental health journey.

Lambeth Mental Health Carers Forum June 2017

20140710_143445Welcome back. Here is the first Mental Health Carer forum update for the London Borough of Lambeth. Help for Carers or what used to be known as Crossroads has managed to create a brand new Mental Health Carers forum for Lambeth. With the collaboration of its carers.

To see the video update please click on the 4 minute video below.

Continue reading

Challenges for global mental health


Welcome back to another blog post. This one is different from my usual posts although I do stay within the topic of mental health. This blog post looks into the challenges of global mental health. I decided to make a video focusing on the challenges of several countries.

In the video I looked at the following countries mental health systems.

Brazil and many more other countries.

Unfortunately since I am examining how such mental health systems work within this video, the video is very long. However you can always choose to watch or listen to it in parts.

You can see the video below.

I was often intrigued as to what caused certain mental health scandals in some countries and I discuss them in some detail within the video. E.g. why a minister resigned in South Africa, what caused Japan to overhaul its mental health system, the use of restraints and other difficult topics around the world.

Within the video I also look at the World Health Organisation suicide ranking index for each country. Some countries have managed to decrease the overall amount of suicides, while for other countries this still remains a challenge.

As a note, the video gives a basic perception of global mental health, however I hope you enjoy it.  I hope to do another video listing more countries at a later date.

Why we care – in the family



Welcome back to my first blog post for July, I want to focus this post on why people care in the family or why I think people care due to my own perspective. This blog post will focus on caring in the family. Now I have been a carer for my close relatives for over 16 years and I think I have picked up a few words of wisdom along the way.

Continue reading