Here is the update for the Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum for September 2017. This forum took place on the 26th of September, 1:00 pm at the Carers Lewisham centre.
If you wish to see the video version, please click below
The topic for that day was the importance of involvement in mental health services. While some of the carers are involved at South London and Maudsley foundation trust, which provides the bulk of mental health services in Lewisham, Croydon, Southwark and Lambeth. I was fortunate enough to have Debbie who is an involvement representative over at North East London Foundation Trust.
When I talk about foundation trusts and mental health services. Usually foundation trusts are a coalition of large hospitals and community teams providing mental health services. As far as I know every mental health trust has some form of involvement and some trusts do this well, while at other trusts there still is a lot to learn.
North east London Foundation trust provides services in several london boroughs being Barking, Dagenham, Brentwood, Havering, Kent, Basildon and more. Debbie spoke about what she does over north east london and the importance of involvement.
The forum discussed what was good about involvement and services, what was difficult or bad and what we would like to change. We also discussed how involvement within our local mental health trusts can empower us, but it is also a duty to speak up for injustice and protect those who are vulnerable. Debbie mentioned that SLaM was held in high regard, but I pointed out that over at SLaM we speak highly of NELFT.
During the discussion, I found ex service user Debbie to be extremely knowledgeable about getting involved in the mental health services. I also noticed her leadership skills while presenting to carers.
I was hoping to present a bit about involvement myself while charing the forum, but we ran out of time since a lot of carer issues where raised, plus Debbie had to attend the NELFT annual meeting.
Also at the forum we had another special guest that being the Carer Engagement Project Coordinator from Oxleas Foundation Trust. Oxleas provides services in Greenwich, Bromley and Bexley. We were greatful to have engagement from hard working prople from two different trusts, but the main aim was to learn from each other, which will be an ongoing relationship.