Welcome to the September 2019 update of the Southwark Mental Health Carers forum. The forum is aimed at unpaid carers who carer or support those with mental health needs. For example as in a relative or friend suffering schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, serve depression, self harming and so on. We even have families attending supporting someone with learning disabilities.
The forum runs once every 3rd thursday month from Southwark Carers. Southwark Carers is a carers centre that Enables, empowers and enriches the lives of carers in the London borough of Southwark.
For the September forum there was a push to get carer members to understand Maudsley’s Carer Strategy. Just like over at the Lewisham MH Carers forum, we hope carers can understand what a carer strategy means, how it could help them as a carer and why NHS trusts work towards a carers strategy. Still, its no good having a strategy done in isolation. Mental Health trusts need to listen to those supporting patients in their services. Carers need to feel valued by being listened to, even if some issues cannot be resolved.
Unfortunately the SLaM member of staff could not make it, but I managed to go through the strategy some weeks before and developed a presentation on it. Oddly enough, we could not fit in as much about the carers strategy and I am hoping we could cover the rest in October.
I did break down a few things regarding what South London & Maudsley regards as a carer, the issue of identifying carers and training SLaM staff to be carer aware. There are other queries from carers especially about the Triangle of Care policy and also the impact of the Care Act 2014 and if it has done any good for families and carers.
I also presented the new Physical Health project from KingsHealthPartners, which focuses on improving mental and physical well-being for people with mental illnesses. There was excitement that a focus group looks to be developed involvement patients, doctors, researchers and carers on the new a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program for inpatients with mental illnesses.
Carers are understandably upset that their loved ones are being given medication that although controls the mental illness, can add physical weight to the patient. It can get so bad that it could contribute to the 20 year Mortality Gap in service users. It is about time there should be a controlled exercise program in conjuction with mental health treatment. King’s Health Partners is an Academic Health Sciences Centre where world-class research, education and clinical practice are brought together for the benefit of patients. They bring together a world-leading research led university and three successful NHS Foundation Trusts.
You can find out more about them on the link below
Talking about NHS trusts. It was good to at least have South London and Maudsley NHS Trust work to engaging with carers regarding its carers strategy, we also had Kings College NHS Trust getting views from carers over in Lambeth and sometimes Southwark, but there still needs to be an update from Guys & St Thomas on their Carer’s policies. We had an update on progress regarding engagement.
I updated the members on the new Carer support group, which I aim to set up in Southwark. The group needs to be carer-led and will receive funding from the mental health organisation Mind. I am awaiting peer support training, since it is a new avenue for me being a peer supporter, but I have unfortunately have carers chat with me regarding serious NHS incidents and they are not so trusting of NHS staff due to being so distruate if their ‘loved one’ has died or come to serious harm. The carer peer support group, will need to have protected space for carers where we can support and learn from each other.
The forum members also discussed several exciting events, one of them being the Celebrating the role of carers across the Capital festival held over at Bromley by Bow Centre. The festival was organised by LondonADASS and the festival was being hosted over in London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East London. More on that festival later in another blog post.
At the Southwark forum we celebrated the update of Carer member Ana who is developing her skills as a therapist. She has been nominated for awards by The London Awards Brazilian Guide 2019 which is intended to support and support projects and initiatives that empower entrepreneurs.
Ana has several projects that help those in the Latin community and has set up a project that helps hundreds of children over in Brazil. The members of the Southwark Carers forum are aware of the contribution the Latin community make and are aware of how communities feel pushed out by development in the area.
Ana invited members of the carers forum to the Brazilian embassey for a wellbeing festival and we look forward to being part of how the Latin community are inviting of others even if they are feeling welcomed.
I will update the Southwark Carer members on how the Carer festival went in October.