Welcome to the January Southwark & Lambeth joint Mental Health carer forum. The forum is aimed at carers who are caring for someone with mental illness, but they want to understand what mental health services are planning and also what carers can get access to.
For the speakers for this forum, were as follows.
Josh Simpkins – Lambeth Carers
David Meyrick – SLaM Southwark inpatient ward carer lead – Triangle of Care
Karen Persaud – Carer rep for the Royal College of Psychiatrists
Yasmin from Lambeth Black Thrive
Josh Simpkins Project officer for Lambeth Carers presents
After Josh introduced himself to the carer forum, He provided a quick update on the Lambeth carers card. Coming this February Carers Hub Lambeth will have a couple of workshops and online events happening. It will be just a Q&A sessions on the Lambeth Carers card and its functionalities or if there’s any issues or anything like that, that is really struggling with, it’s a good time to sort of bring it to the group, we can discuss it, obviously. And we can answer, I can answer any sort of questions that pop up. So it’s a no formal informal chat.
And hopefully, I can, you know, brings people together that are on the scheme. And to sort of discuss the Lambeth carriers card and things like that. And the second group is an emergency planning workshop, which will be the 28th of February. So towards the end of the month, and where we’re going to run a workshop to help carers I guess, plan, and I guess, make a contingency plan in the unlikely event of an emergency. And so yeah, we’re going to go go through all those emergency planning steps. And, obviously, carriers who are signed up to the Lambeth curious cat, they would have received a welcome pack with a emergency planning resources, which includes templates and flyers and things like that. So yeah, so we’re going to be running that workshop 28th of February.
Lambeth Carers welcome packs are still still going out. Obviously, there’s a bit of a delay just because of staffing. And you know, heading into the office due to the due to the current lockdown, but and we are still sort of pushing out our welcome packs. But yeah, as I mentioned, it’s a slight delay. With that. And cool, I’ll quickly go on to the carriers, hub Lambert, so not too much to update as usually as business as usual with our groups. And obviously, we have our regular mindfulness sessions every Wednesday. And James, my colleague runs the mental healthcare support group, and which is monthly. And I think the next one is next Thursday. And just the last update from me, we are going to be speaking at slams, cares focus week on the eighth of February. And they’ve sort of asked us to talk to the impatient team. And so we’re going to give them a bit of an update around what we sort of do things like that. But yeah, that’s that’s it for me.
Questions from carer members
There was talk among carers about Guy’s and St. Thomas’ mental health focus group and some were wondering if that trust actually had any mental health carers at their focus group, some mental health carers feel it was good that trust help a focus group but feel its approach is completely patient centered. So I asked Josh for any updates on Guys & St Thomas focus group on mental health stigma.
Yasmin From Lambeth Black Thrive Presents
Yasmin mentioned It’s the first time she has been to one of these sessions, but was happy that I invited her after she connected with me, which was last week on the Lambeth black thrive employment project, this is an opportunity for black Lambeth residents to get involved or black Lambeth carers to get involved.
Yasmin was happy to drop some links into the online chat, so the links can guide attendees with a little bit more information. Yasmin was also kind enough to add her email in the chat. Basically, Lambeth black thrive is a Lambeth partnership and it works to address the mental health inequalities that black people in London face. Lambeth Black Thrive do a whole host of different projects. The project that Yasmin works on currently is the employment project, which is funded by Guys and St Thomas’ charity that began in March 2020 and ends in June 2022.
The aim of the project is to improve employment outcomes for black people in Lambeth with long term conditions including mental health. So Lambeth Black Thrive are embarking on a whole range of routes to both support black people who are unemployed with Mental health conditions but also those in work. This piece of the project that Yasmin feels is specifically relevant to this carers group is the community and grant making aspect of the project. So, the black thrive project is supported by a funding pot of 300,000 pounds, which was managed and distributed by a community working group. So the working group is made up of black Lambeth residents with lived experience of either having a long term condition themselves or caring for someone with a long term condition. That group’s main responsibility was distributing that 300,000 pounds to individuals groups or organizations rooted in Lambeth, who are going to run the pilot projects with black Lambeth residents with long term conditions to try and help them improve their employment perspectives or employment outcomes.
So back in November, Black Thrive opened the grant applicantions to applicants, they received 84 applications and the working group decided to fund eight projects. So now basically, where they are at is that they have launched these eight projects in Lambeth, and all eight of them are now recruiting participants. To get involved, there are a whole host of different things that people can get involved in, there’s radical self care, there’s some projects that are offering paid employment, there’s some projects that are offering employability skills.
Yasmin mentioned that she got in touch with Matthew Mckenzie, because she thought that at Black Thrive, they wanted to speak directly to carers, or to people who then can pass on the message to to carers in London, because they didn’t want the opportunities to get involved in these projects to go to the same people. Perhaps Black Thrive thought that there might be people who fall outside of traditional referral routes for support or who don’t have access to them.
Yasmin feels that some people don’t know about them, who might benefit or might know somebody that benefits from some of the projects that are on offer, all of the projects are free. Even though they are pilot projects or with small groups, maybe 1015 groups of people. Yasmin finished up saying it could be you yourself as a carer who wants to sign up, or the person that you care for might want to sign up, or you just might know someone. Black Thrive would be really grateful for members to spread the opportunity and the opportunities with throughout your networks.
David Meyrick Presents on the Triangle of Care
David opened up his presentation mentioned that the Triangle of Carer characteristically, is the culmination of the carer, the patient and the mental health professional all working in partnership, with a high focus on carers. The Trust signed up officially to the “Triangle of Care” but it should be accredited. This means that SLaM will have to complete the audits. However it is a quite big piece of work.
However it can in his role in improving things having carers for the impatient wards actually very welcome the scheme. David mentioned he was also looking forward to getting stuck, but back to the audit it is a six step audit and it’s pretty much the ethos of the honest reflection of the team’s work with carers, and to see if that is really working for carers, because its really what carers want. So the audit is not a tick box exercise, it’s not about pass or fail, it runs on a “red, amber and green scale rating”. So if you hit above 80%, and you’re in the green, you then have to evidence that you’re meeting that target and how you keep it consistently above, if you’re below that target, then you would need to put in action plans of how you want to improve it.
So a quick overview, The six key standards state that:
1) Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
2) Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
3) Policy and practice protocols regarding confidentiality and sharing information, are in place.
4) Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
5) A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the care pathway.
6) A range of carer support services is available.
David continued that in the first year, SLaM will have to audit all their inpatient services and their crisis teams. Then in the second year it will be the community teams and other services SLaM has. Then in the third year it goes back to the teams in first year (Inpatient wards), and they have to show that they meeting the targets. Then the fourth year goes huge etc.
David pressed that what he really likes about it is it’s an honest reflection to see if the work SLaM is doing is what carers want to actually work for them. It is not about pass or fail. It’s just trying to genuinely improve things that come towards carers who wish to be part of that triangle. It is also what he is trying to do in his role in creating the teams that support carers. It is of course everyone’s business is not just left to one person. It’s not just left one nurse or doctor but the whole team chips in.
QUESTIONS FROM FORUM
I asked if there will be promotion or any promotion in regards to how SLaM are signing up to the triangle of care? And where would where would it be?
David responded that Gabrielle Richards, who is SLaM’s carer lead for the whole trust, he will raise that with her. David continued that he is not very much involved in that sort of external communications to be honest. However in terms of opportunities for carers to be involved then Yes. David feels the most obvious point of involvement would be through SLaM’s (South London & Maudsley’s) involvement register. Once you’re signed up to the register carers can get paid for their time for that day and engage with trust activities. So typically, carers being on interview panels, focus groups, and can help co produce and training staff. So he is sure there will be opportunities for the “Triangle of care” audit and that would be advertised with the involvement register.
Another questions from another carer member mentioned who are you going to be auditing? Would it be existing carers that you already have within your services? Or are you reaching out further to bring people into that triangle? e.g. carers who are not yet identified, but who are caring for people out in the community.
Karen Persaud – Carer rep for the Royal College of Psychiatrists Presents
Karen started off by saying that she has been a carer for many years, and she has experienced a wide range of different mental health services. Whilst trying to support her cared for. She has experienced everything from early intervention, child and adolescent mental health, General adult psychiatry, rehabilitation psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry and over the years, she is at a loss as to why the services didn’t actually respond to the needs of patients and service users and carers as well as the services should do. She became aware of the great big gaps and transition gaps in service provision, and the long term impact this has on individuals. They’re not just their mental health and well being, but their social mobility and their potential to live fulfilled happy, long and productive lives. She feels because that there are inequalities in the system. The treatments affect physical well-being as well as mental well-being, and both impact on carers, service users or patients. Karen feels all suffer the impacts of the services. So, as a result of what she experienced her desire is to try and make things improve.
She has became quite proactive in campaigning and getting involved in as many different forums as possible to try and redress the shortcomings the gaps in service provision have become, and also in mental health inequalities. Subsequently, she joined the Royal College of psychiatrists as a carer representative and she works for the Royal College of psychiatrists on a number of different projects, the NCCMH (National collaborating Centre for mental health).
Recently, they completed the community pathway project, where we worked on the Mental Health Act review. Karen also worked with the National Institute of Health Research as a honorary research associate and they published papers in medical journals about the impact of mental health and crisis on particularly carers because there wasn’t that amount of information out there about the impact on carers in particular, of being responsible and having to deliver more or less multidisciplinary team service without any kind of training, or support, because none of us actually choose this.
Karen explained that its a way of being kind of like having to become experts by experience. So this is how she got involved in various different aspects of trying to change the system. She is very pleased with the work that they have been doing with the Royal College of psychiatrists, because all together they have managed to get quite a few changes agreed at government level, these are all slow burners, etc. But they’re essential pieces of policy and strategy that needs to be, a process that need to go through in order to facilitate the change.
We’ve are now commited to reduction in out of area placements. Plus the white paper on the Mental Health Act review also highlights, the changes that need to be made around inequalities in mental health services. So we don’t want to just rest on our laurels, we actually want to apply more and more pressure for more funding, because a lot of the issues that we actually experienced is as a result of funding gaps, lack of knowledge on the behalf of commissioners and lack of understanding in what carers face at a local level.
So Karen and her group wants to apply a bit more pressure and start picking up the pace of the reforms that their trying to get into place. The thing is, they got the research, they have some the data and they have got the draft strategies, policies and frameworks, and all of this work is underway. But where Karen feels where they lack a bit more meat to the bone is the human story, the human side of things. So what she is asking is if there is anyone out there it be a patient, service user or carer, who would like to add their weight to their campaigns, the arguments and the raising the profile of mental health services. The team is looking to gather stories of lived experience and there is a form that she sent to Matthew McKenzie.
The form is quite a simple form as it has no more than 500 words, but in all honesty Karen feels 500 words wouldn’t do many of the stories that much justice. So she feels participants need not be restricted by the 500 words, if you feel like you want to contribute, please do contribute. Karen is looking for stories of both good experiences where things have worked well, as well as bad experiences. She wishes to be able to shine a light on those services that are actually going above and beyond and doing a little more than, you know, what is routinely expected. Karen also wants to shine a light on where the services are actually making things worse, a lot worse for, you know, service users and carers and patients, because of their lack of commitment and professionalism.
Everything is anonymized. So no one will be named in the sharing of the stories they simply use to add the human perspective to the arguments that are going in front of commissioners, and service providers.
The next joint Southwark & Lambeth MH carers forum is on Friday, 26th February 2021 from 16:00 pm – 17:30 pm