Greenwich Mental Health Carers forum March 2021

Welcome to my Greenwich Mental Health carers forum update for March. This is the 2nd Greenwich MH carers forum for 2021, since this is a fairly new forum aimed at families and carers who are caring for someone with mental illness.

The forum is not a support group, although there are times discussions may dwell on a supportive nature as members switch to talking about their own unpaid caring experiences. The Royal Borough of Greenwich MH carers forum aims to give families and unpaid carers a chance to talk to Mental health, health and social care services about how they can also support carers. The forum is a chance at engagement, involvement and empowerment for unpaid carers who would like to know what is going on with services. There also might be a chance to influence services when the Royol Borough of Greenwich mental health carers network grows in numbers.

I also run the Greenwich MH carers peer group, which is a support group and devotes its time for unpaid mental health carers to talk about their experiences, or I guess even let off steam. Both groups are heavily supported by Greenwich carers centre, who have supported me for many years.

For the 2nd Greenwich MH carers forum speakers were

Dom Taylor – Mobilise
Fiona Haris – Assistant Director of Public Health for Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Dr Ian Springfield – Oxleas NHS MH trust lead for Occupational Therapy (Gave apologises)

Just to note Dr Ian could not make the March carers forum and will attend in May, although I tend to run the Greenwich MH carers forum every 2 months, there will be times I will have to run it monthly if speakers cannot attend a specific date. There are even times I will extend invites to my support group.

Before I continue on with my brief update, if you are caring for someone who has mental illness and you want to connect, please check out my carer group dates below, all are held via ZOOM.

You can also find more information about my carer support group of Oxleas site or from the 6 merged CCG site.


Before I presented, I gave Dom Taylor from Mobilise a chance to talk about their support groups for unpaid carers. I always welcome more carer groups that can grow into a carer peer network. For more information please visit their link below.

Since Dr Ian could not make the forum in time, I quickly compilied a presentation about Oxleas MH trust board. Usually my previous MH carer forums heavily seek to engage with mental health services, although there will be times when the forums have the CQC attending, MPs, national speakers or carer advocates.

I often feel families and carers should understand who runs and does what at their mental health trust. Unfortunately a lot of activities even at smaller mental health trusts can be complex and difficult to pin down, so I presented on who does what at Oxleas Mental Health trust.


Fiona presented on her role regarding Greenwich CCG. She spoke at length on the new mental health pathway for the borough.

When she was doing a lot of work with the community and voluntary sector, as well as the CCG. She noticed about how the virus pandemic, impacted on community. There were things that had to looked into, even though a few things were put on hold because of the lock-down. Questions were asked on what people could get access to e.g. services, food, supplies and so on. The thing is how can the borugh support the community in dealing with things like emergency provision.

In the end the comission services (with involvement) put together a portfolio departments to try and understand what was available, even if they didnt really have all the data. The initial thing that they did right at the beginning of the first over a year during the pandemic, was form a community group that included people from adult Children’s Services Council, LBGT, stakeholders of the Community and NHS Trusts to deliver the agenda and help develop pathways.

This all came together at the Greenwich Mental Health Forum, which is different from my Greenwich MH carers forum.

As a Greenwich Mental Health forum they broke the questions down. It was felt that if the group asked the right questions, then they could get understand what negative feelings have been experienced in the community regarding mental health and wellbeing. The aim was to find out what impact it’s having on targets to the level of services and specific needs. Thus the Greenwich MH forum developed a pathway based on the principles of what they called psychological first aid.

So what or who might be driving this? Is the money available? Or is it locked out in general, so that there are lots of questions and queries? The forum also looked at whether wellbeing needs other methods of support/services like befriending and how it could deal with isolation. Was the emotional support a way manage stress? Or is the community still totally overwhelmed?


Members of the forum feedback a number of things.

  • Queries on how the CEO is doing his role since he has been seconded.
  • How carer coordination is a problem at Oxleas and who oversees them?
  • How engagement from Oxleas work with families and carers, especially since the carer network is growing.

This concludes the update for April, if you are an unpaid carer you can book on the forum or support group. See link below.