Joint Southwark & Lambeth MH Carers forum October 2021

Welcome to my brief update of my joint Southwark & Lambeth mental health carer forum for October 2021. As with my other carer forums, this forum runs once a month and provides a platform for health & social care organisations to engage with those who care for someone suffering mental ill health. The primary focus for engagement is obviously South London & Maudsley who heavily support the carer forums, however a fair bit of the time the forum gets engagement from other parties, this could include Kings College NHS trust or Guys & St Thomas who also advertise the carer forum.

Speakers for October were

  • Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer – Spotlight on Care
  • Danny McDonagh – Employment & Education Engagement Worker (Mosaic Clubhouse)
  • Barney Stark – (Mosaic Clubhouse)

Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer presents Spotlight on Care

At that very same evening Dr Siobhan from University of Exeter was showcasing the “Spotlight on Care” at Peckham Library. Thus was done in a collaboration between artist Leo Jamelli and fellow academic Dr Catriona McKenzie. One of our members from my BAME carer forum collaborated with the project, where her picture was projected off the library showing her supporting the person she was caring for.

Dr Siobhan explained how incredibly powerful and moving the projected artwork turned out to be. This art really shone the spotlight on caring experiences during the pandemic. She felt Lots of other groups have had their moments recognized and resolved, but unpaid caring has were not recognized as we had the “clap for carers” campaign and more. She felt carers were dumped upon and that they’re still struggling because services haven’t reopened or services were close permanently. So to note carers are taking on that low, which is why they really celebrating the incredible work that unpaid carers do. It is not just about the artwork, but also also about starting some really powerful and public conversations about what it means to be an unpaid carer and on how do we rally around them as a community?

As soon as Dr Siobhan mentioned community, something triggered in my mind wondering if the community acknowledges caring, but the problem is caring can be a personal, closed off thing, unless the person suffering mental illness has a crisis in the community, which is when you need the community to rally around, unfortunately stigma and misunderstanding can take its toil and people might not want to know or care.

Leo Jamelli Artwork for Spotlight on care

Dr Siobhan mentioned they came to Peckham about two weeks before the installation to do a test run and people would come down coming over and say “WOW! I saw the image down the road and I had to cross the street”. Dr Siobhan mentioned there was this one lady who asked what the image was about and that she stopped to talk to her. In the end the women felt the image represented herself. Dr Siobhan mentioned that she did not think the lady had ever seen herself depicted In this way, and it was incredible experience for her as the image represented so many in the borough of Southwark and beyond.

It wasn’t just about the role of caring, but how every person who came over and asked us about the representation of being black and how they loved the projection shown off the library. This highlighted discussions in the community about the artwork.

Matthew Mckenzie outside Peckham Library

To read up more about the project, see the links below

Celebrating millions of unpaid carers with a beautiful hand-drawn animation

Spotlight On Care Peckham

Barney and Danny present on Mosaic Clubhouse

We got a brief summary about Mosaic clubhouse, which is a mental health charity based down in Brixton (borough of Lambeth). The club has been around for 27 years, and it is an accredited club clubhouse. The clubhouse model is an internationally recognized recovery rehabilitation model that’s been around since the 1940s. In fact it originated in the United States, where it’s a model all about co production, participation, and promoting positive mental health. At the clubhouse individuals are referred to them where they can become members with an increased sense of belonging to the community. Members can get involved lots of volunteering activities, which include sightseeing, working at the Moasic clubhouse cafe, on the reception or illustration work, they can even help put together the newsletter.

Outside agencies usually help with signposting other people to services, although even at the clubhouse members can get extra help from other parties. Staff are usually doing lots of phone calls as well as checking to make sure members are okay. The Clubhouse offers Employment, educational and social activities. The clubhouse has recently gone back onsite due to the pandemic, but there has been many online and offline sessions, which are continuing to run and be delivered by members themselves.

Mosiac Clubhouse has access to some colleges and there was an increased focus on outreach to get people away from isolation. The clubhouse ran a Digital Inclusion project to help members get online, get access to social inclusion proxies, or employment application assets.

Quite a few questions from carers asked about the clubhouse model.

Danny mentioned there are actually 50 Clubhouses across the world. Most of which are in North America and Northern Europe like Scandinavian countries.

This concludes my brief update of the Joint Southwark & Lambeth MH carers forum.