Hello carers, here is another update from most of my carer forums. Usually I try to update on each of the forums, but due to spending time writing books and raising carer awareness, it is not always possible to update each forum page.
- Lewisham Mental Health Carer forum update
For my Lewisham group, South London & Maudsley want to engage with the London borough of Lewisham to explain new ideas for mental health services. There will possibly be a revamp of the Ladywell Unit that is based at Lewisham Hospital.
The speakers who looked to engage with carers were Sir Norman Lamb and Bobby Pretap, but unfortunately the meeting had to be cancelled.
The other speaker Angela Brient who is a PhD Researcher in Public Health spoke about the Impact of trauma. Angela spoke about her lived experience, which comes from caring for her husband who sustained a spinal injury whilst on deployment with the Australian Air Force in the Middle East. She was his primary carer for over a year, but ultimately, her husband took his own life.
The carer’s group were grateful for Angela’s insight and we learnt more of the Impact of Trauma course that Dr Julie Langan Martin mentioned to me a while back. Dr Julie is the Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Glasgow. We are hoping to hear more updates on the Impact of Trauma course at a later date.
- Joint Southwark & Lambeth Carer forum update
For my joint mental health carer forum over in Southwark and Lambeth. Carers were delighted to get engagement from Helen Hayes MP for Dulwich and West Norwood. Carers spoke about their past experiences of providing unpaid care, but the main topic was the progress of the new Mental Health Act. Members of the group are very keen to observe the debate in Parliment.
Other carers were interested to speak to Richard Okolo on how a mental health solicitor could help someone who has been sectioned. Richard could not make the forum, but we hope to hear from him in March.
- Ethnic Mental Health Carers forum Update
This carers forum specifically focuses on the experience of ethnic and diverse carers. Our first speaker was a carer on involvement at South London & Maudsley. Currently Maudsley NHS is an anti-racist organisation and seeks to increase health equity. South London & Maudsley NHS is signed up to the Patient Carer Race Equality Framework (PCREF). PCREF exists to eliminate the unacceptable racial disparity in the Access, Experience and Outcomes of Black communities and significantly improve their trust and confidence in our mental health services.
Annette Davis who is the Chair of the PCREF Service Users and Carers Group then gave updates to members. Annette mentioned that PCREF is a UK wide NHS initiative and South London and Maudsley are one of the first Trusts in the country to address institutionalised racism in the NHS. We heard updates on new flyers to advertise to the community on how they can hear updates or get involved in being an activist.
The next speaker Dr Brenda Hayanga spoke about her new research “Ethnic inequalities in multiple long-term health conditions in the United Kingdom: a systematic review and narrative synthesis”. Yes, I know it is a long title, but I do not know many research papers that have short titles.
Still, the importance of this research cannot be underestimated as I had just published my 4th book regarding health inequalities.
Dr Brenda will be speaking at an exciting event in april. The event focuses on Ethnic inequalities in healthcare for people with multiple conditions.
At the event there will be the following speakers
- Katherine Merrifield from the Health Foundation
- Dr Habib Naqvi who is Chief Executive of the NHS Race and Health Observatory
- Dr Jayati Das Munshi who is a Clinical Reader in Social and Psychiatric Epidemiology at KCL.
- Eve Riley who is based at Macmillan Cancer Support
- Jabeer Butt OBE whose work looks into tackling discrimination and disadvantage.
- Dr Brenda Hayanga who is a Research Fellow at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College London
The final update at the ethnic MH carers group was from Carers UK Melanie Crew. Melanie is the Senior Policy and Research Officer at Carers UK. Melanie talked about the new initiative on Good practice guide on supporting ethnic minority carers. The briefing follows Carers UK’s landmark report examining Black, Asian and minority ethnic carers’ experiences of the pandemic.
You can find out more from the link below.
- South West London Mental Health Carers group.
Obviously my 3rd biggest group, which covers 5 london boroughs. The group is co-facilitated by Ava who is involved at Kingston Carers Network and SWLSTG. The group is getting lots of support from the 5 carer centres.
We had a visit from Kirsty McLachlan who is based at Richmond Borough Mind. Kirsty is the Carers and Parents in Mind Manager and is very keen to promote the forum in our Carers in Mind monthly newsletter. It is great to see support and promotion about unpaid carers.
Our 2nd speaker was Chloe Smith who is the Healthy Communities Builder from Kingston Voluntary Action. She was joined by BBC MultiAward winning Poet, Michael Groce. They are working on a set of poetry workshops aimed Black, African and Caribbean Communities over in Kingston. There will be guest poets that will come and inspire people’s work throughout the weeks ahead by sharing their own stories and work. I was the guest poet for week 2 (more on that later).
You can watch a promotional video below
If interested in one of the workshop, you can book below.
The third speaker was Wendy Doyle who is the Head of Patient Experience St Georges university hospital. This is one of the hospitals were I run a carer’s stall. Wendy updated our group on the carer’s focus the hospital is planning. Wendy also updated us on a healthwatch report.