The Black Thrive Lambeth Partnership is inviting Black individuals, organisations and allies that are striving for an equal society to join our CommUNITY Assembly on 18 September 2021 for honest discussions about how together we can achieve real change for Black communities in Lambeth.
Welcome back and thanks for stopping by. Have you ever heard of PCREF? There was a blog about it in 2019 regarding mental health inequalities for black people. Mental Health outcomes for those from the Afro-Caribbean community has been very poor for a long time. So there has to be some form of change, but how can this go about? I think it starts with the community and a way for black people to come together and query how mental health services and support the community.
The blog about health inequalities from NHS England is below.
If you have been a regular to visiting my blogsite then I am sure you have seen a few blog posts about the fantastic mental health forum over in West London. Taken from their website “We Coproduce CIC is an award winning social consultancy, owned and run by local people for people who care about the future of health care in the UK. They are commissioned to work with local communities to coproduce better and braver solutions to health and social care challenges.”
We Coproduce do a lot more than run their forums over in Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and Ealing. Over many years they have worked closely with the mental health trust West London NHS trust on improving mental health for the community. For the October forum facilitated by both Jane McGrath and Natalie Louise there were many exciting speakers.
One of the speakers was myself where I talked about my new book “A Caring Mind”. You can see the talk I gave from the video below.
The book “A Caring Mind” shines the spotlight on the carer’s experience when caring for someone with a mental illness. Often carers stand in the background and carry on supporting their loved ones because of duty, love and just being there.
I felt it is about time I put my thoughts down in a book and We-Coproduce along with West London NHS Trust supported the work I was doing.
You can get hold of my book on Amazon either in Paperback or Ebook.
Welcome to another Blog post from Author of A Caring Mind, carer activist and former carer Matthew Mckenzie. As of today being the 10 of October 2020. It is World Mental Health day and The theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘mental health for all’.
There are many organisations and charities promoting world mental health day. If you want to see the video of this blog, then see below
World Mental Health day is about continuing to raise that much needed awareness of mental health each year. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘mental health for all’. When we talk about Mental Health, people tend to feel mental illness is about Mental health problems and how it affects around one in four people in any given year. Those illnesses such as depression and anxiety, to rarer conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Mental health problems affect around one in four people in each year and since this has been a tough year due to lockdowns and loss that have had a huge impact on our mental health.
However we can all feel depressed, angry, stressed or frightened. This is why Mental health is everyone’s business. We cannot continue to state severe mental illness is someone elses problem to fix. Taken to the extreme, even anger can become a mental health challenge if it gets out of control.
It does not help that around 450 million people live with mental disorders that are among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide (WHO’s World Health Report, 2001). The World Economic Forum (2018) noted that mental health disorders are on the rise in every country in the world and could cost the global economy up to $16 trillion between 2010 and 2030.
From job losses and uncertainty. We’ve all found ourselves under pressure and carers are not exempt from such pressures due to having to care and support someone suffering mental illness due to extra strain. It is important carers get a chance to support their own mental health and wellbeing, please its so important carers take a break and take time out even if only for a little while.
There still is mental health stigma leaves people feeling isolated and ashamed and not being able to access support, so this is one of the reasons for campaigning on World Mental Health day.
The good news is that you can do something for World Mental Health day and raise awareness, be it by talking about it, campaigning even if using social media or attending online events, it does not hurt to raise that awareness.
Welcome to another blog post by Matthew Mckenzie former carer and expert by experience in caring for someone with a severe mental illness. I know it is a bit late, but on the 10th of September 2020 it was World Suicide Prevention day.
Suicide Prevention is so important that awareness of it should be raised at any time. I even made a video to help raise awareness of suicide prevention.
Usually I raise awareness of carers, specifically carers who care for someone with a mental illness, but every so often I do want to raise awareness of mental health. The causes of suicides are an important issue because it certainly does involve mental health.
World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery is possible.
There are many charities and organisations promoting world prevention suicide day. The theme for World Suicide Prevention day is of ‘connection’ and ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide.’ The awareness campaign is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
With World Suicide Prevention day it is especially relevant because Covid-19 has affected us all in different ways and brought new or increased challenges. Many people have lost so much, be it homes, loved ones and that form of connection to society and to the world.
Having a strong sense of connection is an important part of suicide prevention. We all can form a connection with friends and family, as family is so important when caring for someone.
But still, Why is World Suicide Prevention day needed? Unfortunately 800,000 people take their own life each year. Despite the terrible statistics, one life taken is always a tragedy. There is still a lot of work for the government, health organisations and society to do. Families and carers looking after someone who may suffer from suicidal thoughts can be devastated when they loose someone to this.
It is often helpful for people to have an honest communication about mental ill-health support. Having such conversations have the power to increase awareness and helps to break the stigma of mental health . It is always important to remind people are not alone.
If suffering from suicide thoughts it is good to let family or trusted friends know what’s going on for you. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe.
Welcome back to another forum update, although this is not one of the carer forums I do, but a forum i usually try and attend over in West London. Yes, it might seem a bit of a trip to travel from south East London to West London, but I have been attending the West London Collaborative forum for some time now.
So why do I go all the way over there? To be honest, I am always interested in how mental health trusts engage with their communities, plus I am interested in how communities engage with the mental health services and commissioners. It helps if the community is very inviting and friendly and out of all the areas that have been welcoming and have a strong mental health presence seems to be West London community. The culture is different in regards to giving people a voice, but networking and finding strength in others is celebrated as many in society seem to find weaknesses in service users and those who support them.
A bit more about the WLC or known as “We Co-produce”.
Taken from their site “We Coproduce CIC” is an award winning social consultancy, owned and run by local people for people who care about the future of health care in the UK. They are commissioned to work with local communities to coproduce better and find braver solutions to health and social care challenges.
Usually when I attend, its Jane McGrath who facilitates the forum and has been doing so for a number of years. She is the CEO of “We Coproduce CIC”. Jane who has used the services of West London MH Trust places a strong emphasis on co-production and feels their should be an equal partnership being Patients, carers and health professionals.
Jane has a very high profile campaign, promoting and working towards the mental health of the community, although to my surprise Jane was away and we had two service user facilitators presenting the forum, which impressed me.
The reason why I was impressed is that the running a forum can be very challenging at times, you just do not know how things will run for time, or who will kick off (this is more of a polite way of mental health discussions sometimes becoming emotional). I was not going to do much at the forum, but when I saw how well and professional the 2 new facilitators were doing, I had to blog the forum off the fly.
In attendance at the forum where many patients, some carers including myself, the West London NHS Recovery college lead and also peer trainer. We also had in attendance Deputy Director of Nursing who leads on the Triangle of Care at the trust, the WLMHT Chaplin and also Representatives from the Local Mind centre as well as Trainee Clinical Psychologist. So you can see the facilitators had their work cut out. Sometimes I even see Carolyn Regan who is the CEO of West London MH Trust attend the forum, she often is smiling and very approachable.
On the agenda for the November forum was the discussion on how the Critical Voices Conference went. The conference was a 2 day event over in Ireland from the Critical Voices Network. The conference was held at University College Cork, and members of the forum attended and fed back to the attendees.
The conference looks into how psychiatry and psychology affects the community and 2019 theme was on challenging mental health systems: critical perspectives from inside out and outside in. The Keynote speakers of the conference was :-
Alison Faulkner, independent survivor researcher.
Anne O’Donnell, community educator/activist.
Fiona Venner who is the Chief Executive of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.
Fionn Fitzpatrick, community development worker/ activist.
John Cromby who is the Professor of Psychology from University of Leicester.
Robert Whitaker, journalist, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, founder of http://www.madinamerica.com.
We had a brilliant feedback discussion on what happened at the conference and a lot of talk was on Robert Whitaker’s view on the problem of anti-psychotics and the claim of measuring the chemical imbalances in people.
Robert Whitaker is author writing about medicine, science, and history. He has wrote five books, three of which cover the history or practice of modern psychiatry. The forum discussed the view on how psycho-therapy has been reduced as the medical model have taken over and the relationship between professional and patient has deteriorated.
Sally Gomme of the Wellbeing Network explained the issues with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and how so much emphassis was put on labelling mental health disorders and distancing people. It was not to say that medication does not work for everyone, after all we are all individuals, but the claim of measuring imbalances was to be challenged when it comes to mental health.
The discussion went both ways as some service users felt medication worked for them and and even though the side affects were horrible, at least it gave some hope. While others felt the medication can be a mis-use of treatment. Clinical professionals felt their aim was to help people recover, but did admit more work need to be done on therapy and access to therapy.
What quotes stood out in representing mental health activism.
The Critical voices conferences was a 2 day event, so there was plenty of workshops, presentations and sessions in which WLC members attended. If you want to see how big the conference was, please see the link below.
The forum attendees was set a workshop on quotes describing the importance of critical voices.
Famous quotes were shown from Franz Fannon, Henry Girdux, Angelia Davis, Antonio Gramsei and more. I chatted with forum Co-Facilitator Hannah Mcdonald (A Nurse who is the Royal College of Nursing mental health activist).about the quotes and as a group all fed back as a group on what quotes stood out for us.
Trainee Clinical Psychologist research presentation
I often observe how psychology and psychiatry engages with the community as all fields including psychiatry and psychology continue to develop and should be researched. We were lucky to have a Trainee Clinical Psychologist updating the forum on her research. So it was not always about Service user voice or the carer voice, but what we can learn together from the Clinical perspective.
Charlotte Martan the trainee clinical psychologist feed back the results of her research called “Implementation of a Service User and Carer feedback”. She talked to the group about Crisis Teams and getting feedback from those admitted to the Crisis house.
The outline of the project was
How NHS England felt that listening to people who use or care about the NHS can help understand people’s health needs better.
The research looked at
1. Are patients and carers willing to provide feedback about their experience of the service following discharge?
2. How do service users and carers who access care from ECATT experience the service
3. What recommendations for improving service delivery and quality are offered by service users and carers?
4. Is it feasible to implement a feedback system in a crisis team setting?
Using existing literature to draft service evaluation questions
present draft to staff in team meetings
Attend groups to get feedback
Feedback from Service Users
Where the WLC forum was updated on SU feedback
Feedback from carers
The WLC forum was updated on carer feedback. One thing that stood out was that the Mental Health trust’s patient database was not constantly updated with carer information, so it was hard for the researcher to find carers to get feedback. One of the attendees felt that the triangle of Care framework will counter this and will seek to improve carer identification and auditing.
Recommendation for implementing a feedback system
Recommendation for service improvement
Comments and suggestions
Overall feedback from service users and carers was positive about the service, although there were some areas of dis-satisfaction, especially on some service provision and lack of consistency in care.
Summing up forum
I would like to thank the facilitators who were kind and were happy for me to help promote the forum for the day. I certainly enjoyed some of the food the forum offered attendees, plus one of the patients brought showed some of his art, which fell out from the notes he was taking. I just had to take a photo in which he was pleased to show his work and he even offered to sketch a picture of myself, but that is for next time.
My view is that all mental health trusts and communities have a different style of engagement, one way of engagement might not work in another area of the community, however when I travel to a part of London where there are no Service User/Carer forums and the voices are silent, I begin to get suspicious as one quote stuck out during this forum.
“There’s really no such thing as the ‘Voiceless’. there are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
Welcome to another blog from South London unpaid carer Matthew Mckenzie. On this particular blog, I am covering how the Lewisham Mental Health Stakeholder event went. Health Commissioner stakeholder events usually run once a year, these events are usually borough wide and incorporate the community regarding health interests.
The theme of the Lewisham CCG Mental Health Stakeholder event was on “Me and my community”. The theme was to help bring the community together to discuss, plan and celebrate how Lewisham as a whole are working towards the mental health and well-being of its community.
The event took place over at Lewisham Town Hall – Civic Suite from 9:30 am till 4:30 pm. If I remember correctly, the event takes ages to plan and I believe such a stakeholder event was not run in 2018. So the event was great received, due to many mental health service updates and changes in the community.
The stakeholder event had many stalls from providers, workshops, sessions and talks and presentations. Those involved in the event were of course Lewisham CCG, Lewisham council, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (who provide MH services in the area), Lewisham Healthwatch, Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind, Compass (services for children), Lewisham Carers, Department for work & Pensions, Sydenham Gardens, GCDA, Lewisham college, Lewisham & Greenwich hospital trust and more.
To open the event, we had the welcome from Councilor James Rathbone, who is currently Lewisham’s Mental health Champion. Next was the Lewisham Mental Health Alliance with updates provided by Donna Hayward-Sussex – who is SLaM’s Service director and also Dr Charles Gosling who is the CCG’s senior clinical director.
Since the event was themed for Black history month, plus the London borough of Lewisham being a diverse community, we have an update on health inequalities in the borough from Dr Catherine Mbema who is the Director of Public Health in Lewisham.
Next up was CEO of Your Voice in Health and Social Care who have partnered with Carers Lewisham. Tim Spilsbury spoke about the difficulties unpaid carers face in the borough of Lewisham and how the charity is seeking to tackle those issues. To my surprise he spoke about the Triangle of Care, which is a policy aimed at buildng a working collaboration between the service user, professional and carer.
One thing critical about stakeholder events is giving the community a chance to ask questions or bring out statements, so I was glad to see a panel session consisting of those who spoke previously including the Joint commissioner of Adult Mental Health and Head of services for BLG-Mind. We certainly had some hard hitting challenging questions from the audience, although I felt some great work has been done by the services so it was a shame no one mentioned anything about that.
Next up after the 20 minute break and some networking were the Workshops. The aim of the workshops was to either educate the community on mental wellbeing, provide updates on services, a way to promote services and allow for stakeholders to connect with the community.
Prevention – This workshop looked at Social Prescribing (connecting people in their community)
5-ways to Wellbeing – This workshop taught by Lewisham Healthwatch looked into those who work with children and young people.
What is the Relationship between Mental Health and Internalised Racism? – This workshop taught by Hillna Fontaine, explored the complex issues of race and mental health.
Carers Workshop – This workshop co-produced by some of my members of the Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum and Carers Lewisham and myself.
Mental Health Equalities – What we know, our ideas and your suggestions – This workshop facilitated by SLaM equality team looked into what the Trust is doing to improve the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) service users, carers and staff.
Social Inclusion Recover Services; Paths to Recovery at Sydenham Garden – On this workshop, we could find out more about Sydenham Garden’s work – helping people in their recovery from mental and physical ill-health in Lewisham.
Mental Health in Schools: Challenges and solutions – This workshop aims to explore mental and emotional health challenges faced in school environment.
Healthy Walk – An excellent workshop, were attendees found out about the greenspace, gentle exercise and good company are great for physical and mental wellbeing and were actually walking outside.
The Lewisham Wellbeing Map: showing the great places for health in our borough – This workshop looked into a social prescribing map for link workers, navigators, and signposters.
Help in a mental health crisis – A workshop taught by the manager of the Ladywell Unit looking at where you can access help in a crisis and what you can expect from services Alternatives to going to A&E
DWP – Forest Hill and Bromley Jobcentre – The Partnership Team and the Disability Employment Advisers provided people with an insight to what is available to support those with Disability and Mental Health under Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance
Wellbeing Education at SLaM Recovery College – Lastly we Trainers from SLaM Recovery College will discuss how the college operates, the benefits of attending for SLaM service users, carers/supporters and staff members.
A quick mention on the carers workshop I co-produced with members of the Lewisham MH carers forum, we looked at ways to involve unpaid mental health carers in the community as carers like myself can be isolated, lacking support and driven to desperation when supporting someone with mental ill health.
I cannot thank Lewisham CCG enough and also Carers Lewisham and YVIHSC for helping and attending.
All in all, I thought the event went very well with special thanks to Karin Barthel who is the senior CCG comissioner for involving myself and carers lewisham to run the workshop in co-production.
I hope other CCGs will continue to run stakeholder events, or I am wondering how do they engage with their communities when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.
Do you know that if you are a carer, then you are doing something not only for your ‘cared for’, but also for the community. Caring for someone when life can be difficult for yourself should be celebrated. Thats why London ADASS, which stands for Directors of Adult Social Services aimed to put on a festival for carers. The aim of London ADASS is to improve adult social care across London and to identify ways of doing this as cost-effectively as possible.
The festival was developed and brought together by many other carer organisations who help plan and run the festival. The first London borough to have the Carer’s festival was the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Eventually each London borough will have the honor of running the festival each year.
World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), runs on the 10 September and is set by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). where the World Health Organisation also sponsor the day. The theme for 2019 is called Working Together to Prevent Suicide.
The WHO and IASP also work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatized, criminalized or penalized.
Thanks for stopping by at another carer blog post. I thought to quickly drum up a page on my latest visit to the Bethlem’s Museum of the mind. I was excited to be part of their new exhibition “Impatient! Stories of Service User Advocacy”.
The exhibition which is over at the Bethlem Museum just inside the Bethlem Royal Hospital, celebrates the history of Service User advocacy. There is history on how the groups and organisations projected their causes and how they relate to psychiatry. I felt that sometimes when it comes to NHS exhibitions they tend to promote much of what has taken place in the hospitals, but showing what the community or inpatients have done, can give more of a holistic picture.