The Fircroft Trust are devastated to have been informed by RBK, without consultation or notice, to vacate our beloved Mental Health Resource Centre on Ditton Road.
The Fircroft Trust has leased this building for over 40 years and provide a haven for over 75 people who have varying degrees of mental health challenges. At a time when there is a national crisis in mental health, withdrawing this essential support system, which has not only been shown to improve quality of life for the individuals who accessed it, but also reduce hospital admissions and suicide rates, has been devastating for our local community.
The Fircroft Trust has worked hard to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the people who rely on their service and have continued to support the community by maintaining daily contact with their most vulnerable service-users, either via telephone, outside group activities or ‘COVID-friendly’ garden work and meet-ups. However, the impact of the pandemic has meant The Fircroft Trustfaced increasing demands for their service from vulnerable members of our community. This is something The Fircroft Trustcan’t ignore and they urgently need your help.
How you can help
Services needed by our community:
The Fircroft Trust are urgently seeking new premises in the Chessington, Surbiton or Tolworth area that would be suitable for us to resume the face-to-face support services that is so missed by our service users.
If you can help, or know of a local building, please contact Kay Harris on the details below. Please share this with your network and help us to continue supporting the people in our community who need us most.
Black Thrive is a partnership between communities, statutory bodies, voluntary organisations and the private sector. We work together to reduce the inequalities and injustices experienced by Black people in Lambeth.
According to the GSTC “One to Many” report, more than 1 in 5 residents in Lambeth live with at least one long-term condition. Over 19,000 live with multiple long-term conditions (three or more). Even though Black communities make up 18% of Lambeth’s adult population, they account for 27% of people with multiple long-term conditions. Furthermore,
in Lambeth, Black residents are four times more likely to be unemployed than white residents. When they are employed, they are disproportionately engaged in insecure, low-paid and dangerous work, which harms mental and physical health. In addition, Black people can face racism and discrimination in the workplace, which negatively impacts mental well-being.
Therefore, we know that people of African and African Caribbean descent in Lambeth are more likely to be unemployed and more likely to have poor health. One of the key drivers of these inequalities is structural racism and the fact that our current healthcare and employment systems prevent Black people from thriving.
As a result, in collaboration with Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity (GSTC), Black Thrive’s Employment Project is developing community-led solutions for improving employment outcomes for Black people with long-term conditions. Our goal is to ensure that Black people in Lambeth with long-term conditions are as likely to be in and sustain, meaningful employment as equivalent white people.
To do this, Black Thrive is partnering with community members, statutory bodies and local organisations to achieve justice for the Black community through radical systems change. In September 2020, we launched our £300,000 grant fund to pilot projects that consider the lived experience of Black people with long-term conditions and have the potential to create systemic change. Projects should test and pilot new ideas that have the potential to shift the dial on employment outcomes and improve the evidence base around what works for Black people in Lambeth with long-term conditions.
The fund was managed and distributed by our Employment Working Group; a group of local Black residents with lived experience of managing one or multiple long-term conditions. We believe that prioritising community-power and lived experience is a radical way of funding new and exciting initiatives that may be overlooked by the traditional system. After receiving 84 applications, the Employment Working Group decided to fund 8 projects – the vast majority of which are led by Black and disabled people.
Funded projects include a radical self-care and wellness to work programme, the creation of a network of Black social entrepreneurs, supporting those recovering from mental illness and substance addiction back into employment through dog day-care traineeships and empowering Black people to develop employability skills through social action. To read more about all 8 projects please visit: https://employment.blackthrive.org.uk/our-grantees/
As the projects begin recruiting participants, it is important we ensure that the opportunities available reach the most marginalised people. This is a form of systems change in itself, as it will allow those people who fall outside of traditional referral pathways for services to still access support.
Given that carers have an intimate and trusting relationship with their loved ones based on an acute understanding of their needs, interests and goals, they are a vital network which cannot be overlooked! We strongly encourage all Lambeth-based Black carers to review the projects on offer, share them widely within your networks and follow the sign-up process if you, or someone you know, is interested in taking part.
Welcome everyone and I am hoping you have had a good weekend. Today’s topic is another collaboration. This collaboration is with Alex from her Youtube channel “The truth about mental illness”. We decided to present on the importance of caring for someone suffering mental ill health.
There are situations where those with lived experience do not get support from a close relative or carer. There are those who feel carers are not essential. Each situation is complex and there is not often a right answer, but if someone suffering mental ill heath can get support from a carer (e.g. someone in the family or friend), then the outcomes usually tend to be better.
Living with mental illness can be challenging enough and having to go through mental ill health by oneself can be overwhelming. So I was glad to hear that Alex who is a mental health survivor wanted to present on how her mother provided support for her.
Alex promotes mental health experiences and well-being off her Youtube channel, it is worth a look to get her views, but before you check out her videos. I hope you could view the video we collaborated with below.
Alex spoke about important caring and support tips regarding how carers may have to judge the situation by gut feelings. There will be times when a carer has to assess how to provide care and support. It can be almost walking like eggshells if a carer crowds the “caree”. Alex explains this well in the video.
The collaborated video also looks into how a carer’s experiences can be vital in providing care and support, plus we look at some other tips which could be important to both the and service user or carer’s journey.
Welcome back to another one of my collaborating on raising mental health awareness. This time I am collaborating with mental health survivor Psycopathic_ sociopath. That is the name of her Youtube channel. You may wish to check out some of her stuff, although she has just begun to do more videos on mental health.
Since my link from the states has suffered through Depression and Anxiety, we decided to base our latest video on caring/supporting someone going through both mental health illnesses. She spoke about what she feels would help someone going through depression and anxiety, plus I also did the same.
If you wish to watch the video, please click on the video below.
Supporting someone with depression
On my section, I spoke in depth about supporting or caring for someone suffering through depression. Most of my tips were fairly basic and quite common. Mainly being there for someone going through such a hard time. Being there for someone can help them no matter whatever mental health problem the person is experiencing.
You may also want to ask how they are from time to time. It always helps to check as it shows you care. My link from the states mentioned that if you are going to use comforting words, then try be sincere about it. People can often tell when someone is not honest about how they care for someone.
One more tip I placed in the video was When the person talks, it is important that you listen and do this actively. Not always an easy thing to do, but it does pay off in the end.
The last section of the video covers anxiety. I hope you get time to watch the video and I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog post. See you next time and have a good healthy mental health journey.
I was so chuffed to be asked by Matthew to do a guest blog. Matthew is such a star raising awareness about carers’ issues that I feel honoured that he has asked for my views!
I regularly do a slot at Corporate Induction for South London and Maudlsey NHS – “What it feels like to be a carer?” . It is great to have a “captive audience” to get the message across about the valuable work that carers do and how involving them has a real potential to make the medical professionals’ job easier – not more complicated as is often believed to be the case.