Category Archives: Lewisham BME Mental Health Carers Forum

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum July Update 2019

965946_fa217b70Welcome to the July 2019 update of the Lewisham BAME Mental Health carer forum. The forum is one of the 4 carer strategy forums I run in the community and has a focus on BAME carers and sometimes Service user issues. As a reminder, the London borough of Lewisham is a diverse community, with many health and wellbeing challanges, but also some successes.

Although it is good we have carer support groups, there must be a physical platform where families and unpaid carers can come together for empowerment purposes. Carers should have a right to have a say about Health and well-being services. For the July Lewisham BAME Carers mental health forum, I had to run it earlier in the month due to a meeting I have at the end of the month.

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Usually the forum would be packed, but a lot of members had sent apologies and this is one of the reasons I have blogged about the forum as a way to report back to members who can then feed into their networks.

Lewisham Police Mental Health Engagement

We were joined by Matthew Burns from the Metropolitan Police covering 3 London Boroughs. I believe there can be tension in the community with the police, especially with BAME patients who are not often happy to be brought in for treatment. It was a great opportunity for the community and the police to come together and learn from each other. I feel to have a police officer spend time to engage with us will lead to a great community focus.

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Matt mentioned there were a lot of things the police need to work on, especially on looking to reduce section 136 and section 135 across several south London boroughs. The police are funding officers for the mental health wards where Bexley House from Oxleas MH Trust and Ladywell Unit from SLaM MH Trust were mentioned. The police are under a lot of pressure on dealing with patients in crisis out in the community and one of their aims is to build relationships with the community of Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham.

The police mental health engagement drive is to know and understand the services and groups that can help with mental well-being. During the question and answer session, there was talk about mental health and diversity training, which Matt will take back. One other important note, was during the forum we were joined by Lewisham CCG.

Matt mentioned the police are trying very hard with patients in a crisis but are not fond of enforcing sections unless it is absolutely necessary. Matt stated that the Crisis Cafe in the borough of Bexley took so much pressure off the police and felt we need something similar in Lewisham. Matt is very aware of the Crisis Cafe (Habour Cafe) at Lewisham hospital, but feels despite the great work the cafe does, that its service is still restrictive and the model must be more like Bexley to take the pressure off. The police are looking for certain services that can help patients their families and themselves, especially deescalation services, rather than sections.  There should be a serious discussion on the crisis cafes and a few other things.

There was more talk about the lack community resources from the members, plus discussions about peer groups and appropriate adults. In the end I felt we had learned a lot from Matt and felt reassured that we were working to tackling mental health and BAME challenges in the borough.

NHS Long Term Plan

Next up for the July Lewisham BAME carers/SU forum. We had Lewisham CCG engagement presenting the NHS Long term plan. We were made aware that 6 CCGs (Bromley CCG, Lewisham CCG, Bexley CCG, Lambeth CCG, Southwark CCG and Greenwich CCG) are merging and the date is for 1st of April 2020. There was a discussion about the Lewisham alliance and how many borough alliances need to be brought forward. There was a discussion on how the Long term plan would affect GP practices and how GP surgeries are not aligned to Lewisham’s neighbourhood structure, members of the group were wondering about the impact.

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There will be another Lewisham NHS long term plan event on Tuesday 16th of July at Laurence House. The event details are below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/help-us-to-shape-the-future-of-the-nhs-in-lewisham-and-south-east-london-tickets-63638911698?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Please also view the video on the NHS Long term plan

Going back to the forum, it was presented that the plan will develop Partnerships on integrating health, social care and providers within the 6 boroughs.

Plus it was presented on how a place based board in each of the 6 boroughs will work.

At these based boards, the members will consist of

A director – who is accountable to the local authority and CCG
Several GPs – working with other CCG GP members
Healthwatch Representation
A lay member as what we have with current CCG meetings
A Director of Public Health
Local authority officers

It was noted that the Carer forums will request engagement from those driving the NHS Long term plan and continued engagement from members of Placed boards.

Below is a timeline of part of the Long term Plan, but I am wondering if the timeline is flexible.

March 2019:

Governing Bodies agreed to develop proposals to create one south east London CCG as a step towards becoming an Integrated Care System (ICS).

March to May:

Inform stakeholder, staff and partners and get their views, which the carer forums are also interested in.

May to July:

Share and discuss our plans with patients and the public

September:

Proposals to merge considered by Governing Bodies
Application made to merge the south east London CCGs

April 2020:

Establish a single CCG with placed based boards in each part of south east London

As the forum chair, I was pleased with the engagement from Lewisham CCG who will be back again at the Lewisham MH carers forum, which I hold at Carers Lewisham.  I am wondering if the other CCGs engage with families and carers the same way, although I have had good results with Lambeth CCG and Southwark CCG,

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The last part of the forum was me updating the carer group on the funding initiatives for carers, which Lewisham council can bid for.  Some of the members gave their ideas to Lewisham CCG.

The next Lewisham BAME MH will probably run at Mind Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromely in August. I want to remind members of the BAME MH carer forum to update their networks.

 

 

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum September Update 2018

965946_fa217b70Here is the September update from the Lewisham BME carer/SU forum. This is one of the only carer forum, which Focuses on carers from the Black Minority Ethic Community, mainly Afro Carribean, but not strictly.

For this update we were fortunate to have the Lewisham HR lead for mental health staff attend and brief the forum. As a forum we did not know how much the HR lead has to do, which is quite a lot!! The fun runs from the Family Health Isis centre over in Lee.

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Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum August Update 2018

Welcome to the latest update of the Lewisham BME MH carer/SU forum for august. This is the first time that the forum took place in the evening, so to allow other carer members Who cannot always attends during friday morning.

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For the August forum, we hoped to have the Mental Health Act officer attend and give a presentation regarding the Mental Health Act and how south London and Maudsley were going to adapt to the latest changes to the mental Health Act. Unfortunately he could not make it, so we decided to discuss south London and Maudsley carer strategy.

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Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum June Update 2018

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Hello everyone, welcome to the latest update for the Lewisham BME mental health carers forum. This forum took place on the 29th of June over at Family Health Isis. This particular forum has been running since last summer 2017.

There has been changes at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation trusts structure where they are moving towards borough based services. The members of the forum were interested in how the changes would reflect on services. So the main aim of the forum that particular Friday was to try and discuss who the members would like to have engaged with on future forums.

The members of the forum were hoping that the mental health police lead for Lewisham would attend, however that has been moved to month of October. The members are interested to hear about the Mental Health Act and centralised place of safety, but emotions are strong regarding the recent death of Kevin Clark, who also was a member of Family Health Isis.

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Members was interested from hearing about how carer leads over at the Ladywell unit were engaging with families and carers. Members of the forum were wondering if there would be a carers lead in the borough. Others were interested too see if a medical director for Lewisham would engage with the forum.

One member is very active with Lewisham Mind and wants them to engage with the forum. There was a discussion on how Lewisham Mind works with the BME community. There was also a discussion regarding NHS staff morale within Lewisham so the forum would like to hear from HR this is because of the worry of bank staff not knowing what is going on.

Management from Family Health Isis would also like senior managers from lewisham CCG to engage with the forum, although they were happy that lewisham CCG is working hard with service users there should be some engagement for BME Family and carers.

The forum is pleased to hear that a carers support group will eventually take form over at the Ladywell unit in the coming months. This concludes the update from the Lewisham BME mental health carers forum.

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum May Update

Welcome back to a quick update on one of the mental health carer forums I chair. This particular forum involves unpaid BME carers and those using or have used the mental health system. This is the only forum which involves ethnicity at it’s core.

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Lewisham is a very diverse borough and there is a high rate of mental health representation amongst the afro/carribean population. The forum has been running since last year and we have made a lot of progress, especially through engagement.

The forum runs once a month, usually on a Friday. The main topic for the May BME forum was on the SLaM quality report on the “Quality Priority setting for 2018/19”. All 4 of the Mental Health forums had a chance to give feedback on the mental health services South London & Maudsley provides regarding quality improvement. Despite feedback having to be rushed, I am grateful that the board has given the forums opportunity to provide feedback.

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The report is an 8 page breakdown of where feedback is given in regards to improving quality of services at the trust. The BME MH forum meeting held on the 25th of May focused on page 7 of the report. I allowed each member of the forum to speak about how they felt was raised in the report.
– Quite a few had opinions about how medication could be improved and wondered how the forum would be updated on progress.

– It was mentioned that some people would not have time to read the report and it should have pictures, but I felt at least we can have a discussion about the report so members can hear other’s views who had read the report.

– A lot of the members felt it was very important that the board take the suggestion of including familes in services, especially on the ward. One member felt comforted that family visited them on the ward, because they had a difficult time with staff.

– Another member wanted more information booklets, since I had handed them the new carers handbook, the confidentiality handbook and they queried why they had not seen those before.

– Some members want engagement regarding what compliants and compliments are made across the trust

– Lastly a discussion was raised on the problem of training staff to be empathic, especially staff from BME backgrounds who still lack empathy towards BME service users. This requires more discussion.

The forum members look forward to the Police along with the Central Place of Safety attending the June forum, especially since there was concern due to the recent death in Catford.

One important note is the members wish to have a mental health act officer engage with them to understand not only the mental health act, but also how the trust will adopt any new changes to Mental Health Law.

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum April

Welcome to the April update of the Lewisham BME Mental Health Carer & Service User forum. I know it is a mouthful of a forum name, but I hope it explains fully the forums purpose. Out of all the 4 forums I participate in, this forum is specialised for BME members who often can face a double stigma of identity, neglect and mental health needs.

The forum runs once a month at Family Health ISIS, which is a charity that focuses specifically on African & Caribbean needs in the community. With lack of funding comes difficulty in outreach for those struggling with mental health needs. In fact on my way to the forum I found several unfortunately BME people on the streets clearing struggling with mental health needs and I often wonder what support or engagement they are getting.

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The forum had a good turn out because we have SLaM’s diversity lead explaining her role and engaging with the members of the forum. She told the members about what the trust aims to provide regarding BME members from across the 4 boroughs and listened to us on what works on our journey through psychological therapy and what does not work.

Some of the feedback was on race and Identity.
Problems in reinventing the wheel.
Tracing back issues via family tree structure.
Assessments not flagging up mental health needs in order to access services.
Increasing communication to GPs, Churches, Mosques and community groups.
How people need to be involved and sharing power with those wanting to shape services.

The members of the forum hope SLaM’s diversity lead comes back to work with us on tackling such issues.

During the forum, I was happy to see Lewisham CCG turn up and take notes since they were interested in what was going on. They will get back to me later, but I am happy they are becoming more involved.

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We also had a healthy eating session from Healthwatch Lewisham who spent a good hour speaking to members about what foods contain, how foods can be categorised and we also spent time making a healthy fruit kebab.

All of the food was provided by Lewisham Tesco, which helps organisations strengthen community spirit and involvement. The forum members appreciated healthwatch Lewisham’s healthy eating workshop and they have been very good in engaging with the BME forum.

This concludes the update for the Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU forum.

Lewisham BME Mental Health Carer/SU Forum March Update 2018

Welcome to the March update of the Lewisham Mental Health Carer forum. This forum is filled with unpaid carers supporting someone close suffering mental health needs. We come together each month to discuss issues, work out what is working for Carers and service users agmonst the BME community and be engaged by our local mental health trust, CCG and third party providers.

This month we had the Clinical Service Lead for Assessment and Liaison based in Lewisham. He spoke about the kinds of services provided for lewisham resisdents who have mental health needs. We also discussed the use of Increasing Access to Psychology Therapies and how to access such a service.

The discussion moved onto why BME groups were not accessing such services and if there were thoughts and ideas of how mental health staff treat BME service users and their carers. Group members felt because of bad experiences, even young BME groups tend to stay away from services due to fear of trauma. The group queried how many people were being assessed in the borough of Lewisham, but I reminded that we need to examine the report “Meeting the public sector equality duty at SLaM”.

Some of the members would like to have the Patient & Public Involvement Lead for the Acute ward services back again to talk about further updates about the Acute ward services.

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More discussions were focused on the services provided at Southbrook road and the BME Service user/carer forum were handed out updates from the meeting in Feburary. The group were very pleased in how the report was laid out and presented and would like such a format to continue.

A large part of the discussion at the March forum centered on experiences with the police and how some members ended up at the Ladywell Unit. There is distrust from some members of the forum about the police, especially due to the recent death of a mentally unwell person brought in by the police. I however reminded the group, that engagement from SLaM’s Central place of Safety and the police mental health lead would help shape views and experiences. The forum looks forward to engagement from Lewisham Police & SLaM in the comming months.

Some of the members discussed the need for therapy/counselling and felt it was lacking in SLaM, they felt the need for such services due to trauma and bad experiences. Members of the forum were not interested in family therapy all the time and would want some counselling and engagement on how to understand their care plans.