Category Archives: Psychiatry

Reviews, research and updates from the field of Psychiatry

Research Study: Improving safety in community-based mental healthcare.

Hello fellow carers. I have exciting research news for you.

Phoebe Averill who is a PhD Student of the Health Service and Population Research Department from Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. Is working on a research study about the safety of community-based mental health services. This is a nationwide research aimed at unpaid carers.

Please see below for details.

What is this study?

We are carrying out a study to find out about safety problems in community-based mental health services for adults. This research will help to increase awareness of the types of safety problems service users and carers experience in these services, as well as gathering ideas about how community mental healthcare could be made safer.

Taking part would involve participating in your choice of either a one-to-one interview, or a group discussion. Interviews or group discussions will be conducted remotely via a secure online platform (e.g. Zoom), and will last for up to one hour.

Who can take part?

We would like to speak to family members/ carers of adults who are using community-based mental health services. These include primary care (e.g. treatment and monitoring of a mental health condition by a GP), or secondary care mental health services (e.g. outpatient support from Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment team, or a Community Mental Health Team).

To take part, you must also be:

  • Over 18 years old.
  • Able to understand English sufficiently to take part in an interview or group discussion.
  • Able to provide informed consent.
  • Not currently using inpatient mental health services.

Who should I speak to if I am interested in taking part?

If you are interested in taking part, or would like more information, please contact Phoebe Averill at phoebe.averill@kcl.ac.uk.

Please note:

Carers will be offered a £15 shopping voucher in return for taking part.

Royal College of Psychiatrist Lived Experience project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists are collecting stories from people with lived experience of long term mental health conditions. These stories will support the work of the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s Faculty of Rehabilitation & Social Psychiatry. The Faculty is made up of psychiatrists, service users and carer representatives with experience of psychiatric rehabilitation services. The Royal College of Psychiatrist want to understand and represent such experiences.

You can download the Lived experienced submission form in the link below.

Some of the stories collected will be placed on the Royal College of Psychiatrist Faculty website.  They may also use them in future reports and campaigns.

The Royal College of Psychiatrist appreciate that sharing your story with others can be difficult; you may need support from carers or the individual who has invited you to participate.

Taking part in their project is entirely voluntary, and stories will be anonymised.

Patients and carers with lived experience are leading on this project.

Any queries about the project please email stella.galea@rcpsych.ac.uk.

Violence in informal caregiving relationships – Research

Researcher Emilie Wildman is now conducting research into exploring the experiences of informal carers of adults living with mental health problems, who have experienced violence from the person they care for.

If you are a carer who has experienced this and is interested in getting involved please see the poster below.

You can contact the researcher on the following details.

Researcher: Emilie Wildman
Tel: 07737 714 873
Email: emilie.wildman@kcl.ac.uk

Lewisham BAME MH Carer Forum April 2020

10177241_747738765268892_5890142387668348507_nWelcome to the April update of the Lewisham BAME Mental Health Carers forum. This is one of the four forums that I chair in South London. Out of the four forums, this group focuses on BAME carer developments in Health and social care. The group has been going since 3 years or so.  Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I am running all forums via my own ZOOM account.

The invited speakers for April was Shilpa Ross who is a senior researcher at the Kings Fund policy team that works on a range of health and social care research programmes. Shilpa was invited to the forum to speak about her latest research that not enough progress has been made to address discrimination against black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff in the NHS.

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International Stress Awareness Week- How stress can affect carers

Fotolia_73087289_XSThanks for stopping by, since the release of this blog we recently had International Stress Awareness Week 2019.  I wanted to write something up during that week, but unfortunately I missed the boat, I guess I have been so busy.  Still, unpaid carers suffer from a lot of stress and I still want to highlight such an important issue.

 

What is International Stress Awareness Week?

Promoted by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), although many other mental health organisations are free to promote it. The International Stress Management Association [ISMAUK] is a registered charity and the lead professional body for workplace and personal Stress Management, Well-being and on Performance. They usually promote sound knowledge and best practice.

International Stress Awareness Week usually runs from Monday 4 – Friday 9 November.

The theme I think for national Stress awareness week is “Resilience” which is defined as how we deal with and recover from highly pressured or stressful situations and experiences. Off my video I talk about finding resilience in great detail. So please have a watch when you can.

I have noticed a lot of mental health organisations promote how stress can effect the workplace.

Just to note, I have done a lengthy video blog on the affects of stress and how it impacts not just carers, but everyone, to view press the video below.

Every year, in the UK an estimated 17 million days are lost to stress, anxiety and depression.

Some Facts about stress

Stress is the feeling of being unable to cope as a result of too much mental or emotional pressure.

Common signs of stress can include sleeping problems, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating. You may feel anxious, irritable, experience rapid thoughts and worry constantly.

Here are some quick facts, but to hear more about them, please check out my video.

1. Long-term stress can increase your risk of mental health disabilities
2. Frequent stress decreases your immune system
3. Relationships play a key role in your daily stress levels
4. The right amount of stress is beneficial, but too much is deadly.

Stress and unpaid carers

As you probably already know, I am an unpaid carer and have suffered a lot of stress in the past, even now I admit sometimes stress gets the better of me.  Sometimes that is ok, but allowing stress to consume you can have devastating side effects.

I have provided a list below on how unpaid carers can suffer from stress, take note that the things mentioned are not comprehensive, but at least the most common.

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1. Being overloaded in providing care can cause all sorts of stress
2. As mentioned before relationships with the ‘cared for’ can also be stressful
3. A major form of stress is the health or declining health of a ‘loved one’
4. Sometimes carers have to hold down a job, if caring becomes too much, then work performance can suffer.
5. Financial issues can be an extra form of stress for unpaid carers coping with lack of support.
6. If caring becomes difficult, this can affect sleep and eating habits, these are very stress inducing.

How does stress affect us?

Just to note, stress affects people differently, what happens to one person might not happen to another.

1. Our emotional behaviour changes, it is easier to become irritable, sad and depressed.
2. You can also feel very hot and sweat when suffering stress
3. Constant stress can also affect the body in many ways including headaches, stomach issues and blood pressure.
4. Stress can certainly affect your breathing as many begin to breath faster as their heart beat increases.

Dealing with Stress to find Resilience

Below I have listed things that can help you find resilience in combating stress.  For more information, please check out the video.

Silhouette of man showing his hand on sunset sky background, Successful business concept.

  • Breathe.
  • Dance.
  • Give yourself enough time to do things, planing can go a long way.
  • Go for a walk in the park.
  • Go swimming.
  • Jog or find other ways to do some exercise
  • Laugh
  • Listen to music.
  • Meditate.
  • Pet therapy can be useful. Connecting with pets.
  • Read.
  • ** Recognize the Signs (number one rule).
  • Stay Connected with others
  • Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider
  • Take a yoga class, or give yourself one.
  • Take warm, relaxing baths.
  • Watch television.
  • Water and admire your plants.

Conclusion

It is important to look after your health, especially if someone is relying on you. If you do not recognise or deal with stress levels, then stress will deal with you. Your health will become a major factor in supporting others, let alone yourself. Find out more about stress by visiting the ISMA site on https://www.isma.org.uk/

Carer engagement – What works?

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Welcome back to another blog post from an unpaid mental Health carer. Just a day ago of this blog post, I attended and spoke at the South London & Maudsley trust Psychology and Psychotherapy conference 2019. It’s theme for this year was on involving families and carers. I was excited to be part of the event to get my thoughts out to the audience and on reflection, I felt I pulled no punches. With over 20 years of unpaid carer experience, I have seen and experienced quite a lot in regards to carer involvement and I expect there is more to come. One day I should write a book about it, but this is probably a very long way off.

Still, I feel a lot is at stake and there are times we have to be passionate because we are dealing in peoples lives, since that is the nature of business. Connecting with others at a deep, but difficult level. However when things work out, the rewards pay very high because we can reuse what we have learnt. Yes, I am talking about psychology and psychotherapy. I am no expert in these subjects, but being involved at the NHS trust and in the community for long, I suspect that I have been exposed to such powerful, wonderful and mysterious methods.

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Top 70 Contributions to Psychiatry and Psychology

Relationship psychology concept created with man and woman heads profiles, vector logo or symbol of gender problems and conflicts in family, close relations and society. Classic style simple design.Its been a while since I have made another video. This one is back on the psychiatry field. In this video I have introduced a list of notable figures who have made an impact on sub fields of psychiatry.

I have made a video which can be viewed below showing the top 70 contributors to different fields within psychiatry.  It was not possible for me to include anymore due to time and length of the video.

The video includes names such as :-

Adolf Meyer
Carl Gustav Jung
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Eugen Bleuler
Eve Johnstone
Franco Basaglia
Frantz Fanon
Hans Steiner
Jaakko Seikkula
John Cade
Pierre Janet
Robert Spitzer
Seymour Kety
Viktor Frankl
Wilfred Bion

…and many more.

Hope you enjoy!!