World Mental Health Day 2017

Welcome back to another one of my blog posts on mental health.  This blog post is helping to promote World Mental Health Day 2017.  The theme for World Mental Health Day is Mental health in the workplace. World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues

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Southwark Mental Health Carers Forum September

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Welcome to Septembers Southwark Mental Health Carers Forum. Out of all the four Mental Health carer forums, This is one of the newer carer forums that has been set up to provide a platform for unpaid carers looking after someone suffering mental health problems in the London borough of Southwark.

To watch the video version, please click below

On the agenda for september was the following.

– An Update and discussion of what is going on in Southwark for MH carers
– brief feedback from the recent SLaM carers committee meeting.
– An update from Ana on her involvement at SLaM
– Discussion about the recent Southwark CCG engagement meeting
– Feedback on carer assessments meeting

As a group we discussed updates from August’s forum. Then moved on to what our local mental health trust is doing for its carers.

I presented the following being how South London & Maudsley’s carer committee’s development’s on their

  • Action Tracker
  • The new Terms of Reference/Code of Conduct which is to be approved
  • The New carer Co-Chair
  • An update on Carers Engagement and Support Plans Update
  • Translation of Carers Information
  • Addressing the issues that matter to Carers

Next was Ana’ who helps with the Southwark mental health carers forum, she presented on her involvement at the Patient and Carer’s involvement group. It is vital carers can attend the forum and learn about how empowered carers can be if they learn from involved carers at the trust.

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We then discussed the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy patient engagement event held on the 11th September. Basically NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southwark Council aim to improve mental health and wellbeing across the borough and have now developed a draft Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. They held an event to engage the public, patients and carers.

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We got some views from the carers who attend that event and they felt it was very good that we were heard, but felt the scenario’s presented bared little resemblance to their current situations and also felt that lack of money was behind the draft where the community was asked to do more for less.

As a forum, we wish for further engagement from Southwark CCG as we seek to find common themes among mental health carers.

Next up for discussion was the carer’s assessment meeting feedback. There is a feeling that not enough carers are being assessed and the process is too vague when it comes to who is responsible for doing the assessments. Plus there is no idea on the quality control when it comes to carers assessment in the borough of Southwark.

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Even if the outcome of an assessment does not rely on fiancial support, there should be docmentation on carer needs and carer engagement.

Lewisham BME Mental Health Carers Forum September

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Welcome to Septembers Lewisham BME MH Carers Forum. Yes, I know it is a long title for the forum, but nevertheless the importance of unpaid BME mental health carers cannot be understated. The reason I set up the forum was to allow BME carers the platform to discuss issues, engage with those responsible for equality and diversity and also educate other carers who are not aware of their role or problems they may face.

To Watch the video version, click below.

The Lewisham BME MH Carers forum runs from the Lee centre over in Lewisham. On the agenda for September was an introduction on why the forum was set up, its requirements and a talk about race, equality and diversity from our Local mental health trust’s equality lead Macius Kurowski.

So why the need for such forum?

– We have no idea how many BME Carers/Service users in Lewisham have any idea or influence on Mental Health services.

– There is a high rate of BME Mental Health carers, due to the high rate of BME service users & those not using the services.

– Mental Health BME carers need some empowerment in their role.

– Services have suffered from cuts, carers need to act in order to support everyone.

– Lambeth is now on the map for a big push on BME mental health focus, but where is Lewisham where the population is very diverse?

Eventually Macius South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Equality lead spoke about his role at the trust, why it was needed and the importance of race and equality. At the first BME Carers forum, we discussed his report about Meeting the public sector equality duty at SLaM. So we felt it was important we should engage and hear more from the trust’s equality lead.

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Macius mentioned that it is important we examine, discuss and understand the report since it will help us all in our roles. He did feel that as a forum, when it comes to finding about the data regarding the number of BME service users and carers, it can be complex. Macius stated that SLaM is doing a number of good things in picking up data e.g. (quality improvement meetings) and engaging with the public, but there is still more work to be done.

We were grateful for Macius to engage with the forum and look forward to him returning early next year. This concludes the update for September’s Lewisham BME Mental Health Carers forum.

Lambeth Mental Health Carers Forum September 2017

coverWelcome to September’s Lambeth Mental Health Carers Forum. The forum was held over at the 336 building based in Lambeth over on Brixton road. The Lambeth Mental Health Carers forum comes together each month to discuss issues facing unpaid carers who care for someone close suffering severe mental health problems.

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Lewisham Mental Health Carers Forum September 2017

Here is the update for the Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum for September 2017. This forum took place on the 26th of September, 1:00 pm at the Carers Lewisham centre.

If you wish to see the video version, please click below

The topic for that day was the importance of involvement in mental health services. While some of the carers are involved at South London and Maudsley foundation trust, which provides the bulk of mental health services in Lewisham, Croydon, Southwark and Lambeth. I was fortunate enough to have Debbie who is an involvement representative over at North East London Foundation Trust.

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When I talk about foundation trusts and mental health services. Usually foundation trusts are a coalition of large hospitals and community teams providing mental health services. As far as I know every mental health trust has some form of involvement and some trusts do this well, while at other trusts there still is a lot to learn.

North east London Foundation trust provides services in several london boroughs being Barking, Dagenham, Brentwood, Havering, Kent, Basildon and more. Debbie spoke about what she does over north east london and the importance of involvement.

The forum discussed what was good about involvement and services, what was difficult or bad and what we would like to change. We also discussed how involvement within our local mental health trusts can empower us, but it is also a duty to speak up for injustice and protect those who are vulnerable.  Debbie mentioned that SLaM was held in high regard, but I pointed out that over at SLaM we speak highly of NELFT.

During the discussion, I found ex service user Debbie to be extremely knowledgeable about getting involved in the mental health services. I also noticed her leadership skills while presenting to carers.

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I was hoping to present a bit about involvement myself while charing the forum, but we ran out of time since a lot of carer issues where raised, plus Debbie had to attend the NELFT annual meeting.

Also at the forum we had another special guest that being the Carer Engagement Project Coordinator from Oxleas Foundation Trust. Oxleas provides services in Greenwich, Bromley and Bexley. We were greatful to have engagement from hard working prople from two different trusts, but the main aim was to learn from each other, which will be an ongoing relationship.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

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Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by, this blog is helping to raise awareness for Suicide prevention day, which occurs every year on the 10th of September.

The day an annual awareness raising event organised by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The theme for 2017 is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’

To see the video I made for the awareness event please click below.

Over in the UK there are many organisations and charities are promoting this special awareness day from Mind to Samaritans, Rethink and also SANE.

Suicide is a cause of premature death which is influenced by psycho-social, cultural and environmental risk factors that can be prevented through worldwide responses that address these main risk factors.

More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK and Ireland, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 a day. in the UK biggest killer in men under age of 45.

What can you do to help someone who may be in need? Start a conversation today if you think a friend, colleague or family member may be struggling. There are also other ways you or others can help spread awareness of suicide prevention. Try and ask your government to launch initiatives to prevent suicide. Attend or speak at Conferences, open days, educational seminars or public lectures about suicide prevent. Educate yourself by watching Media programs promoting suicide awareness and prevention.

Showing compassion and empathy can help a person to turn things around and point them towards recovery.