Tag Archives: carers forum

Lewisham BAME MH Carer Forum September 2020

Welcome to the brief update of my Lewisham BAME Mental Health carer forum which is aimed at minorities caring for someone with a mental illness in the borough of Lewisham. The September forum looked at engagement from South London & Maudsley’s IAPT service (Ellen Heralall) and also engagement from the SLaM QI Peer Project Worker (Richard Mortan).

We were joined by the regular carer members and also newer members including some from my other carer group in Greenwich. There were also some members from community groups including African Advocacy Foundation, Bromley, Greenwich & Lewisham Mind’s community wellbeing group and others.

We were also joined by the comms rep from Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust who was interested on BAME developments in the area. We were also joined by Leonie Down from SLaM who is developing partnerships across Lewisham as part of the transformation of mental health services. Part of her role is to bring together a community strategy for service users, staff and carers within slam.

Ellen explained more about the IAPTs service which means Increasing Access to Psychological Therapy. The IAPTs service has just been running over a decade. They are based in primary care. So they operate very closely with the GPs and operations within GP surgeries. The IAPTs is also now part of the national framework, which is provided by NICE (National Institute of Care and Excellence) which recommend treatments. The aim is to provide easy access for the community to receive psychological therapies for depression and anxiety primarily, but not complex mental health conditions.

The referrals would come up from the GP and people can refer online to go through the triage process. Then they’re offered either step two treatment, which is a Guided Self Help well-being option via online CBT and psycho-education.

Ellen explained that the therapy will usually last generally from six to eight weeks. She mentioned that as with a lot of NHS services, they are fully aware of the discrepancy in the quality of services for the BAME community, accessing IAPT services. Plus when they do access our services, we are also aware of the inequality of their experience and their outcome in poor experiences.

So SLaM have been working on their objectives, but they are resourcing and working hard to look at improving the access of IAPTs to the BAME community,

SLaM are working with our community partners. Which is the big drive for SLaM at the moment to work with community groups, especially with ones attending such forums e.g. community groups, wellbeing groups and fitness garden projects that already exist in the borough. SLaM are partnering up with such groups and seeing how they can work together to bring psychological therapy and mental health awareness treatment to the community in a way that is relevant for them.

Ellen reported that SLaM are also reaching out to step outside of the box and make themselves more accessible to provide such psychological treatments, but also to build more relevant services where to a greater racial understanding of how racism, and discrimination and inequality affects mental health. This helps in raising the awareness of triggers in such experiences. Racism is a trigger and discrimination can also be a trigger to mental health. It is important such forums like the BAME carer forum exist so these things can be talked about in safe spaces.

Ellen mentioned that it’s good to be at the carers forum to talk and network about how how we can continue to become a more accessible and more relevant service.

IAPTs will work with those from culturally sensitive support groups. So there’s lots of different projects IAPTs is involved in. They have become a sort of a broader service that is probably in excess of 100 staff on IAPTs alone.

Ellen felt it was time to open up to questions from the members and attendees from the Lewisham BAME carers forum.

Question and answer session at the forum

The first question was on working with grassroots practictioners on issues with racism, discrimination and some data triggers that effect on mental health.

They wondered how IAPTs is mainly dealing with practitioners and the community within that kind of setting and how does it actually work? Especially with the aim to raise awareness and to deal with the issues of the experience of racism in the community.

Ellen mentioned that there was someone who had been running these groups already. She runs the groups in culturally sensitive emotional support groups aimed at the black and African African Caribbean community, which were 12 weeks. Ellen quoted that the groups were safe spaces to talk about mental health and a convient way to develop emotional wellbeing.

Other questions were on staff and how many were from the BAME community. Ellen did not have the figures to hand, but is bound to bring them at a later date, although she did mentioned about 50% to be vague. Ellen actually leads on the counseling team and because they come through a different sort of training and different routes they tend to get a very diverse range of counselors.

The psychological well being of practitioner to practitioners are now become more increasingly diversity, Ellen might have to get back to exactly the figures, but SLaM are certainly visibly increasing numbers of young BAME psychologists coming into that work stream, where the mental health service have the biggest problem is in in high intensity CBT.

Although BAME therapists certainly are increasing, Ellen felt we’re not there yet. The service is still actively recruiting BAME therapists.

The impact of COVID and technology

Another question arised regarding COVID-19. The carer member queried about lockdowns going on for another six months, he felt carers will come to the organization in six months time, with the community suffering with depression, anxiety and stress. The carer was wondering how they’re going to cope with the extra load BAME carers who have suffered.

Ellen responded on why she is glad to be at the forum. She would like to speak with the group to be able to plan resources. She admitted it would be a difficult task. Within the Lewisham IAPTs she mentioned they have got two priority streams. One of the streams they call priority pathways where One of them is NHS and social care and the priority stream can be tailored to support BAME carers who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 impact.

The carer member responded back stating supporting BAME carers through the crisis is only part of the problem. He felt how can black people know what IAPTs is doing? Especially for COVID-19. So they feel they can come to you when they have a mental health issue and not waiting till they’re in a crisis.

Even the internet can be a problem in itself. If you haven’t got the internet, how do you get on onto a website? So I’m just looking about what IAPTs is doing?

Ellen did completely agree that they are also concerned about people who don’t have access to the Internet and digital services. The services are hoping to open up one of our sites, so that they can do face to face work for people who can’t access digital treatment. They even do telephone treatment which works quite. There is still a lot of work to do.

Other carer members were interest in the size of the Lewisham IAPTs team and how the core element works in diversity. The carer member was interested in how IAPTs is reaching the community. Other members gave some ideas regarding churches, supermarkets and leaflets. Some members mentioned there is a problem with GP referrals and there was criticism on social perscribing in where people just get endlessly referred and not supported.

One other question I felt was interesting was from another carer interested in if there is a body? Which has overarching responsibility for your services in terms of any mental health? This then led to another question from another carer regarding when IAPTs signposts people to the other services, social services and so on. Is there an effort made to check with how that signposting is working? How did they actually make a good connection? How long? How long does it take for that person to get an appointment.

Presentation from SLaM QI Peer Project Worker

Next up to speak to the BAME carer forum was Richard Merton whose role at South London & Maudsly NHS Foundation trust is to try and improve service user and carer voices into MH services. Richard started about how they had an event in July, where the aim was to talk about people’s experiences of meaningful contact during COVID and the sort of things that might help going forward.

From that event they took that away some themes and feedbacks. One of the themes or discussions that was touched upon in that event was of how the trust can support BAME carers. So Richard reminder us that there is another event on the 8th of October and it would be great if anybody wanted to come along to that. A lot of the things that was also discussed at the last event in July was around technology and access to technology, plus some of the things that the forum had been talking about.

Question and answer session regarding Quality Improvement

One carer member was interested in the speed of action from meetings as in how long when they have decided what the outcomes are of these meetings? The carer member continued stating how will Richard or the NHS Trust be able to really take to put decisions into practice? Because he does not want us to say, yeah, we’re going to do this and We’re going to do that. And then this time next year, we’re still working for the outcomes of these, because of the situation we are were under a moment.

The response from Richard was on how things are going to take some more of a structural change. However the event is kind of a listening event based on what communities asked initially. Richard suggested that he thinks it’s always important to come back to someone and annouce what could or could not be done based on what was requested.

Another carer member issued a request stating that if Richard be sure to send information about the October event through the involvement register. Plus to make sure to use ways and other means of sending the information out and spread it as widely as possible to the community.

Another member of the forum mentioned the situation with local government and the impact on BAME carers. She felt that people are not looking at financial aspect of that being at home and having to be connected digitally. Its like having to use the internet and there is no compensation because BAME carers are having to make sure they have to stay online, to be able to be in contact with all the things that are going on in the community, but the bills are going up.

The community support member continued to mention that she has lots of clients who are actually in financial problems. As in losing money in which they can’t have the internet, they can’t be able to be involved. So what aspects are they going to help people like that, she thinks this needs to be looked at the long term due to the high risk of people losing their jobs.

Richard mentioned that NHS England, have got a branch called NHS-X, which looks at technology. And so that’s slightly will take a bit longer, but they’re looking at questions like the community support member raised. Richard also raised the point that at the trust they had a response to COVID. They have a few what they call workstreams going on and one of them is remote consultations and how we can do that across the trust.

Another carer repeated the question saying this problem with technology and paying for broadband and so on, has been going on even before COVID-19. She had to support someone and still supporting that person after she had spiralled down into severe depression. It seems that one of the causes was the person she is supporting was in serious debt, partly because of phone bill.

One of the newer carer members pointed out that the financial issues have always been an issue. And it’s a mental issue. And it’s just the way it is, and it’s never gonna change any time soon. But the question really is how you change that. And when you use the word inclusion, or what we use when we talk about community, there was a way of taking that deficit and turning it into a positive. This is what is needed to be involved in a community. So if there’s a way of paying it back then it is a sort of benefit. Because then you’re giving help to that person who then learns as if it’s an education. I have no idea why this is not happening, but all businesses should have a social responsibility

Richard mentioned how there was support from Charity especially regarding the purchase of mobile phones to help mental health staff connect more with their patients. Richard admitted charity cannot be the complete answer. Richard also wanted to say that a few of people at the forum came to an event in June, which was a big broadcast, where SLaM plan on developing work streams linking the leaders of the council’s together, and and looking at some of these social issues.

Some of the members of the forum are also members of the Lewisham BME Network, one member of the group mentioned an initative from Microsoft that is currently investing in BAME communities. She felt that it is really significant if Microsoft is connecting with some of the groups, and maybe other providers are doing the same like Virgin, or one of those. She felt that perhaps we could ask them on what they do for charities. So there’s probably things we could do in the community that would impact the way we take on the digital platform.

Other carer member raised an important point on that there are many strands to what needs to be done within the community. But if we’re talking about the individuals, within the community, black and white who are experiencing poverty and no access to the internet and phones. He thinks there’s more of a structural in political resolution to this and not just community based solutions. So maybe talking to MPs and putting pressure on them in that sphere, to look at the whole wide community as a whole, not just particularized issues that we’re raising today.

This concludes the brief update of the September Lewisham BAME carer forum.

Southwark MH Carers Forum September 2018

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Welcome to the September update of the Southwark mental health carers forum. Out of all the mental health carers forums, this forum was the last carers forum to be set up throughout South London. The forum is held over at Southwark carers.

Southwark Carers provides information, advice and support to carers across the borough of Southwark, they also aim to raise awareness of the rights and needs of carers. One of the aims of the Southwark mental health carers forum is to raise awareness of mental health carers. That being families and carers who care for someone close suffering mental health needs.

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Lewisham MH Carers forum April 2018

Welcome back to my MH carer forum update from the Lewisham carers group. At the Lewisham Mental Health carer forum, we discuss carer engagement from our local mental health trust, 3 party organisations, the council and lewisham based GP surguries.

We also discuss carers rights, reports and learning about the carers role. For the april 2018 meeting. We discussed the report sent back from out local Mental health foundation trust, which is South London & Maudsley.

I usually attend and chair carer forums across South London, so it was important quality improvements for the mental health services get views from Carers. The report is fairly well written and easy to digest. I had printed out some copies for members to read at the Lewisham MH Carers forum.

We spent most of the time discussing the report, especially page 7 of the report, because that is where the write up of the carers forums were placed regarding carer issues. Despite the report being very easy to read, there were some problems. Some members felt the report was too vague and missed some things out. Other members of the Lewisham MH Carers forum felt the report is lacking in a conclusion on what needs to be done to tackle quality issues.

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One of the members of the forum is going to raise their concerns back at the trust, although I am glad the quality project did mention our concerns. We hope SLaMs Head of quality can engage with the forum regarding SLaMs quality priorites.

We also had a guest speaker at the forum who promises to return to the forum again. The head of the Ladywell Mental Health unit based at Lewisham Hospital engaged with the forum. I was delighted that she was able to make it, even though she had to deal with many emergency meetings. Sam Grey spoke about her role and what a Unit manager does. She described around 7 wards and their purpose and gave an update of changing service structures regarding borough based services rather than trust wide services.

I spoke about the need for a carer support group to be set up for the whole of the Unit, mainly because such a support group existed there years ago. Plus families and carers can always make the tuesday evening for a support group. I am fortunate enough to get support from the trust’s modern matrons who themselves focus on quality priorities. The forum wanted updates and engagement from the Ladywell Unit’s phamacist also the psychriatric nurse from Lewisham hospital, unfortunately we are not sure if it is possible to get their time, but the forum is interested on how such staff deal with medication issues and also how Lewisham hospital’s A&E engages with patients and their friends/families.

I hope the update was a useful read, see you next time.

Lewisham MH Carers forum November

133Welcome to the November update of the Lewisham Mental Health carers forum for 2017. This will be the last forum for 2017 until January 2018. The carers forum has been running in Lewisham for some years now and there has been some minor problems, but many successes.

For the November forum on the agenda we had feedback from South London & Maudsley regarding carer queries from the October meeting. The patient information officer did a great job in notifying the involvement lead, information manager and engagement lead regarding carer queries.

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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.

Carers Hub Lambeth Forum

Hi again. Welcome to another blog post by Matthew Mckenzie a mental health carer from Lewisham. It has been a while since my last blog post, I guess I have been so busy as of late. Since its the easter holidays I thought it would be a good time to write up a blog post on an event I go to every so often.

As noted in my other past carer blogs. I like to network with other carers in other boroughs of London and one of the best ways to do this is at carer organisations. One of the carer organisations I tend to visit is over in the borough of Lambeth. They usually have carer forums and on the 15th of March 2016, Carers Hub Lambeth held their forum which explored the use of creativity and relaxation for carers.

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My blog on Carers Hub Lambeth Forum July 2014

Welcome to another carer blog post from Matthew Mckenzie a carer for someone with mental health difficulties. Now although this blog aims to express my thoughts on the world of caring, I often like to go to events and learn more about mental health or how carers can empower themselves.

It has been a while since I have been to a carers forum, in fact to be honest I mainly attend mental health forums especially ones over in Croydon, which are run by the HearUs Reach Out Croydon organisation. At the back of my mind, I am thinking to myself it would be great to find out where there are carer forums, although HearUs is also aimed at carers as well.

I also wanted to see what other boroughs were doing for carers and luckily through the social media, Carers Hub Lambeth were advertising many of their meetings and forums, which I desperately wanted to attend.

Carers Hub Lambeth were also happy for me to blog about the forum, so more information can reach other carers out in the borough of Lambeth especially on those who do not know about the forum or the services Carers Hub Lambeth can provide for them.

Carers Hub Lambeth Forum

As you might already know, there are around 6.5 million carers in the UK, there are also around thousands of carers the Lambeth hub have on their database and there are more hidden carers struggling out there. It is critical more carers out there get the information and support they need to carry out their role or give carers greater freedom within their roles.

One of the best ways to empower carers is through a forum, especially one aimed at carers. On Thursday 10th July at 336 Brixton Road, SW9 7AA.

We are 336

We heard from Lianna Etkind, Campaigns Officer from TRANSPORT FOR ALL giving an update on options for carers and the people carers care for on transport. We then heard from David Strong from the Disability Advice Service Lambeth on the Lambeth Carers Awards – Carers were consulted on what do we want from this annual event in order to celebrate carers.

The Hub Manager of Carers Hub Lambeth “Julie Mallett” gave a great introduction to the carers forum. Julie is a carer herself and has a large wealth of knowledge and dedication to carer services.

Julie Mallett

Julie talked about the latest Carers Hub Lambeth Newsletter and the recent Carers charity walk that was done at the end of may 2014, which raised around £300 for much needed breaks and outings for other carers struggling for time out.

Carers charity walk

One of the updates Julie mentioned was the “Social Care hub steering group” meeting, the co-production of Lambeth services with Carers & Service Users taking place in April and the next newsletter to be sent out in September.

Newsletter

There was also updates from the last Carers Hub Lambeth forum, where carers requested the Lambeth Hub concentrate in training workshops for carers, produce more information on carers rights and many other things.

After a quick update from the last Carers Hub Lambeth forum, Lianna Etkind, Campaigns Officer from TRANSPORT FOR ALL gave us carers some information about what “Transport for All” is about.

Lianna Etkind

“Transport for All” believes in a fully accessible, reliable and affordable transport network for disabled and older Londoners. They provide specialised advice, information, advocacy and training to both service users and providers of accessible transport in the capital.

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Transport for All are based at 336 Brixton road, but feel free to view their website http://www.transportforall.org.uk/

Lianna Etkind told us about Transport For All latest campaign movements, but she also wanted to here from us carers the following questions.

1. If us carers had the resources and money, what would we do to change transport in London.
2. What as carers do we WANT from Transport

We discussed this as carers in each of our 7 groups and feedback to Lianna.

Matthew Mckenzie

I wanted cheaper travel for carers who cannot earn money so easily because they are busy caring for someone, the cost of travelling is increasing and effecting carers finances harder than ever. I also wanted to know if carers cannot get access to cheaper travel, then what benefits can carers take advantage of?

 

 

 

Other groups fed back on the following

– How can they get access to the Blue Badge pass
– How social workers should help people applying
– Cheaper travel
– Accessing transport without too much physical obstacles.

Lianna then took the time to talk about the following at the forum.

Map explanation

* Step free stations shown off the maps
* The difference between the what and blue wheelchair symbols on maps.
* The meaning of Ramps on the maps and their uses
* Uses of the “Taxi Card” and things to watch out for
* How to complain and also when to compliment about journeys
* Dial-a-ride booking
* The different types of freedom passes
* How “Transport for All” has done on their recent campaigns. Quite a lot of their campaigns have been done via the para-Olympics, plus their inquiry to the new Crossrail service.

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After the advice session from Lianna, we then got to watch a film about how cycling can help in physical health and well-being. The film was from a group called “Wheels for Well-being”. Their site is http://www.wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk/

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Wheels for Wellbeing is a charity supporting people of all ages in south London to enjoy the benefits of cycling, regardless of any physical or mental barriers they may experience.

Since 2007 they have supported thousands of people to cycle in London.

Abigail Tripp who is the Community Engagement Officer for “Wheels for wellbeing” told us carers about how “Wheels for Wellbeing” advise and consult those who attend their sessions. We also had some good questions from the attendees at the group on if the bikes could fold and why they had to move from Brockwell Park.

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One of the carers actually had been on their sessions and commented how they enjoyed the cycling benefits.

Next up was the Lambeth Carers Award. We had David Strong from the Disability Advice Service Lambeth present the following about the awards

David Strong

* What the “Lambeth Carers Awards” are all about
* How we need carers ideas on how the awards should be presented
* The different opinions other carers have mentioned about the awards

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Next we have another group session on discussing and feeding back our views about the Lambeth Carers Awards. Most carers tended to want the awards to be spread out and to allow recognition among more carers.

We all then had a large free lunch treated to us by Carers Hub Lambeth.

Yum!!

Then to burn off the food, some of the carers took part in the “Chair Zumba” provided by Annia Krystyna from the “Zumba Gold” whose site is http://www.zumba.gold.com

Chair Zumba

I decided to speak to Cecelia Tsang, the Carers Hub Advice Case Work who is from “Age UK Lambeth“. I spoke to her about what things carers wanted help with the most and she mentioned it is usually about housing, benefits, charity access, advice and complaints.

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Next I went for a massage session to help relieve any stress or tension since as a carer myself, I have been going through a difficult period.

Massage

My last thoughts about the forum is that I hope more spring up around the other boroughs in London and I am sure to attend a few more.

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I can only hope and wish carers take advantage of these forums, so they know what is going on, how they can contribute or benefit from the forums and be part of the community, which not only helps carers provide care, but extend the philosophy that caring communities bring us all together.

So no carer is left isolated.