Tag Archives: carers

SW London MH Carer Forum October 2021

Welcome to a brief update of my South West London Mental Health carers peer group. The carers group covers the 5 boroughs of mental health trust South West London & St George and seeks to empower unpaid carers with engagement, information and a peer environment.

Speakers for the October forum 2021 were

  • Tristan Brice – London ADASS
  • Christian Sestier – On involvement of open dialogue at SWLSTG
  • Alison Crane & Yasmin Phillips (NELFT NHS) – Open dialogue

Tristan Brice presents on London ADASS carer focus

Taken off their website “LondonADASS is an Unincorporated Association that brings together the London based Directors of Adult Social Services (DASSs) to enhance the quality of adult social care across the Capital. Working in partnership with adult social service providers through Proud to Care London, they are committed to improving the recruitment and retention of the adult social care workforce across London.”

Tristan Brice who chairs the carer group at London ADASS was at the forum to speak on what priorites the organisation has for carers. One of the things Tristan presented on was the discounts for carers project, which gives carers a discount on shopping and other necessities. An interesting project is how ADASS will focus on NHS staff retention and how to improve retention. They want to do three things. London ADASS want to promote the sector as a as a place staff want to work. London ADASS also have a project on providing carer lanyards, just like what NHS staff have. There is a focus on raising the identity of unpaid carers as a way to say they should be valued as working for the same team.

When Tristan mentioned this, a lot of the carers eyes lit up as they wondered what the Lanyards would look like.

Tristan also spoke about the online carer groups that London ADASS are hosting, these usually being singing and dancing groups to reduce isolation and increase fun with creativity. Other priorities were on commissioning in regards to safeguarding, developing the workforce, particularly practitioners. The other priority is supporting integration with health colleagues.

You can see the safeguarding video below.

The big focus is trying to not see carers through a social care lens, but through the lens of them as doing an amazing task of looking after someone close to them.

The last presentation was on the success of the carer’s festival, which was online until things change regarding the pandemic. You can see the video below.

Open dialogue presentation

I am fairly well known for promoting the Triangle of care project for carers nationally, but there are other national projects which mental health trusts try to incorporate into their services. One of them is Open dialogue and with a request from carer members, I got support from North East London NHS Foundation trust to speak about how they are incorporating Open dialogue into their services.

First to speak was Yasmin Phillips who is a Community Mental Health Nurse and was the first full time psychiatric nurse using an Open Dialogue approach. Yasmin explained that she works in the dialogue first service at NELFT, and she trained in open dialog in 2014. The Open dialogue is now taking referrals all over England. Yasmin then moved on to explain what Open dialogue is about, which is a reflective approach in increasing dialogue.

Open Dialogue was pioneered in Finland and has since has since been taken up in a number of countries around the world, including much of the rest of Scandinavia, Germany and several states in America.

Some of the results so far from nonrandomised trials are striking. For example, 72 per cent of those with first episode psychosis treated via an Open Dialogue approach returned to work or study within two years, despite significantly lower rates of medication and hospitalisation compared to treatment as usual.

Next to speak a patient involved in Open dialogue in which he mentioned that discussions about the patient on ward rounds is a recipe for disaster, if the patient was not included. He referred to the phrase “Nothing about you without you”. So that just the idea that the patient is involved in that the conversation and it should not be done without them.

So when the involved parties come together, it might just be starting off saying “how do you want to use the time today?”, as non directive as that. And then wherever it goes, it could be lively, all sorts of things. But at a certain point, what one of us might say could be a reflection where they basically press pause on the meeting, and they just turn to each other and share just whatever’s coming up.

This concludes the brief update of my SW London MH carers forum for October 2021

Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum October 2021

Welcome to a brief update of my Lewisham Mental Health carer forum for October 2021. I know I am behind in updating people about my carer forums, but I have mainly been busy working on my 2nd book. I am glad to say the book “Experiencing mental health caregiving – unpaid carers” has been published and can be bought on Amazon.

For the October carers forum, the following speakers were

  • Martin Crow – Business Manager – Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board
  • Cath collins (carer support officer) – Triangle of care
  • Eunice Adeshokan (Matron Acute Inpatient Services) – Carer engagement at Ladywell Unit

I also was going to do an online carer’s quiz for members, but only if there was enough time during the forum, plus I have to run my Greenwich MH carers peer group after the Lewisham mental health carers forum.

Martin Crow – Business Manager presents on Lewisham Safeguarding

Martin Crow sits on the board for the borough of Lewisham Safeguarding. The Lewisham safeguarding board was established statutorily in April 2015, to meet the requirements of the Care Act 2014. Although Lewisham had a safeguarding board in Lewisham, for many years before the Care Act, it was put on a statutory footing for the first time in 2015. The board has the responsibility for setting the strategic direction of Adult Safeguarding cross the borough of Lewisham, and is made up from over 20 organizations. But the three statutory partners are the police, Lewisham council and the clinical commissioning group southeast London CCG. So the key public sector partners, as well as other voluntary and community sector partners are involved in the safeguarding board. In the end it is their job basically to oversee the approach that the safeguarding board have, collectively, to ensure that adults are at risk of abuse, neglect are supported and protected in the best possible way.

Martin feels the key thing is that safeguarding is everyone’s business. So it’s not just about those 20 organizations, it’s about any organization that delivers services to adults at risk. It’s about adults themselves, and it’s very much about carers as well and not just the patient or service user. So the job of the board is to engage a very wide range of people from different communities across the border. This is so we can all help to play a part in protecting those most at risk. So part of Martin’s job is to is to help to reach out to different communities, organizations and work closely with them and in partnership with them.

Martin gave us an overview of what Adult Safeguarding actually is and about the word safeguarding can be used in many different ways and in many different contexts. For the broadest possible way really to think about Adult Safeguarding is that it’s about people. It’s about organisations and it’s about working together to prevent and stop off the risks and experience of abuse and neglect. So it’s not just about thinking about when things have gone wrong.

Martin mentioned that when people have experienced abuse, it’s thinking about the risk of abuse. It’s very much about prevention. so when the Care Act came into force in 2015, prevention really was really brought to the forefront because in Adult Safeguarding terms prior to that, there was too much focus really on protection about when something had already happened (which meant it was too late). The intention of the care act was to turn that around to say that there should be more focus on prevention.

What Martin was seeing around safeguarding is that it is everyone’s responsibility. The only way that people can hope to achieve those things in terms of prevention and stop the risk of abuse is by working with the whole community approach.

In Lewisham Martin mentioned that we have many organizations that run specific services, there’s probably over 500 organizations in Lewisham delivering services that can be a risk.

Martin spent quite a while talking to carer members about the types of safeguarding abuse and what the causes would be.

Cath Collins presents on SLaM NHS triangle of care

Cath Collins is Lewisham council’s carers support officer who works closely with South London & Maudsley’s NHS foundation trust. She was here to present and raise more awareness of the triangle of care and how it can be used for mental health services in the borough. Cath asked members what they knew about the ladywell unit, which is SLaM’s inpatient psychiatric ward and part of Lewisham Hospital. This is where anybody who needs to go into hospital suffering a mental health crisis could use in terms of going into a mental health Ward.

Cath mentioned that the triangle of care has been around for at least over 10 years, possibly longer. It’s a form of excellent practice when working with carers and families or in a mental health setting. For South London & Maudsley they are going to focus on the wards initially because that’s where when the triangle of care was formed, that was its first focus, it was put together by a carer Alan Worthington.

Alan developed a good practice guide on the back of his own experience while visiting his son in hospital. So the practice actually comes from a carer’s perspective, which has expanded to around 50 Mental Health trusts in England that have signed up to it.

Cath talked about the problems of not using the triangle of care, which provided the following challenges.

  • Carers being excluded at certain points of the care pathway
  • Failure to share information on risk assessment and care planning (see SUI reports and recommendations)
  • Requests by carers for information, support and advice not heard
  • Carers unique and expert views and history of the service user can be missed

She then mentioned some of the benefits when the Triangle of care is implemented for mental health services.

  • Clarity over matters of disclosure from service user to carer
  • Increase in identification of carers and referrals to carer support services
  • Increase in communication from more carers attending care planning meetings and ward rounds
  • Reduction in complaints and increase in compliments
  • Increased enthusiasm from staff

The triangle of care requests strict self assessment from wards, staff and community settings, this goes to insure things are implemented correctly and this helps staff recognise what key areas are needed for improvement.

Eunice Adeshokan presents on Carer engagement at Ladywell Unit

Eunice who I have known a very long time stepped in to co-present on carer’s awareness training at the inpatient ward. She mentioned that carers awareness training on a system has been done via an online system for staff. It’s about no less than an hour training, but a lot of work needs to be done to improve training. So one of the plans that SLaM has got in mind is to make sure that know their staff are carer aware and encouraged to complete this training and more.

Eunice talked about how they currently engage families and carers on the inpatient wards and what challenges have been taken up. Eunice will be back in January 2022 to talk about their event regarding triangle of care and serious incidents, which I have been involved in developing.

This concludes my carers mental health forum for the borough of Lewisham

The Carer’s Assessment – New poem by Matthew Mckenzie

Welcome back to another blog by former unpaid mental health carer Matthew Mckenzie. I am working on my carer awareness poetry for 2022. Poetry can be great for creativity, expression and even for campaigning.

I have done around 60 poems for the book I am going to release later on this year, the poetry book will contain around 150 poems.

For this particular poem, it is about a recent download of a carers assessment and my attempt at filling it in. At first I am nervous about filling in such forms because it asks such personal and thought provoking questions. After a while, I find the form gets easier to fill in, but I query is it worth filling the form.

This poem called “The Carer’s Assessment” can be views from the video below.

There will be times carer’s can’t be bothered to fill them in because they don’t get anything out from it and its engagement to carers can just be a tick-box exercise.

It’s still advisable to fill in carers assessments since it is a good way to be recorded and identified as a carer.

Experiencing mental health caregiving : Chapter 1 – Carer identity

Experiences of Mental Health caregiving

Welcome to my latest blog about my new book. My name is Matthew Mckenzie a former mental health carer who cared for his mother who suffered from a form of schizophrenia.

I have decided to highlight chapter one of my book “Experiencing mental health caregiving”

The first chapter explores what unpaid mental health carers feel about their identity. Each chapter of my book asks several intriging questions about mental health caring, which of course focuses on unpaid carers e.g. families and friends caring for someone close suffering mental ill health.

Carer Identity

The first question I asked carers on chapter one, which is “Carer Identity” was “What does it mean to be a mental health carer?”

You can see the video of this below below

The reason I asked such a question is that those who suddenly find themselves providing care might find some of the answers useful. Perhaps even NHS professionals or social workers might find the answers important.

I will pick out a few responses that I found highlighted the importance of carer identity.

One carer responded as

I think that it’s difficult. Often nobody other than the carer can see the disability with the person that you’re caring for. And so, they go unnoticed. Plus with mental health, it fluctuates and dramatically as well.

Another carer felt

For me to be a carer of a mental health patient has turned my world upside down completely. This is different when you caring for somebody outside your family, but when it is someone in your family then it is an application of emotional attachment.

Another carer summed up
My own identity disappeared in the beginning of my caring journey. It also means getting acknowledgement from healthcare professionals that I am an important person in my loved one’s care

What I thought was interesting is how difficult it was starting out caring for someone suffering mental illness, notice the responses all mentioned how tough it was when they first started out caring. Although certainly take note, I have only shown some of the responses here as others in the book might be different. One thing to note is some carers might find the role gets easier depending on their knowledge of the illness or the support they may get from services, community or other members of their family. This might not be the case for all unpaid carers.

For chapter one I asked around 8 other questions regarding carer identity and if you are interested about mental health carers, you can buy my book on the video link description.

Joint Southwark & Lambeth MH Carers forum October 2021

Welcome to my brief update of my joint Southwark & Lambeth mental health carer forum for October 2021. As with my other carer forums, this forum runs once a month and provides a platform for health & social care organisations to engage with those who care for someone suffering mental ill health. The primary focus for engagement is obviously South London & Maudsley who heavily support the carer forums, however a fair bit of the time the forum gets engagement from other parties, this could include Kings College NHS trust or Guys & St Thomas who also advertise the carer forum.

Speakers for October were

  • Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer – Spotlight on Care
  • Danny McDonagh – Employment & Education Engagement Worker (Mosaic Clubhouse)
  • Barney Stark – (Mosaic Clubhouse)

Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer presents Spotlight on Care

At that very same evening Dr Siobhan from University of Exeter was showcasing the “Spotlight on Care” at Peckham Library. Thus was done in a collaboration between artist Leo Jamelli and fellow academic Dr Catriona McKenzie. One of our members from my BAME carer forum collaborated with the project, where her picture was projected off the library showing her supporting the person she was caring for.

Dr Siobhan explained how incredibly powerful and moving the projected artwork turned out to be. This art really shone the spotlight on caring experiences during the pandemic. She felt Lots of other groups have had their moments recognized and resolved, but unpaid caring has were not recognized as we had the “clap for carers” campaign and more. She felt carers were dumped upon and that they’re still struggling because services haven’t reopened or services were close permanently. So to note carers are taking on that low, which is why they really celebrating the incredible work that unpaid carers do. It is not just about the artwork, but also also about starting some really powerful and public conversations about what it means to be an unpaid carer and on how do we rally around them as a community?

As soon as Dr Siobhan mentioned community, something triggered in my mind wondering if the community acknowledges caring, but the problem is caring can be a personal, closed off thing, unless the person suffering mental illness has a crisis in the community, which is when you need the community to rally around, unfortunately stigma and misunderstanding can take its toil and people might not want to know or care.

Leo Jamelli Artwork for Spotlight on care

Dr Siobhan mentioned they came to Peckham about two weeks before the installation to do a test run and people would come down coming over and say “WOW! I saw the image down the road and I had to cross the street”. Dr Siobhan mentioned there was this one lady who asked what the image was about and that she stopped to talk to her. In the end the women felt the image represented herself. Dr Siobhan mentioned that she did not think the lady had ever seen herself depicted In this way, and it was incredible experience for her as the image represented so many in the borough of Southwark and beyond.

It wasn’t just about the role of caring, but how every person who came over and asked us about the representation of being black and how they loved the projection shown off the library. This highlighted discussions in the community about the artwork.

Matthew Mckenzie outside Peckham Library

To read up more about the project, see the links below

Celebrating millions of unpaid carers with a beautiful hand-drawn animation

Spotlight On Care Peckham

Barney and Danny present on Mosaic Clubhouse

We got a brief summary about Mosaic clubhouse, which is a mental health charity based down in Brixton (borough of Lambeth). The club has been around for 27 years, and it is an accredited club clubhouse. The clubhouse model is an internationally recognized recovery rehabilitation model that’s been around since the 1940s. In fact it originated in the United States, where it’s a model all about co production, participation, and promoting positive mental health. At the clubhouse individuals are referred to them where they can become members with an increased sense of belonging to the community. Members can get involved lots of volunteering activities, which include sightseeing, working at the Moasic clubhouse cafe, on the reception or illustration work, they can even help put together the newsletter.

Outside agencies usually help with signposting other people to services, although even at the clubhouse members can get extra help from other parties. Staff are usually doing lots of phone calls as well as checking to make sure members are okay. The Clubhouse offers Employment, educational and social activities. The clubhouse has recently gone back onsite due to the pandemic, but there has been many online and offline sessions, which are continuing to run and be delivered by members themselves.

Mosiac Clubhouse has access to some colleges and there was an increased focus on outreach to get people away from isolation. The clubhouse ran a Digital Inclusion project to help members get online, get access to social inclusion proxies, or employment application assets.

Quite a few questions from carers asked about the clubhouse model.

Danny mentioned there are actually 50 Clubhouses across the world. Most of which are in North America and Northern Europe like Scandinavian countries.

This concludes my brief update of the Joint Southwark & Lambeth MH carers forum.

Greenwich Mental Health Carers forum October 2021

Welcome to the October update of my Greenwich Mental Health carer forum. As with my other carer forums, this one focuses on engagement from the local mental health NHS trust that covers greenwich, that being Oxleas MH NHS trust. I run this forum with heavy support from Greenwich carers who fight and advocate for the needs of unpaid carers in the Royal borough of Greenwich.

Speakers for the October Greenwich MH carer forum were

Peter Ley (Oxleas NHS) – Service Manager
Sue Horbury (Oxleas NHS) – Online Patient system
Laurelle Morgan Bruce (Oxleas NHS) – Oxcare

Peter Ley presents about his role

Peter Ley from Oxleas has a very important role that impacts many mental health carers in the borough of Greenwich, which is why some members wanted to find out more about what he does. Peter talked about service updates on what Greenwich MH services were going through, plus also to briefly talk about the Oxleas strategy.

Peter pointed out that he has been at the organization since June 2020, but felt joining an NHS Trust at the heart of pandemic can be challenging, still many months later he has found is that, whilst in that period of time, the organization took the decision to move from borough based services and move towards service lines. Peter did warn that unfortunately, the NHS has got a lot jargon in it and he will try and filter it out during the presentation.

So for borough based this just meant that the Greenwich had a management team, and a set of a set of services, which was inpatients and the community teams, and it was clear that people belonged in those teams. Then there’s a bunch of teams in the community and those are in between the GP surgery and specific teams, there’s a team called PCP as in Primary Care Plus, where they may take the referrals from the GP surgeries and kind of work where patients need access to the right part of the service.

Peter then talked about the inpatient facilities and Oxleas house and on what they provide including explanations on the treatment team and medical liaison team, plus on the older aged services along with the community mental health team and the memory services. Peter talked about the team based out of the hospital that works with older people, and how they link up with the community teams.

Peter was kind enough to mention that he has got access to organisation charts and diagrams that show how the services link together. It is a good way to understand things at a birds eye view. Peter continued to talk about those teams and how they run from Greenwich, the borough of Bexley and also Bromley. Historically the Clinical commission groups were set in each borough for Bexley, Bromley, and Greenwich, So the organization (that being Oxleas NHS) felt it was important to have a local relationship with the commissioners to kind of ensure that things that were in accordance to what was needed. But more recently, people might be aware that we have things called integrated care services now and it has been going on for a number of years. The conclusion from a lot of work nationally was to get services to be more joined up and make them more effective

Some members of the group wanted to talk more about how services were affecting them, which led to a lengthy discussion on the challenges such changes in the organisations need to link to carers. In the end it was felt Peter could link up more with both the forum and our greenwich carer’s peer group, since some carers felt neglected. Peter was kind enough to agree and we hope to see more of him in the new year.

Sue Horbury presents on Oxleas Patient database system

I am always interested to hear how the mental health organisation identified, recorded and referred unpaid carers off their patient database. So Oxleas was very kind to send Sue Horbury who works with the patient database system called ‘RIO’. Now RIO is actually used in many mental health trusts, although other mental health trusts have different patient database systems.

Sue presented herself as the equal transformation program manager for RIO. What that actually means in practice is she looks after and runs the team that works with introducing new technologies to the mental health trust. Sue talked to us at length about the patient record system and how they collect information about carers.

Sue talked about their clinical system and also what they call the support network engagement tool. So the system provides Oxleas with the ability to be able to register carers and wider support networks that they created some time ago to calculate information. However Sue mentioned that they realized earlier this year, that it wasn’t necessarily doing everything they needed it to do. So there was updates which Sue talked to the group about. Sue felt the system needed to capture who is in person support network, that being their primary carers, but also other people that might support them, and also how and when the organisation should engage with carers coming from the patient database system. This is where the clinicians might want to invite carers to be part of the care plan where it could be virtual or it might be face to face. In the end the organisation has a mixed approach, since we are in the world of pandemic.

So one of the key things Sue explained is how to know when Oxleas speak to their patients and service users and what are the fundamental questions. These being who are the most important people in your life? And how would you like them to support you in your care? Should we as Oxleas contact them? And if we should, how often should the contact be and who should Oxleas contact in the event of an emergency So that they have some guidance around how and when your wishes should be met.

Sue was very clear that maybe this isn’t happening as often as it should do, but that is certainly being recorded. The system has the ability to capture, but Oxleas can always strive to do better.

Laurelle Morgan Bruce presents on Oxcare

Following up on Sue’s presentation Laurelle talked Oxcare and what it meant for users of the services. Oxcare shows personal and medical information held on the patient’s personal health record, some of it comes from Oxleas’ record systems (RIO).

It allows patients to add their own information about their health, along with details which may be used to help with them on their current illness. This could include a diary or trackers to record their mood or pain. In some cases, it may reduce the need for them to attend many appointments.

She mentioned what was taken into the live environment some all the new functionality which will link up with Rio and allows Oxleas to bring information from Rio into the records. There has been lots of progress and they have started to work with some of the teams around the trust, but there is always oppertunity for members of the group to be involved and have a look.

There will be 3 Phases for leading on to the new year.

Phase 1 some services and their patients have access in 2021
Phase 2 During 2022 all services will be able to offer Oxcare
Phase 3 Reviewing and adding more functionality

Overall the forum was a little heated, but I was impressed that Oxleas staff did engage with the carers group as unfortunately there are organisations out there where carers do not have a carer’s centre or a group that can be a platform for engagement, querying and updates.

This is my brief update on my Greenwich MH carer forum for October, where the new one will be in January where Oxleas PALS will be talking more about what they do.

SW London MH Carer Forum September 2021

Welcome to a brief update of my South West London mental health carer peer forum. This group is a mixture of carer peer support and mostly engagements from health & social carer organisations, especially the local mental health trust South West London & St Georges. This carer’s group cover’s 5 boroughs as all 5 carer centres including the mental health trust work hard to promote it.

South West London & St George NHS

An extra bonus of this group is I do open it up to national speakers so the following speakers for September

Continue reading

BAME Carer Forum October 2021 – Black History Month special

Welcome to another brief update of my BAME mental health carers forum for October 2021. I have not been reporting off my carer forums that much due to finishing up my latest book about mental health carer experiences.

You can by my latest book on the link below.

You can also find an overview of chapter 1 from my YouTube channel below.

I am now working on my 3rd book which will be a large number of poems also on the carer experiences. It is not set for release until 2022, although I have been reading out my poems at carer groups for preparation.

The carers forum usually runs once a month and its focus is on ethnic diverse carers who are caring for someone with a mental health issue, although the forum started in Lewisham, it has expanded with the support of mental health services of Oxleas, so it has extended to Bromley, Greenwich and Bexley.

Speakers for September 2021

  • George Hosking OBE CEO of Wave Trust – Wave Trust on Young black wellbeing
  • Dr Tim Ojo – Psychiatrist on Black History Month Reflections
  • Doreen McKenzie – Black History month Poetry
  • Emilie Wildeman – Patient Research project at Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
  • Lara Sengupte – Breakfast Clubs again Racism.

This particular forum focused a lot on Black History month which ran for October 2021. One of the speakers from NHS England & Improvement could not make it, but they did attend my BAME carers group for Novemeber, which I will blog about soon.

George Hosking OBE presents on his project for youth mental health

George Hosking CEO of Wave Trust spoke about his charity, which helps to prevent children suffering child abuse, neglect, and those witnessing domestic violence in their homes. Over a number of years, the charity has become very aware of the impact on mental health, which has led to people suffering childhood trauma in some kind or other. George mentioned a huge number of mental health problems can be traced back to childhood experiences in that way. George stated the charity has experts on trauma. He himself is a clinical criminologists, psychologist, and traumatic stress counselor, his charity supports organizations and individuals to learn how to support people who have suffered trauma in their lives.

George included that one of the things they do is they help set up trauma informed communities around the UK. These are communities which really try and provide the best possible support to people who have suffered some form of trauma in their lives. This includes a lot of people with with mental health issues and these communities can be of two types. They can either be created top down by working with the NHS and local authorities and police to create a rather statutory based organization, or else it can be created from the grassroots working away from individuals in the community. They have been working now for about two years with the Black and ethnic Community where the charity is based, leading to creating a trauma informed community.

George was thinking about the possibility of doing some trauma informed community work in Lewisham, due to Lewisham Council recently inviting organizations to make an application to provide emotional health and well-being training to those working with young people in leadership.

What his charity is looking for is people who will help young people to spot the signs of poor mental health, and guide those young people towards mental health support especially in the black community. WAVE charity has got a background on this because of their knowledge of trauma and mental health, that they can provide that kind of guidance and support. They have got the facilities to train people to be more adept at doing this sort of thing. Unfortunately what they don’t have is the links in Lewisham to people who are working with young people, particularly people who are working with young people with an interest in mental health. George did realize that our forum’s focus is very much on carers rather than supporting young people. He did do a Google search to look for an organizations in Lewisham with interest in mental health and thus Matthew’s forums came up.

So George contacted Matthew who kindly invited him along today just in case, someone from within carers forum is aware of or are even interested in what that charity could potentially allow involvement in.

Lara Sengupte presents on Breakfast Clubs again Racism in Lewisham

It was Lara’s turn to speak about her project and how it came about. They are currently in the pilot scheme phase. So they have been running projects since July, and the piloting finishes in December. By then they are going to be analyzing the results of the clubs. They run two breakfast clubs, one in Catford, and one in Peckham (Southwark). The goal is basically to educate young people on racism, how it shows up in society, and how to combat it. This particularly on internal racism.

Lara knows for a lot of young people of color, which relates to mental health, that can carry around a lot of negative self talk and negativity, all the negativity that we see in the media, and through like school exclusions there is a lot of racism against young people of color. The big challenge is that young people and children don’t exactly know how to process it. So that’s one thing that our clubs want to tackle. So they are running educational Saturday breakfast clubs for young people throughout autumn term. This is not just for Black History Month since they have been running them since September, and will finish them in December. Our clubs have got about 10 weeks with the kids where the purpose of the breakfast clubs is to teach young people about racism, how to challenge it in a safe space surrounded by like minded peers.

So all the kids that are signing up to the Breakfast Club all care about racism, and all care about combating it. So they can share ideas in a safe space, that perhaps in a school it would be different. The clubs don’t just cover personal racism, they also look at deep institutional racism, and internal racism that is often carried around by young people of color. This can show up as negative self talk or self destructive behavior. So the clubs give the students an understanding of the societal problems that we have in this country. The clubs also work on self confidence and leadership skills to empower the young people and children to take action where they can.

The breakfast clubs next session was in October where the clubs work with young people from around like 10 to 14, but they are also quite flexible and ages.

You can find more about Laura’s project at this link Breakfastclubs against racism

Dr Tim Ojo reflections on black history month.

A while ago Dr Tim a psychiatrist wrote a piece for the Royal College of Psychiarists regarding the importance of Black History Month, which you can see below.

Dr Tim’s Black History month Blog

Dr Tim has been very busy promoting equality through the power of psychiatry and I felt it important to invite him to engage with BAME carers and even NHS staff.

Dr Tim felt it was a pleasure and a surprise for Matthew to connect. Dr Tim spoke about the piece he wrote for Black History Month in 2019. He is a psychiatrist by background of British born, But his heritage is in southwestern Nigeria and as part of the Royal college of Psychiarists celebration of Black History Month, which became something only a few years ago, he was invited to write a blog. Dr Tim is an associate Registrar for policy support the college. That means the things around the Royal College of Psychiatry led to reports and statements that they make, in addition to supporting people with mental illness, their families, and communities. This includes Improving the mental wellness of society in private colleges, professional body for all qualified psychologists.

Dr Tim felt what was the important facets for Black History Month is a special where we come to terms with the fact of needing to understand history from the perspective of recent events. This has happened after his blog has shown that reflection point where it’s absolutely necessary, where people of color and their white allies think about history from a different perspective, because for too long, it’s been written from the perspective of one vantage point, that vantage point unfortunately positions, people of color, black folk, particularly at a disadvantage in producing narratives that arent helpful, realistic, and are incomplete. So what he thought Black History Month now takes upon an additional layer of importance, because first of all, it is about a celebration, about the fact that across the world cultures, black people have come together even in the face of suffering, can celebrate on resilience and psychological robustness that is happening through the facets of our history, and throughout our communities. Dr Tim felt we can find people, individuals and communities doing great things where it reminds us that we have a history of a human or a connected global trajectories of history that we assume we have music culture, we have literature is important for all of us as human beings to function make no apologies for our issues about how do we use structural position to address questions of inequity and problems inclusivity in society. Dr Tim feels as carers we can speak to a very important aspect of the black community in terms of inadequacy of access narrative support.

Dr Tim also thinks having four electives is important to come together to illustrate actually, every month, although Black History Month appears once a year. it’s important for people to focus on sharing stories, not as a disadvantage, but through the use of positivity. Dr Tim mentioned where his blog gave a historical link between psychiatry in Nigeria, where the Western world in how we have trained psychiatrists who took it upon themselves to negate the negative picture over history in psychiatry, and came up with a very good book, which is called “black skin, white coats” by Matthew M. Heaton.

The book is a legend and looks at psychiatrist colonization, and the globalization of psychiatry, this led to an informed decision of him becoming a psychiatrist.

Dr Tim thinks it’s important also to recognize people like African Caribbean senior psychiatrists, who retired, but stood firm in the face of strong opposition to actually question what was happening, vision and mental services of color in this country. Dr Tim spoke more about Matthew M. Heaton on his work since the 60s and 70s, which was very important in shaping the new agenda around a shared understanding of how history is restricted, which is advantageous, specifically why he was talking about Black History Month being symbolic.

Doreen McKenzie poet and author on Black History Month poem.

I invited my aunt Doreen to read a poem for my carer group. She had two poems that she wanted to read to us. Doreen read the shorter one first. The poem was called “Proud to be black”

This woman is so darn proud to be back.
Despite the fact that she’s very aware that her color is constantly under attack.
Black is the color achievers with pride.
Nothing will ever entice her, her beautiful black skin to hide.

She was born black, and will die the same color.
And she knows many people whose thoughts are similar.
She hears people talk about the blonde bombshell.
But she repairs the curvaceous black hair.

Black skin really wrinkles with age.
Therefore, the age of a black person can hardly be gauged.
It is a mystery how many elderly people look so good,
despite the fact that they are plagued with a magnitude of challenging evidences.

And when it comes to her hair,
please don’t even bother to go there.
It is so unique and versatile.
That in just one day, it can be crafted into a variety of magnificent styles.

The Bible says that man is made from clay.
So claiming to be made in God’s own image is nothing outrageous to say.
Claim your blackness with gladness and pride.
Because the beauty of blackness, one must never tried to hide.

You can check out Doreen’s book “The Purpose of My Life: Now, Then, and in the Future”

Emilie Wildeman presents on her Research project

Last to present was Emilie on her research project. She usually attends my groups a couple of times over the past year. She was here today to push for recruitment and to raise a bit of awareness about her study that she is conducting as part of her PhD project. Emilie is a PhD student at King’s College London. Her research is all about informal family carers for people living with severe mental illness. Emilie gave us a bit of background to the study, in many health conditions, including mental health, we know that people living with these conditions will often live with or be supported by a close family member or friend, who mental health services refer to as informal or unpaid carers.

Emilie continued to mentioend that they also know that in some relationships, there can be difficult periods that might include sort of episodes of disagreement, and in some cases, can include active aggressive behavior from one person towards another. Her research is focused on carers of relatives living with severe mental health conditions and for her study, she is looking to speak with family carers who have experienced any type of aggressive behavior from the relative that they care for. So that could include sort of episodes of verbal disagreement and verbal conflict, conflict, verbal aggression, emotional and psychological. It could be physical, it could be some sort of destruction to a property. It’s very broad. She knows that this can be a very sensitive topic, and that there can be a lot of stigma around mental illness as well as aggressive behavior. So she really want to emphasize that this project is not about passing any judgment or making any assumptions about relationships. she is just interested in exploring carers lived experiences.

Emilie hopes that through doing this research, they can help to reduce that stigma. Participation is on carers completing an interview with herself. This is around giving carers the opportunity to voice their experiences and their opinions about what impact these experiences can have on themselves personally, on their relationship with the relative to their care and also for the family.

She is also really interested to learn about “What support families and carers have received in relation to dealing with experiences of aggression”. So that could be from personal support networks, but also professional services because she wants to identify what aspects have been helpful, but also maybe where support might be lacking.

This concludes my brief update of a special Black History Month special for October 2021.

Bromley, Greenwich & Lewisham BAME Carer Forum September 2021

Welcome to the brief september update of my BAME mental health carers forum. The forum focuses on updates, information and queries regarding mental health services and how they impact on ethnically diverse carers who are caring for someone suffering mental ill health.

The speakers for September were

Mushtaq kahin – Her projects reaching out to the community
Macius Kurowski – South London & Maudsley NHS Equality Manager on Equality updates
Dr Stephen Goggins – South London & Maudsley NHS on carer’s strategy

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Research on identity of those who support someone in with a mental illness

A new research study by Cassie Lovelock will be looking into the identity of those who support someone in their life with a mental illness. Cassie is PhD student at the London School of Economics; before that she was a carer for her sister who lived with schizoaffective disorder.

The aim of her study is to learn in what ways supporting a person impacts a carer and their identity. As well as what their day to day supporting that person looks like. This will be done via an hour(ish) long interview with her via zoom or teams (or telephone if that is easier for the carer). It will take part at a time convenient for unpaid carers.

To take part the carer must be over the age of 18 and able to give informed consent. Unpaid Carers will be paid £30 for the interview – or thy can request a voucher to the same value.

If any carer other there is willing to make part – or would like more information before deciding please email Cassie on c.lovelock@lse.ac.uk or you can text/whatsapp her on 07429428992.