Tag Archives: mental health

STELEO Art Exhibition

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Welcome, on this blog I talk about the art event that took place over at The Coffee Lovers Cafe’. The art exhibition was a joint work of the patients / service users of the STEP and LEO mental health team.

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

A bit about The Coffee Lovers Cafe. The Coffee Lovers Cafe is a lovely Moroccan themed cafe situated in Lambeth, the staff are friendly and the prices are very reasonable. If you ever get the chance, it is worth dropping by for the lovely atmosphere.

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The art exhibition title ‘STELEO’ was hosted by Arts therapist Paula Moclair who provides art therapy at South London & Maudsley. As I arrived at the Cafe, Paula greeted me and showed me some of the works on display. I was glad to be in from the cold and the warmth of the cafe certainly made a difference. Plus there was lots of refreshments on offer.

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It was not long before some of the artists turned up to speak and present some of their work. First to chat about her work was Marian Saidik who produced the work “Hub of Roses”.

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Mariam mentioned that the work produced made her happy and felt the work’s aim was to be a gift to others. She started art at a very young age, but has interests in the environment, language and fitness. Mariam explained to me about the use of colours and the importance of expressing the art work.

Paula then spoke to me about her art, each of her art work had a theme and focus. The first work shown was titled “Lurly-Lurley”, which seems to express the use of words and the relation with her sister.

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Paula then spoke about three other pieces of work shown here. One showing the toliet and her cat focused on the patron saint of miracles. The other picture shown in blue was to do with Yoga and the last being about the experiences with her sister at a young age.

Soon I spoke to another artist who talked about the flower they made and how they liked flowers, plus the flower represents life

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The next service user spoke about the work she produced, which I noticed a visitor spoke kindly about. The visitor felt that the patterns from the work produced called out to him. When I asked the artist to explain more about her work, she mentioned how she enjoyed creating patterns.

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More artists arrived and spoke about how Paula helped them produce the work and how they appreciated the help. They felt that art was a positive force in their life and a good hobby. They was not too worried about their art work selling since they could always take it home later.

The artist also showed more of his work off his mobile phone.

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Near the end of the art exhibition we got to hear from the art therapist who explained the latest developments from the past year and how it was good to see people’s work framed. One of the artists also spoke about how good it was to see his art on show and how it overwhelmed him.

I also made a speech stating that I was proud to see the end results of all the hard work patients and staff from the LEO and STEP team had put in and I was happy to see the end results of the funding by the Mausley ‘Lets Smile’ charity.

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All in all, the event inviting, inspiring and it felt great to talk to friendly people. I hope more work can be produced for the next exhibition.

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Why you care

Mother comforts her teen daughterIf you are a non paid carer of someone suffering from mental illness, there will be times that you question yourself on why you care. Especially during the toughest part of a crisis. It might be that you constantly fear loosing that person through an eating disorder, addiction or psychotic episode. It may be that you are having difficultly getting your point across to mental health professionals especially when the NHS is in its time of crisis.

You may question not only the reason why you care, but question your own well being.

Being a non-paid carer is vital not only for the person being cared for, but for the community. Each community thrives on people want to help each other out, after all isn’t that how communities work? We share all things in common, we all want to get along and wish the best for each other. It is unfortunate that life is not always fair, there will be that special someone struck down with mental illness that non-paid carers would have to fight for.

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Carers would like some assistance especially if they are struggling to make ends meet, it need not always be financial assistance, but recognition and hearing the carer can go a long way to improving engagement with the family.

I have been through the situation many times on if I was making the right decision, especially if I am having to try block my loved one’s decision or advocate for them, which might not always be in their interest. However I know in the long run, it would make big difference. I know in the long run it showed I really cared and that everything would turn out alright. My efforts as of this time did pay off.

Still there are many carers of those suffering from mental illness who still doubt themselves. Non-paid carers can be up against a mountain of red tape, lack of information, misunderstandings, lack of support, failing relationships and mental/physical turmoil themselves. It is true the mentally unwell person is getting the worst of it, but the carer struggle should not be ignored or discounted.

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There are carers out there who can speak their mind and getting things sorted out quickly, but the majority of carers silently cope and continue on until they reach that breaking point. If you as a non-paid carer question why you are caring for someone close who is unwell, just think this to yourself, you do this because “YOU CARE”

Recovery from Mental Illness – collaboration

 

20140621_215858Welcome back to another blog post, this blog is on a well known subject within mental health fields and sometimes controversial. I decided to do a collaboration video with Malika Salih from “A Oreo Family”. We talked about mental health recovery, but this time Malika chose to focus on how mental health recovery affected her life.

 

If you wish to watch the video please click on the video below to play it.

As you can tell from the video Malika talked on how mental illness distrupted her life, but also gave her some insight into putting things into pespective. Malika rightly stated that mental health recovery is not the same for everyone, it all depends on the mental illness, the support one is getting and fighting stigma. Still it is so important to raise the awareness that mental health recovery can be possible under the right circumstances. It is a terrible situation to be aware that others fall deeper into mental illness when there are several chances of recovery.

As mentioned in my section of the video, I spoke about what impressed me about what Malika mentioned. It can be incredible difficult to speak openly about mental illness, there is still much stigma to face and the person can face ridicule. Without the support of friends, family or health professionals then the road to recovery will be a difficult one.

When mental illness impacts someone’s life, it can throw the persons life into turmoil, chaos and desperation could be the outcome, but there is always a small chance of reflection. We can begin to see how life can be incredibly fragile and as we begin to reflect on our own illness we slowly become aware of others, we become aware of the daily battle people face if they are struck with mental illness. This is just one of the reasons why Malika and myself continue to raise mental health awareness.

When you have time, please check out her videos off her media channel from the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA3enUqCcuqPt0UQcr-yL9Q/videos

Hope you enjoyed my blog, see you soon.

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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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.