Tag Archives: south london and maudsley

SLaM Family and carer listening event 2022

Hello Fellow carers. A quick blog from me on the latest South London & Maudsley (SL&M) NHS Foundation trust’s recent families and carers listening event. Usually mental health NHS organisations run special events to bring together those who care and support someone with mental illness, especially those using the trust services. I have been to a few NHS organisation carer events, but was delighted to see SLaM were to host one close to carer’s rights day.

It has been around 3 years since the Maudsley hosted a listening event for unpaid mental health carers. I remember the last carer event held over at Southwark community coin street where we had some excellent speakers and the staff were very welcoming.

All of the past family and carer listening event focused on carers getting a chance to be updated and also to be heard. The 2022 event I felt was very different and gave a chance for carers to update each other, especially those who were very involved shaping maudsley trust services.

The family and carer listening event 2022 was held over at the Ortus, which is SL&M’s own venue for hosting small or large conferences, meetings, training courses. I have not been over to the Ortus for some years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also explains why SLaM has not hosted the carer conference for some time.

The carer event was chaired by Gabrielle Richards MBE who is the trust Head of Inclusion, Recovery, Professional Head of Occupational Therapy and AHPs. So yes, Gabrielle does an awful lot. Her role is also inclusion of carers and patients at the trust. Going back to the event, I arrived on a wet rainy thursday morning, since the event started around 9:30 am. It was not easy getting to the Ortus due to the maze of construction developing of the exciting new build, but maudsley staff were very friendly and helpful in directing me to the site.

The Ortus was very warm and comforting, I was handed SLaM’s latest launch of their Planning for the future bookley, carer’s strategy and emergency planning booklet.

I noticed with all the booklets there was a heavy carer influence especially from those who attend the NHS trust’s carers committee.

As I arrived, I was greated by staff and carers from each of the boroughs SL&M covers, which are Croydon, Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth. We were served early refreshments as I caught up with those who I have not seen for a while. I noticed also carer governors doing their bit to engage and chat with other carers while also networking. Everyone was looking forward to the event.

The event was held in the large conference room downstairs with Gabrielle and Flora Ezenwoye, Chair of the Family and Carers committee welcoming the audience to the event. We then got a presentation from Alice Casey who is the Director of Programmes of the Maudsley Charity.

You can watch Brenda’s video below

Next was a listening exercise as the hosts asked carers what they would like to hear more about at the carer conference. Next we got to hear a carer’s story from Faith Smith who spoke about her involvement at the mental health foundation trust. A lot of new carers have not heard of involvement in shaping/influence services, especially services aimed at carers, so I noticed they paid a lot of attention.

One of my forum group members was unable to attend, but we got to see a video of Brenda who spoke about the importance of planning for the future. Brenda feels carers including herself must be supported to plan for the future as there is also a worry how a carer will cope when they are unable to care in later life. This helped explain the launch of one of the booklets.

We then got to hear from chair of the NHS trust Sir Norman Lamb who spoke about the NHS trust direction for carers, he also was proud what the trust has done with Triangle of care (inclusion policies aimed at supporting carers), but he admitted there are still many things to work on and nothing was perfect. I felt it very important those who help lead the trust make their presence known at events and also get a chance to listen to carers themselves.

This was when I got to do my presentation, which Sir Norman stayed to watch. All of my own projects tend to focus on networking and sharing ideas. So I presented on the importance of carer networking, events bringing people together and also holding to account. I spent most of the time asking carers to share ideas of what they felt was a good example of carer networking.

I also finished off with a carer networking poem from my latest poetry book “The Poetry book of mental health caring”, which you can purchase off Amazon. The poem taken from the book was called “The carer network”

Next we got to hear updates and service information from Chris McCree who is the Parental Mental Health Lead of the Helping Families Team and Perinatal Community Services. We also heard from Nick Hunter who is the Peer Trainer of the Fathers group. After the talk, we then had launch and got a chance to catch up with other carers we have not seen for a while, an exciting development was carers from the Croydon area started a new connection group, which I am now hosting, Usually I connect in Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth and every so often I will go over to Greenwich or connect with my SW london group or West London carer groups, but I have not paid much attention to Croydon much.

I have now agreed to form more of a connection carers from that borough, especially since my SW London group gets some engagement from the SW London Integrated Care System and they cover 6 boroughs including Croydon. There is also exciting news regarding those boroughs, but I am keeping my mouth shut for now. In the end, it does not mean I am running a Croydon group, but it does mean we connect more online and it helps that carer governors are present in the group.

I also caught up with friends and carers from Southwark as I spoke to Toni King and Lorraine James who are from the Southwark Council mental health team. I mentioned to them I run a carer’s stall at several accute hospitals and would be glad to promote their service to carers at Kings College Hospital. I also chatted to carers who attend the Lambeth MH carers peer group and spoke to carers regarding the Patient Carer Race Equality Framework. So you can get an idea of what I mean about carer networking.

After a lovely lunch, we got to do another listening exercise to give feedback. Plus we got to hear from Margaret Whipp who talked about her experience as a carer and the importance of connecting on social media.

I often mention to carers that it is so important to get online and make your presence known. Online campaigning, connecting and networking works wonders for those who are isolated and caring for someone vulnerable. Due to the technological innovations pushed from the pandemic, the time to get online has never been more important. There was more exciting presentations and exercises being chair Yoga, Implementation studies helping to reduce racial Disparities, Triangle of Care Updates and also more carer stories.

There were also excellent presentations from Annette Davis who is the chair of PCREF service user and carer group at SLaM, plus she is also involved in the triple leadership for Southwark and also the facilitator of Southwark BAME peer group. Annette presented on LAMB training, which focuses on looking after yourself and carer wellbeing, plus another carer Carole Haynes did a talk on her experiences.

Overall I felt the latest family and carer conference was the best carer event yet from SLaM. I have been attending them for years. I think this one was the 5th or 6th carer listening event from SLaM that I have attended, so I think I know the terrain a bit. The reason this recent event turned out well was the format. The event was very well planned, although some things made the event run a bit late, I noticed the host state we should not worry or panic over such things, which I felt injected a form of mental wellness into the audience. These are things I look for as mental health professionals should practice what they preach. The event was very inclusive so we did not hear endless updates, but the audience got a chance to talk and be listened to.

Luckily there was no shouting and screaming about poor services as I got the feeling there was a form of empowerment and learning, there was of course talks about carer activism, but that is part of the empowerment principal. I also enjoyed the free food and nothing upset my stomach. Staff were very supportive and glad to see me and special thanks to Cath Collins who thanked me for my presentation. It was a shame I could not stay as I had to prepare for the Health Service Journal awards for 2022 (more on that later).

Still there was a lot of talk in my whatsapp groups about the event, specially from my Lewisham group and also the new Croydon group, even now as I blog there are good things being said about the event. I hope SLaM continue the work they should be proud of with the carer conferences. I will finish off with a poem I got a chance to read out at the event.

All my time I have been on my own
Then I heard it through another carer
It seems if I can get that carer’s network
Then understanding my role would be clearer

It is hard to know that your lost in the system
The more you speak the less they listen
I sick and tired of battling alone
As a carer I dont want to stay hidden

Then I was introduced to the carers network
They all said the same and wanted to connect
I feel an inner light that shrines through
And now I feel I am getting that respect

Still its hard to feel part of that movement
Things change so fast it is hard to keep up
If we are not kept ahead of all the changes
Then it is easy to see the carers network breakup

We look around to see other representation
For paid carers, professionals and service users
But what about our own carers network
Don’t unpaid carers also have futures?

Still for the time I have I am not on my own
I tell another carer what I have found
They also join the carers network
Where understanding their role is so profound

Southwark MH Carers forum February 2020

Southwark MH Carer forum v2Welcome to a quick update from the Southwark Mental Health carers forum. I know I have not been blogging for around a month, but I have recently suffered a bereavement. It has taken a fair bit of energy to do much, but I am quite proud to be able to continue to run the forums even though I have to take time and look after myself.

Given the time I will eventually write more about the current situation, but for now I want to at least update carer members. On the February update of the MH carers forum for Southwark, we are able to get support and engaged with King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust and South London & Maudsley. For February King’s college hospital Mental Health Lead kindly attended the forum to speak to carers about Kings Mental Health strategy, which is still going through development.

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Lewisham Mental Health & Wellbeing Event 2017

smallerWelcome to another blog post from Matthew Mckenzie a mental health carer in South London.  Hope you are enjoying my site so far, so feel free to check out some of my other creations, that being my YouTube channel, twitter channel, mental health newspaper and audio.

On the 14th of February i attended the Lewisham Mental Health & Wellbeing day 2017 “What Keeps Me Well?”.  Which is a very important topic regarding mental health and wellbeing. The event lasted from 10:00 to 4:30 pm and was held over at Lewisham Town Hall.

The Mental Health & Wellbeing day was held in conjunction with
Lewisham CCG
Lewisham Council
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
Various community groups and charities (sorry if I have missed any out anyone)

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Review of the Lewisham Mental Health and Wellbeing Day

Matthew MckenzieHello again and welcome to another blog post on a carer’s perspective on mental health and wellbeing. Talking about those two last points, there was a mental health and wellbeing day on the 20th of November over at the Catford Civic Suite in Lewisham.




The Lewisham Mental Health and Wellbeing Day is presented by the NHS Lewisham CCG, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Lewisham Council.


I just had to attend the mental health and wellbeing event, this is because I am a carer of a close relative suffering mental ill health. Last year I was lucky enough to chair the 2013 event and perhaps I ll place the video of that event later on in this blog post, but what was in store for us this year?

Well this year the MH and Wellbeing stakehold event wanted to concentrate on the service user/survivor aspect. So we had Carmine De Rosa chair the event. Next was a Mental Health commissioning update for 2014 and this was presented by Pamela Martin, GP Mental Health Lead for Lewisham CCG.

After Pamela’s talk came the presentation from Sarah Yiannoullou who is the Managing Director from NSUN (National Service User Network). Her talk was on inclusion, involvement and influence of those using the services and the NSUN 4PI standards.


Then last to speak was John Ryan talking about an alternative view of the Mental Health system, John is a comedian and his talk certainly lightened up the mood since we all know Mental Health can be a difficult subject to discuss.

Still, the event was not just about talks, throughout the day from 10.00 am till 4:00 pm the event numerous workshops, stalls, wellbeing activities, refreshments and a chance to network and most importantly gain information to aid in recovery or getting support in caring. I also noticed some members of the public attended to try find out what mental health is all about.


Unfortunately I cannot go into so much detail about the event this time, but why is this? Well for one I was recovering from a horrible cold, so I could not gain access to the talks or workshops because I kept coughing and sneezing. Secondly I do not want to repeat what is found in booklets about the event, I perfer this blog post to be about how I experienced the event and what I got up to most of the day.

Well on that sunny morning as I entered the Civic Suite, I was greeted by friendly staff who signed me in and handed out the agenda and activity information for the day. I then explored around the building and watched the impressive presentation slide of the wellbeing event.

Unfortunately my cold was getting the better of me so I had to sit down and gobble up some oranges kindly left for visitors to take. I was then greeted by Gráinne from Lewisham CCG and a few others who were glad I attended the event.

Eventually the public were called into the main chamber to hear the talks and I also went in for around about…..5 minutes before I started coughing and wheezing again. I just managed to get some of the talk where they presented on improving recovery and challenging mental health labels in order to reduce stigma.


Soon I had to head back out to the waiting area and check to see if I could go back in the conference chamber, but it was no good so instead I took a trip to Civic Suite’s Lower floor. There were a vast array of stalls and I could not visit them all, but I ll explain what stalls took most of my attention.

The first stall that took my attention was SLaM Stall or the South London and Maudsley Stall. I could see many booklets and information about the mental health trust and also more information on how to become a member of the trust. I also picked up a flicked through SLaM’s latest newsletter about the Happy Heads event, which is an event aimed at teenagers to promote mental health and wellbeing. I think I did a blog post about that event.

After a while I tried again to enter the conference chamber and just caught a bit of the talk by NSUN on the 4PI standards, but what is NSUN all about? NSUN stands for National Survivor User Network and is a network for mental health in England. NSUN gives and promotes a powerful voice for those using the services and their carers, but they also do a lot more.

The talk was about how their work has led to the development of the 4PI framework for involvement: a simple, yet robust framework around which to base standards for good practice, and to measure, monitor and evaluate involvement.

– Principles
– Purpose
– Presence
– Process
– Impact


Involvement of those using the mental health services is critical not only in aiding in recovery, but reducing the isolation felt by those using the services. At the core of mental health services should be the service user perspective. Such implementations are of course not an easy thing to archieve, but must always be one of the aims of any mental health service provider.

Again my cold played up on me and I found myself beating a hasty retreat back to the lower floor again to view some more stalls. The next stall was impressive and this was the lewisham healthwatch stall. Healthwatch is an independent consumer champion that gathers and represents the public’s views on health and social care services locally or nationally. The most interesting document I picked up from this stall is their report on one of SLaM’s units, which I flicked through. What came to mind when I went through the report was transparency and cooperation with other independent organisations.

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The next stall I visited was the Samaritans stall, I have spoken to the Samaritans several times on many events. Basically the Samaritan’s are a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress. I spent quite a long time on this stall swapping ideas and networks, because one of their staff is a member of the Lewisham mental health connection, which I am also a member.


The next stall was on IAPTs (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
), which offers a range of psychological therapies to adults 18 years and over. I glanced over a few of their leaflets to take home and read, plus I have been on many IAPTs courses in the past.


Eventually I wandered over to chat to a the SLaM’s carers support officer who I have known for many years, she was busy minding the SLaM’s Family & Carers information stall and I could see the purple family and carer booklet which I was lucky enough to contribute to. The Mental Health Trust aims to support carers as much as they can and this stall shows they are working hard to help carers of those using the services.


After visiting the SLaM Family & Carers support stall, I moved on to the Carer’s Lewisham Stall and spoke to Jey and her new volunteer who specilises in dementia support. I picked up one of their leaflets, which was very colourful and flicked through it. As a carer, I have been using Lewisham Carers a long time.

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Then next stall was on “Community Connections”. Community Connections is a development and access-facilitation project with a preventative health and wellbeing focus. I picked up one of their leaflets which was on a wellbeing story, just on the focus for the day. Soon I moved on to another impressive stall which is the SmokeFree campiagn for lewisham.


I eventually I ended up at the MyHealthLocker stall. This stall is about self empowerment using technology to monitor your own health and allow doctors and even carers to aid in your care. myhealthlocker allows you to have control over your health information. Service users can access their care plan from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, keep track of how they are feeling, access resources and tips on staying well and manage their health and wellbeing. I was given a free T-shirt for attending the stall.

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The next stall I spent talking to the staff for a while in order to catch up with them. This stall is about the Lewisham Mental Health Connection are group of people working in the voluntary sector who are committed to improving mental health in Lewisham.


After a few more visits to some stalls, I ended up back in the upper floor to have some nice carribean lunch and continued to network with many others.


Unfortunately I missed out on the workshops and more talks, but I guess its impossible to be everywhere and considering I had a cold, I really enjoyed the day. I can’t wait for next years event.