Tag Archives: southwark carers

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.

The forum also looks to educate carers on mental health services, by bringing in guest speakers. Raised discussions on what is happening to carers in the borough of Southwark, empower carers by forming links and networks. In fact in the September forum we agreed to form a network with a new advisory group.

We were lucky to have Alice Glover the public and patient involvement lead for a local mental health trust. She covers Lambeth and Southwark and also runs the new Advisory groups in those boroughs.

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The local Trust is South London and Maudsley, which has been very good engaging with the mental health carer forums. And thus spoke about the importance of involving carers in regards to the Mental Health Trust services, especially when it comes to how the services are affecting carers and how the services are run.

We heard from Alice the good news in which one our members is also on the new Southwark Advisory group, which started the day before. We are hoping for feedback in regards to what do new advisory group focuses on. This new advisory group Focuses heavily on the services run by South London and Maudsley, but the members of this group advises how services are affecting those in the borough of Southwark.

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The advice group consists of both service users and carers, with mental health professionals working within the NHS trust. The carer forum has a lot of work to do and we are looking forward to hearing updates on the following.

1. More engagement regarding the mental health trusts carers strategy.
2. Engagement from Southwark CCG
3. Engagement from the local MPs.
4. Involvement and engagement from the trust modern matrons, specifically on carer peer support projects.
5. Updates from King’s College Hospital, guys and St Thomas’s in regards to physical and mental health improvement.

You also look too promote the forum and get more members attending, this will be a big job, but it is a skill worth having as I am aware many carers still do not know enough about the Mental of services let alone knowing if they are even a carer.

At the end of the forum, I presented the Final report on the recent SLaM’s carers Listening event held over at the Coin Street Community Centre. I presented on the following, which took place at the event.

1. The carers stories shared at the event.
2. Presentation from Brimingham & Souilhil on their Planning for the future and emergency planning for carers.
3. The workshops on confidentiality, care act and how staff should engage with carers.
4. The panel at the end of the event.

We are very grateful to have Alice Glover it in and here are views at the Southwark mental health carers forum.

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Southwark MH Carers Forum June 2018

Dg3QQzpUYAAo2uyWelcome to June 2018 update from the Southwark mental health carers forum. As a reminder the mint of carers forums give unpaid carers in care for someone suffering mental health needs a chance to get updates and query mental health services and also services aimed at unpaid carers. One of the things that is important to note is that the forms allow empowerment to unpaid carers.

For this particular form over at Southwark carers, we were lucky to have the Labour MP helen Hayes attend the forum to present a new report published jointly by the Health & Social Care and the Housing, Communities & Local Government Select Committees on the long term funding of adult social care.

At the forum we all admitted that the social care system is broken. There are quite a few reasons why social care is struggling to support those in desperate need. One of the things that has been causing a lot of problems is the austerity effect. We felt that the current government seems to be dragging its heels on supporting and protecting the rights of unpaid carers.

If that wasn’t hard enough we have a double blow in regards to the ‘cared for’ where hospitals are struggling with funding, delayed hospital discharges, difficulty with mental health patients getting support and the rotating door system. All of this applies added pressure on families and unpaid carers who are trying their best to care for their loved ones.

Comforting friend. Woman consoling her sad friend.

The select committee which Helen Hayes is a member of is a cross party initiative that includes a Citizens jury. The committee looked at funding and who should fund social care. The committee also queried what social care should look like.

Too often the poorest in Society are asked to pay for social care that cannot often reach them. Above all they should be transparency not just in social care but within the NHS. It is so important that families and carers are given the support in order to care for their loved ones rather than being pushed out by care workers.

The forum also discussed the integrated social care system where are the city of Manchester has set an example for others to follow.

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The MP felt glad that such a forum is up and running since she felt the current government has failed to give unpaid carers a voice and she will do all she can in order to support the mental health carers forum. We also discussed carers assessments and who should attend the forum.  Unfortunately Southwark Council representatives were due to attend the forum, but were unaware the time had changed.

In future we can send out posters where the MPs can help publicise and support the forum.

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This concludes the update for June 2018 Southwark mental health carers forum.

Southwark MH Carers forum February 2018

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Here is the update for the Southwark Mental Health Carers forum. This is newest forum that I chair, which with the help of Southwark Carers aims to bring together carers in the London Borough of Southwark.

The point of the forum is to allow carers a stronger voice regarding how they are supported in that borough. Carers might not even know what South London & Maudsely does and how it can help support carers. Some carers cannot possibly come involved with the trust, but may wish to attend a certain theme about the forum.

For the february forum we had the “public and patient involvement lead” attending to help plan who should engage with the Southwark MH carers forum in future. A lot of the carers were just arriving from the new carer course, which had been running at the Recovery college. The course was set up in partnership with Southwark Carers.

At this forum, I presented on the themes which carers may want a SLaM staff member to present on. It is important that the forum should ask questions on specific topics and not just have a guest speaker talking about how to contact PALs. Members of the carers forum, should be interesting in the number of complients, compliments and how carers concerns are raised.

The forum members were interested in engagement from

– What research the IOPPN is doing, especially on involvement
– The Mind & Body project which is a partnership between SLaM and Kings College London.
– Representatives from Southwark CCG
– Reps from the council
– Updates & issues regarding carers assessments

We hope to present some updates to the SLaM family & Carers committee. At the forum we also heard updates on how the “Carer Course” had run, plus feedback from the new Mental Health ACT changes. Yet again, we thank the involvement lead for supporting the forums.

 

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.

Southwark Mental Health Carers Forum August 2017

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This is a update from the new Southwark Mental Health Carers forum for July. The Southwark Mental Health Carers forum took place on August the 31st over at Southwark Carers. Yes, the forum has moved from the Maudsely hospital to down the road where Southwark Carers is based.

This is the Second mental health carers forum to take place for Southwark and we had some interest carers attend this forum who also attended the carers support group. Since the forum was fairly new, I presented on updates which occurred the previous month, that being July.

 

To see the video of the forum report, click below

We are looking to run the forum every last Friday of the month. I presented what the forum is about, regarding that

  • It can be difficult for Carers in Southwark have an idea on Mental Health services and influencing them.
  • There has not been a Mental Health forum for some years, although there are Mental Health carer support groups.
  • Mental Health carers need some empowerment in their role.
  • Services have suffered from cuts, carers need to act in order to support everyone.

Mental Health Foundation are working to develop a series of pilot programmes on with The aim is to improve mental health wellbeing for all.

Mental Health and Wellbeing – Strategy patient engagement event where Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southwark Council wish to improve mental health and wellbeing across the borough

Plus talking about the upcoming CarersUK AGM and the South London & Maudsley AGM.

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Next we had a presentation from Ana who is the co-chair of the forum about her involvement at South London & Maudsley. We also discussed the importance of attending carers support groups

Lastly, Carer support worker Lillian spoke about the definition of a carer.

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The next Southwark MH Carers forum will be on 29th of September.

Connecting with other Carers

Matthew Mckenzie

Hello again everyone and thank you for stopping by to check out my blog on caring and mental health.  As a reminder this blog is mostly about carers who care for those suffering mental health problems. There are still many parts of the site that is under development and when I am not often blogging, I am bound to be out and about trying to raise awareness or engaging with those interested in the carers world or mental health.

My background is that I am a carer for my mother and have been a carer for around 13 years or more. Sometimes my mother is well enough to look after herself, but unfortunately there are times when I have to step in, especially when I am not requested to do so, its practically like a leap of faith how things will turn out.

When things go wrong within my caring role, that’s when I figure on working out who to turn to or where I can get any support. As a carer you cannot just go anywhere to look for support. You would have to find someone or something specific.

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Usually a carers centre is a good idea to get any support, usually most London boroughs have a carers centre. I am over in Lewisham, so my carers centre would be Carers Lewisham, for others in South London it could be Southwark Carers , or Carers’ Hub Lambeth  or even Mind in Croydon.

Why go to a Carers Centre?

There are several reasons, but the first would be getting advice and information, which I would rank very high for carers like myself. The next being emotional support and a chance to meet other carers, although carer centres offer a lot more than I have mentioned. You can always look one up and check out what they provide.

There are many other carers centre’s and they all offer carers just the thing they need in order to cope as a carer, get information and just a place to hang out.

I have popped over to Southwark Carers, Mind in Croydon and plan to check out the Lambeth Carers hub forum next week, which is on Thursday the 10th of July.

So ok, one of the things I like to do at a carers centre is speaking to other carers, but why? Well again there are several reasons and to make a long story far shorter, I ll list them out below.

– Learning from other carers
– Speaking to carers who come from similar environments
– Feeling I belong somewhere
– Answering their questions
– Having someone to listen to me
– Being another carer who listens to carers stories
– Having some confidential space

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Let me just elaborate on a few of these reasons, just to give some people an idea of why such activities are so important for me as a mental health carer.

– Learning from other carers

When I first found out I was taking the first steps of my 1000 step journey as a carer, I just did not have much of a clue of what I was doing. Yes, I was given advice, but at that time I could not digest such information, I was suffering and I felt so distant from people.

Eventually I decided to go down to my local carers centre after phoning them up. The carers centre staff was so understanding and I just needed someone to talk to.

After a while I felt more at ease in talking at the carers centre, but it soon dawned upon me that other carers had been through the same journey, they were listening to my story and offering some comfort and advice. To be honest, these carers were almost putting up signposts on my Journey along road, which I could follow.

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I never did set out to learn from other carers, but this is something that sunk in each time I spent the time with those who have shared my journey.

– Speaking to carers who come from similar environments

Speaking to carers is fine, but remember there are many different types of carers out there and one day I hope to do a blog post about such carer roles, but lets say you are a carer caring for someone who has dementia, or you are a young carer, or a mental health carer? What then?

You may want to learn even more by speaking to carers who are caring in your field. Usually carer centre’s have drop in groups for carers of different fields. I always advise you check them out when you can, as a carer you can learn even more from such specialist groups. You just get that extra relation factor, if you know what I mean.

Feeling I belong somewhere

There are times when a carers journey is lonely, be it at home, the workplace, heck! even in society. Carers can be ISOLATED. I am not lying, caring is something almost done for free, because we carers cannot bear to see our loved ones suffer, but so many expect us to do this for nothing and yet it benefits society. We all want caring communities right?

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Ok! ok! enough of the rant, again I sometimes drop off to carers groups or carers centre’s. This is because I may feel that I cannot get out and speak to someone about my problems. Even once a month is good, never feel you have to cope on your own as a carer. It is so easy for carers to suffer from stigma, that being carers feeling embarrassed by caring for someone suffering from devastating illnesses.

– Answering their questions

After spending some time on my journey as a carer, I began to get just a bit more confident about my role. I knew the road was straightening out. I could see the signs and signals, I could read the directions. Then on my path I met other carers, they shared their story with me and I listened to them. I felt I could almost relate to them and understand fellow carers.

It was not long before carers kept asking me “What do I do?”. At first I was silent, because I did not want to give bad advice, but eventually I told them what I would do if I was in their position. Of course its always better for a carer to seek professional advice, but then sometimes a carer will ask another carer for information, perhaps its human nature.

We all want reassurance, we all seek others on the same path as we are and who could give us advice, hints or tips.

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I hope I am answering some questions with this blog, I just hope this blog is a map for other carers who find themselves on a similar journey. All I ask for such carers is whatever you have learnt, feel free to share with other new carers, but do not judge them. We are all on a unique path for our Journey.

– Having someone to listen to me

As a carer for so many years, there are times when I just want to let it all out. The frustration, the anger and fear.  The Regret, worry and concerns. Its bad, so bad to keep it all inside. I just want someone to listen to me. I am sure if you are a carer reading this, do you not feel the same at times?

There are times when people speak to me and I cannot get a word in, other people know it all and perhaps they do know it all, but what about the problems that can never be solved? What if your world is falling apart? Time is drifting away from our loved ones and us carers have got to let our emotions out somehow.

The good news is at carers centre’s they usually have counselling sessions, please take advantage of them.

I used to have counselling for myself and some of it worked, it might not be for everyone though, but to have someone listen to you without judging can do you a world of good.

– Being another carer who listens to carers stories

I talk and write nearly all the time, sometimes I feel as if its therapy where I let my own emotions mark the page and also share the wisdom from my mind.

However there are other ways to heal and one of the best ways is just being there. As the saying goes “If you cant with the one you love, then love the one your with”, was that not a verse from a song?

I guess you know what I am getting at, there are times when you are healing another carer just by acknowledging them, by listening to their story. I have been on carer groups run by a mental health trust being “South London & Maudsley“, at times their carer groups offer an excellent session of healing. We listen to other carers and acknowledge them, as we learn from other carers, we learn about ourselves.

– Having some confidential space

There are times where you want to get away from caring. You ARE you!!

Its not like you were born as a carer, even though you may have taken on such a role.

We all need some space and to care almost 24 hours without having such a space is asking for disaster. The time to get such space can be again at a carers center like the ones I have mentioned before around South London, or perhaps one in your own borough.

I have even heard of carers even forming their own groups (peer support) and sometimes a carer may just want to go out by themselves to reflect and think things through.

Having confidential space should be a refuge of healing, a sanctuary that us carers can call our own. In order to help our loved ones, we should also do ourselves a favour and rest and heal ourselves with our own confidential space.

I am not saying this will be easy, sometimes it depends on how bad things are for your loved one, maybe you cannot bear to leave them alone for some time, but its vital for you to at least think about your own confidential space.

* Carers Groups

I have mentioned carer groups a number of times and there are so many activities that can happen at such carers groups. Carers groups can offer the following ways to connect to other carers.

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– A place to relate to other carers.
– Information on services and updates.
– Learning from other carers.
– Sometimes you can have speakers come along and do a talk about a subject.
– A place to eat and relax.
– Update other carers on what you are doing.
– Raise concerns when its an acceptable time to do so.

There is so much more such carers groups can offer, I am sure some have skipped my mind, but if you as a carer do not belong to such a group, again check out your carers centre or maybe your mental health trust provides one in your area.

* Reading Carers stories

Have you checked out Carers Trust? Or Carers UK? They have blogs and stories from many carers. You do not have to be physically present to connect to other carers. Sometimes I have read blogs from Mind or Rethink Mental Illness. You can learn so much from carers stories or those similar from your loved ones illness.

* Connecting with other Carers at Events

There are many events that I have been to and although most of these are mental health events, you will get the odd carer event every now and then. Luckily South London & Maudsley have a carer event coming up for mental health carers in South London. This being the carers “Listening event”, which takes place on the 18th of September 2014 over at Prospero House. However why go to such events? The simple reason is it offers another opportunity to connect to other carers.

Some events can last all day, while some last perhaps around an hour or two. These events are usually tailored to the type of carer who attends them. If such events are successful, then its possible to form a network of carers supporting each other and engaging with the health services. Carer events are the place to be seen for carers and you can learn so much being at such events. Do not be put off by being surrounded by health professionals since they are their to learn from you as well, which is probably why the event taking place in September is called the “carers listening event”.

If your in the North, East or West of London, UK or in a different part of the world, try and attend a carers event to get yourself educated and connected.

* Connecting to Carers Online

I guess we have arrived at my favorite part of connecting to carers. We all come from different backgrounds and my background is Information Technology, notice the word “Information”? I like sharing my skills, knowledge and tips as information via technology. Its free or fairly cheap, its quick to access and you can have a global reach. Reading my blog? well that is because your online. Notice my twitter channel? well that’s because you are connected.

Connecting to other carers online need not be difficult, a quick Google search can bring up a wealth of opportunities, but be aware not everything is true online and its always good to seek professional advice, however the power of being online is the range of CHOICE that it brings.

* Celebrating with Carers

Sometimes we do it to ourselves, we sit back and fall into caring. Us carers just place ourselves last, its in our characteristics, have you met someone who calls himself a carer place themselves first before anyone else? Well ok, perhaps you have, but I am sure more carers just sit in the shadows doing what we do best without making a complaint, or making a statement or even engaging.

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Us carers need to connect to other carers, we need to celebrate who we are and make a stand not only for ourselves, but for other carers. My comrade in arms Bridget Jones and myself have just been nominated for carer of the year 2014 from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

We may or may not go far, but for sure I am honoured and proud to have such recognition and I am not going to the ceremony looking to win, but going there to celebrate. This celebration is in order to connect with carers and mental health professionals.

Us carers need to stand out from the shadows to form a network and be counted, we sometimes just fail ourselves and plod along caring hoping someone will notice our efforts, but its not always like that. Its time to connect and the time is now.