Coping under COVID-19 Update – May 2020

If you need help and support during this time there are some useful articles, events and links on the Mental Health Camden website https://mentalhealthcamden.co.uk/news/20/04/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing

Wellbeing Group

There is a Wednesday online Wellbeing Group to just check in with each other and for social purposes. This is not a therapeutic group. It will be 3-4pm on Wednesdays for the foreseeable future. Please contact Katja for more details. Katja@advocacyproject.org.uk

Camden Borough User Group Meetings

CBUG continues to meet on a virtual platform during this period, and the Patient’s Council also! We have experimented with Zoom and with Jitsi Meet and find that some work better for some folk and not for others. We will try to support everyone to connect with us as best we can, and this is a developing topic. If you want to take part in the meetings (new members welcome), please email Katja@advocacyproject.org.uk. CBUG meetings are open to all Camden residents with mental health issues.

If you are a patient on one of the wards and there is anything that you want to raise with the Patient’s Council please email Katja (address as above). We want to know how things are for you at this time and if there is anything that we can do to help.

Stay safe!

Camden Service User Involvement Support transferred to The Advocacy Project

On 1st February 2019 VoiceAbility handed over the reins of the CBUG Mental Health Service User involvement contract to The Advocacy Project. To find out more about them go to The Advocacy Project website,

To contact CBUG directly email CBUGcommittee@gmail.com

The peer mentoring in Camden service is unaffected – Voiceability continues to provide peer mentoring in Camden. www.voiceability.org/services/london-borough-of-camden

Fascinating insight into the work of Peer Debrief volunteers

Written by Martin Delgado, Peer Debrief Volunteer:

Peer debrief

“C&I has taken a bold and innovative approach to improving standards of care for service users by recruiting volunteers to interview patients who have been physically restrained.

The Trust is one of the first in the country to launch the Peer Debrief initiative after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new guidelines recommending that individuals who are external from the Trust be brought in to talk to patients after restraint incidents on a ward.  Some volunteers and Trust staff involved in the initiative are pictured above.

The scheme, which is being rolled out across wards at St Pancras and Highgate Mental Health Centre, has so far proved successful and was singled out for praise in the latest Care Quality Commission report, published in March 2018. There has been significant interest in the model from other mental health trusts, who have asked C&I about setting up their own Peer Debrief schemes.

Several of the C&I volunteers are former patients with ‘lived experience’ of mental health issues, though there are plans to expand the team by recruiting more widely among carers and in the voluntary sector.

Kevin Cann, C&I’s Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression Lead, said: “The Trust’s strategy to reduce restrictive practice is not just about reducing the number of prone restraints. It’s about improving the standard of all restrictive practices so they become safer and less disturbing for service users.”

“Due to the Peer Debrief staff being external to the Trust, patients are more open with them about why the incident happened and how it can be prevented in the future.  This is information we would otherwise not have been able to obtain.”

The interview questions aim to aid consistency; are intended to establish what may have led a patient to behave violently or aggressively; whether the subsequent restraint was carried out in a way which minimised physical and psychological harm to the service user; and how restraint can be prevented in the future.

Interviewees are also offered advice on how to access advocacy if they feel they were subdued in a manner which failed to meet the high standards expected of C&I staff.

Senior managers, however, emphasise that there is no intention to ‘blame’ staff involved in restraint incidents. Individuals are never named in the reports filed by volunteers. The aim is to encourage reporting of restraints and, over time, to reduce their number, leading, it is hoped, to less aggression on wards and beneficial results for all clinical staff and patients across the entire C&I estate.

The data is showing a clear emphasis on the importance of communicating effectively with patients to prevent frustration and anger building up. Recurring themes are beginning to form, with a clear emphasis on improved communication between staff and patients on what is happening and why.

Kevin Cann commented: “The key to reducing violence is early intervention and planning. The nursing teams are always pushed for time but taking preventative measures such as behavioural support planning with the patient to avoid restraint saves a lot of time further down the line.

“After each interview, the volunteers give one copy of their report to the patient and another to the ward manager. Findings are also inputted into a database so that issues which occur repeatedly in debriefs can be spotted and action taken to address concerns.

“Patients have often commented that when staff debrief them after a restraint, there can sometimes be a feeling of ‘punishment’ that shuts down dialogue. That’s why Peer Debrief is so important. It gets across the message that we are curious about how and why it happened and we want to stop it happening again.”

CBUG & Peer mentoring at St. Mungos Mental Health festival!

VoiceAbility supported CBUG volunteers Romano, Davide and Mark and Peer Mentors Maria and Jahanara to run two stalls at the St. Mungo’s Mental Health festival on Thursday 5th July.

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Above: Mark (CBUG), Ani (VoiceAbility Peer Mentor Coordinator) and Jahanara (VoiceAbility admin volunteer).

The festival was great fun for everyone involved with activities like spray painting & graffiti workshop, drum playing, dancing and hand henna design. There was also a delicious grill, salads and drinks. Our volunteers made the most of this opportunity to promote the Peer Mentoring Project and CBUG with flyers, banners and forms.

All in all it was a great sunny day! 4 people showed an interest in becoming peer mentors, 5 people enquired about CBUG and a couple of people were also interested in Camden Frontline and the Sunday Project (substance misuse groups).

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Above: drumming at the festival.

We had interesting conversations with many attendees who showed interest in VoiceAbility projects. We also did some networking with the stalls of other organisations who promote mental health awareness.

There was Yoga, music performance by the charity Key Changes, stand-up comedy, massage and flower arranging!

Mental Health inpatients struggling with debt to be given breathing space

Good news: Thousands of people who are in mental health crisis and struggling with serious debt will be given breathing space from further interest, charges and enforcement action following a campaign victory by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute.

Breathing space

The Recovery Space Campaign team delivering the petition

Read the full article on the Money Saving Expert website here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/protect/2018/04/people-in-mental-health-crisis-to-be-given-breathing-space-from-serious-debt-problems-

National Day of Action to Stop and Scrap Universal Credit

Disabled against cuts

Disabled campaigners held a national day of action yesterday (Wednesday 17th April) calling on the government to halt the roll-out of its Universal Credit.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Single Mothers’ Self-Defence and WinVisible activists demonstrated in Westminster against the national introduction of the new benefit system.

To find out more about DPAC please visit their website: https://dpac.uk.net/2018/03/national-day-of-action-to-stopandscrap-universal-credit/

You can see the protest reported here:

Mental Health Act 1983 – important changes

The changes to sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act introduced by the Police and Crime Act 2017 came into force on 11 December 2017.

Hill Dickinson is a company providing legal advice and support to the NHS and independent healthcare organisations. They have written the following explanation of the changes:

“The key changes are designed to ensure that police officers are able to act more quickly and flexibly, whilst ensuring that people receive the assessment and treatment they need as soon as it is required. The changes relate to:

  • places of safety
  • time limits
  • protective searches
  • the duty to consult
  • decreased detention times

Definition of ‘public place’

The current wording of section 136 in relation to where police can exercise their powers is open to interpretation and often causes difficulties. Case law over the years has assisted to better define what is ‘a place to which the public have access’, however this remains a tricky area. The changes when they come into force will define this more clearly, by specifically identifying the following places where police cannot exercise their powers under section 136:

‘a) any house, flat or room where that person, or any other person, is living, or;
b) any yard, garden, garage or outhouse that is used in connection with the house, flat or room, other than one that is also used in connection with one or more other houses, flats or rooms.’

Save for in these excluded areas, the police will be able to exercise their powers under section 136 anywhere. This should allow officers to act quickly to protect people found in places such as railway lines, offices and rooftops which have previously not necessarily been considered as ‘places to which the public have access’.

Where practical to do so, the police have an added duty to consult: a registered medical practitioner, a registered nurse or an approved mental health professional, before deciding to remove a person to or to keep them at a place of safety.

Places of safety

The amendments make clear that it will be possible to use a suitable private property as a place of safety, with the consent of the occupier. Therefore, a person’s own home could potentially be a place of safety, as could places such as community centres or other multiple use buildings.

A new provision (section 136A) will prevent the use of police stations as a place of safety for under 18s and also increase the safeguards in place where a police station is used as a place of safety for an adult. Section 136A permits the secretary of state to make regulations regarding the use of police stations as places of safety. It is expected that such regulations will include provision for regular review and ensuring that appropriate medical treatment is available.

Time limits

The maximum period for detention under section 135 and section 136 to allow for a mental health assessment to be completed, is currently 72 hours. This will be reduced to an initial maximum period of 24 hours. The period will still commence from the time when the person arrives at the place of safety or the time a police officer enters the property if he/she subsequently decides to keep the person at that place.

It will be possible, at the end of the 24 hour period, for an extension of up to 12 hours to be granted, but only where it would not have been practicable to assess the person in the first 24 hours i.e. only where the condition of the person makes it necessary to do so. That extension can be granted by the registered medical practitioner responsible for the examination of the patient.
Protective searches

Section 136C will introduce the power for protective searches to be undertaken where a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person may be a danger to themselves, or others, or is concealing an item on his or her person that could be used to cause physical injury to themselves or to others.

Summary

The government has produced guidance to support the implementation of the changes which can be accessed here.

The changes to the legislation have the clear aim of protecting patients’ rights, which is welcome. The reduction in time limits is likely to increase pressure on services, particularly in light of the current bed situation. Effective implementation, particularly in relation to the duty to consult and reduced detention times, will involve local authorities, healthcare providers and the police working very closely together. Policies and procedures will need to be updated and training may be required.”

Further sources of information

You can find the full article by Hill Dickinson here: https://www.hilldickinson.com/insights/articles/mental-health-act-1983-important-changes-coming-force-11-december-2017

The government has issued “Guidance for the implementation of changes to police powers and places of safety provisions in the mental health act 1983” which you can read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656025/Guidance_on_Police_Powers.PDF

The mental health charity Mind have also written about these changes. You can see their article here: https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/legal-news/legal-newsletter-march-2017/policing-and-crime-act-2017/

Pat Kenny interviewed on BBC news!

Pat Kenny BBC news

CBUG member Pat Kenny has been interviewed on BBC radio 5 Live’s Breakfast and Afternoon shows! Pat spoke about his experience of being tasered by the police while unwell.

You can read the BBC news article by clicking here.

If you would like to listen to the Breakfast show where Pat speaks. Please visit the following website (Pat’s section begins about 1h26 minutes in):

If you would like to listen to the Afternoon show where Pat speaks. Please visit the following website (Pat’s section begins about 9 minutes in):

Please note that you will have to sign in to BBC IPlayer to listen to the audios.

To Treat Depression, Provide Meaningful Work, Housing & a Basic Income, Not Just Drugs – Johann Hari

Check out this extended conversation with Johann Hari, author of a controversial new book, “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions.”

You can find the full transcript of this conversation here: https://www.democracynow.org/2018/2/2/part_2_johann_hari_on_uncovering

Are people with depression more likely to say certain words?

According to this article on the msn website, the answer is yes. What do you think?

Curt Cobain

From the way you move and sleep, to how you interact with people around you, depression changes just about everything. It is even noticeable in the way you speak and express yourself in writing. Sometimes this “language of depression” can have a powerful effect on others. Just consider the impact of the poetry and song lyrics of Sylvia Plath and Kurt Cobain, who both killed themselves after suffering from depression.

Scientists have long tried to pin down the exact relationship between depression and language, and technology is helping us get closer to a full picture. Our new study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, has now unveiled a class of words that can help accurately predict whether someone is suffering from depression.

Read the rest of the article here: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/mindandbody/people-with-depression-are-more-likely-to-say-certain-words/

…and feel free to leave a comment below.

Goodbye To SURGE

After 9 years The Advocacy Project and SURGE will be ending their work in Camden at the end of November, as the new provider – The Centre for Independent living\Camden Disability Action (CDA) – takes over the contract supporting experts by experience to engage with the learning disability community in Camden.

SURGE has achieved an enormous amount in the past 9 years – including setting up the original planning together to be an inclusive forum for people with a learning disability to affect change in the borough; increasing the understanding of learning disability through training many health and social care staff; more recently appearing before the Council as part of our #UnlockingRestrictions campaign.
Please do take the time to look at what we’ve achieved:

  • SURGE ‘storify – history and key achievements in pictures, videos and words
  • 9 years of SURGE’ impact summary (also attached above): designed by the members, giving details of just some of the amazing work and impact we have achieved together
  • facts and figures‘ summary – showing the great number of people we’e worked with over the 9 years
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World Mental Health Day Open Mic 10/10/17 Stories of wellness

Service users and Carers have said it might be a lovely idea to have people getting up to tell us about their experiences in an open mic session.

With this in mind, a few of us came up with this idea for the day:

10  minute – Mental Health stories

You have 10 minutes on the microphone (or speak loudly – you do not have to have a microphone) to talk about anything you like around the theme of World Mental Health Day which is Mental Health and the workplace.

It can be about when you were not as well or a less positive time in your life, try though, if you can, to end on a positive note. This is not to ‘sugar coat’ people’s experiences, rather to be part of the ‘celebration’ of world mental health day. Tell us about your volunteering roles, work roles or your studying or something you like doing that has helped you in your life.

You can read a poem and or just generally tell us a story in 10 minutes, it can be as it is, or made into a story if you like, (with the names changed for example).

Why ten minutes? 

It is so all those people who want to, can have a go – so people do not have all the time and leave no space for others.

Finally, this is not a therapeutic space, so be mindful of what you choose to tell the audience and your own mental wellness.

Thank you for taking part

We appreciate it and we know others will too.

If you would like to take part, please contact Kate  On

kate.langan@camden.gov.uk

Please note I am hard of hearing so best to text or email me

Mobile 07950 856 851

 

 

NHS spending millions to make cuts!

According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request obtained by the news agency “Pulse Today“, the new ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ have spent around £21m from March 2016 to May 2017 on management consultants.

As you can see from the chart below, the North Central London partnership (of which Camden is a part) is second from the top of the list…

STP expenditure on consultants

Find out more on The Pulse website here: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning/how-the-nhs-is-spending-millions-on-consultancy-firms/20035171.article

Nothing about us, without us!

Co-production image

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) is running the second ever National Co-production Week in July!

Click here to read an article by Tina Coldham, SCIE’s Co-production Network chair

The National Co-production Week 2017 will take place between 3-7 July. It will celebrate the benefits of co-production, share good practice and highlight the contribution of people who use services and carers to developing better public services.

To find out more visit the website here

‘Consented’ magazine issue on mental health

Consented is publishing a quarterly print magazine and the first issue focuses on mental health and the ways in which our mental well-being is affected by our day to day interactions with the world around us, looking at addiction, race, gender, the body and more through personal narratives, essays, comics, poetry and art. See the website here: http://www.consented.co.uk/write-for-us/

BBC: Police threaten legal action over lack of mental health beds

A chief constable has vowed to stop “unlawfully” holding people with a mental illness in police cells because the NHS has no beds for them.

Shaun Sawyer, chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, wrote to Devon Partnership NHS Trust to say it would be held to account in future.

The letter, leaked to the Express and Echo, says legal action may be taken if the situation is not resolved.

The trust said it was disappointed, but accepted more needed to be done.

Mr Sawyer said while it was “unedifying” to sue a public body, he would do so if necessary.

Full story here

Bedlam: The asylum & beyond

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Follow the rise and fall of the mental asylum and explore how it has shaped the complex landscape of mental health today. Reimagine the institution, informed by the experiences of the patients, doctors, artists and reformers who inhabited the asylum or created alternatives to it.

Today asylums have largely been consigned to history but mental illness is more prevalent than ever, as our culture teems with therapeutic possibilities: from prescription medications and clinical treatment to complementary medicines, online support, and spiritual and creative practices. Against this background, the exhibition interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed.

Taking Bethlem Royal Hospital as a starting point, ‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ juxtaposes historical material and medical records with individual testimonies and works by artists such as David Beales, Richard Dadd, Dora García, Eva Kotátková, Madlove: A Designer Asylum, Shana Moulton, Erica Scourti, Javier Téllez and Adolf Wölfli, whose works reflect or reimagine the institution, as both a physical and a virtual space.

For more information please visit the Wellcome collection website here: https://wellcomecollection.org/bedlam