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National Survivor User Network NSUN, network for mental health
NSUN Bulletin Tuesday 28 August 2018
Table of Contents
Welcome to the 28 August edition of our weekly ebulletin that contains lots of updates, news and views.
This week we continue our coverage of the Mental Health Act Review, this time with a series of blogs by Dr Gary Sidley. 
We have also heard about NHS England's drive to place therapists in each GP practice, and about the Home Office legalising prescription of cannabis based medicines....and of the Government's eagerness for us to not confuse this idea with a first step towards legalising the drug.
If you have thoughts on these topics, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Do email us if you have any news or information that you would like included in a future bulletin. Previous bulletins can be viewed here.
Donations to NSUN are gratefully received for this free service.
You can donate directly here.
We have a variety of ways you can support NSUN, including a few that will not cost you an extra penny, such as:
NSUN News 
Help us lobby the Mental Health Act Review
Due to the disappointing responses to NSUN's strong letter of concern to the Review Chair and Vice Chairs about the approach being taken to the Mental Health Act Review,  NSUN is now planning a further letter to the Chair and Vice Chairs and a letter to the leaders of the main political parties and relevant All Party Parliamentary Groups. Can you help with suggestions? To get involved, please click here. 
To read the related article by John Pring, Disability News Service, please click here
NSUN Members Event and Annual General Meeting - The Future of Peer Support
Please bookmark the AGM event page on our website - you can refer to it whenever you feel ready to book your place.
UPDATED 'Get to know NSUN in 3 minutes'
You can view the video here, updated with our new logo and website. Please do share!
Selected blogs 
InjusticeGary Sidley's thoughts on the Mental Health Act Review
Gary’s 33 years of experience working as a mental health professional – psychiatric nurse, clinical psychologist and manager – has enabled him to write a distinctive insider account of the shameful failings of the Western psychiatric system.
Disenchanted with psychiatry, Dr Sidley believes that current psychiatric practices are based on pseudo-scientific assumptions.

He has been blogging about the Mental Health Act Review since the end of 2017. So far, he's published 4 pieces on the subject:
Coming up - NSUN London Leaders Digital Lab: summer 2018 
Article Image
NSUN invites representatives from user-led member groups across London to a FREE networking, sharing and design programme.
NSUN invites representatives from user-led member groups across London to a free networking, sharing and design programme on:
  • Tuesday 04 Sept 
  • Wednesday 05 Sept 
  • Thursday 06 Sept 
Each day will run from 10:30am – 3pm.
The programme responds to feedback from the membership who have expressed the need for more opportunities to strengthen the user voice pan-London and will involve experience-based co-design.
N.B. No previous experience of design or digital technology is needed.
The programme will include six participatory workshops with the following themes:
  • Finding and amplifying your voice: the personal is political, collective power, leadership styles.
  • Creative influencing and campaigning: exploring local vs London-wide challenges, barriers and opportunities for change.
  • Creative mapping and storytelling with digital tools
  • Co-production and design for collective action: 4PI National Involvement Standards
A networking and workshop taster day will be held on Thursday 30 August 2-4pm where you will be invited to shape the programme according to your interest’s and preferences.
To register your interest please complete the form here.
Survivors' Poetry presents live at the Poetry Café 
Article ImageMC George Tahta (Laidback n uptight)
Featured guest Colin Hambrook
With music from Dave Russell
Date:  Thursday 13th September
Time: 8pm - 10.30pm
Venue: The Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BX
Price: £1.50 floorspots, £2.50 concessions, £3.50 full ticket
Come and share your voice! Arrive at 7.30pm tp sign up for floorspots
Survey for the user/survivor/neurodiversity/mental health activist community 
Do you have lived experience of emotional distress, neurodivergence, and/or behavioral health treatment? Are you a Mad Pride, neurodiversity, or psychiatric survivor activist?
WHO: The researchers are seeking participants who have lived experience of “mental difference,” i.e. characteristics, traits, states, and phenomena that have been categorized as symptoms of mental disorders or developmental disorders, and/or lived experience of behavioral health treatment, and who have engaged in any form of advocacy.
WHY: To help researchers better understand how experiences of mental difference and behavioral health treatment impact activist involvement.
WHAT:A voluntary research study. This is an online survey lasting approximately 20-25 minutes.
Participants will be asked questions about their mental health related experiences, involvement with activism, and viewpoints on sociopolitical issues within the mental health arena.
Every 30th participant will receive a $50 gift card up to five cards.
HOW: Contact Emily Cutler at, or click on this link . The study’s protocol number is #00035052.
Black Tie - Trans awareness event 
Black tie eventHosted by Amanda De Courcy - founder of Synestra’s CIC – Herts County Council, the NHS, and various charities who support the transgender community, this unique dinner aims to raise much needed funds to support members of the transgender community.
There will also be the opportunity to showcase the amazing work of Gender Intelligence, Stonewall, and Mermaids.
Date: 27 September
Time: 07:00pm - 11:30pm
VenueHitchin Priory, Tilehouse Street, Hitchin, SG5 2DL
For more information and to book a place, please visit this page
Influence the production of guidance for therapists 
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drugs Dependence (APPG PDD), which NSUN is part of, seeks expressions of interest from:
  • psychological therapists
  • ex-clients
  • clients and carers/supporters
To join a panel of reviewers or to be involved in a specific working group for a project creating guidance for psychological therapists who work with clients/patients taking and/or withdrawing from, prescribed psychiatric drugs.
For more information about the project and how to get involved, please click here
NHS England calls for mental health therapists in GP practices 
NHS England - 70 yearsHealth chiefs have drawn up new guidance to encourage doctors to place mental health therapists in practice surgeries – bringing more mental and physical health services under one roof.
NHS England hopes this could become the norm.
The Royal college of General Practitioners believes hat the move could radically change care.
Pulse, the GP newswire, has reacted to the news, reporting that NHS England asks GPs to house mental health therapists within their practices
ITV News said that GPs are encouraged to place mental health experts in their surgeries to bring more mental and physical health services under one roof.
Frequently moving house as a child could be bad for mental health 
moving housePeople who move house frequently in childhood – particularly over long distances – have a much higher risk of developing schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder later in life, a new study finds.
The effect is most pronounced among people in their highly-formative late teens  – with four moves between the ages of 16 and 19 almost quadrupling the risk of developing a serious psychiatric illness, compared to those who stay put during that time.
You can download the study from JAMA Psychiatry
Assess graduates who want to become social workers 
think aheadAurora Justice works in the recruitment team at Think Ahead.

Think Ahead values the input from people with experience of mental health problems.

Aurora wishes to out to people with lived experience of mental health problems, specifically those that have received support from a Social Worker.

If you are interested in being involved helping Think Ahead assess graduates wanting to become social workers, then Aurora is more than happy to have a telephone call with you. 
It would be a paid role and Think Ahead provide paid training in London for all assessors.
Aurora did not specify whether all roles would have to be London based or not.
For more information, please call Aurora on 020 3146 7191, and ask her to call you back if you need to save on your phone bill.
Aurora can also be contacted by email -
Welfare reform conference 
westminster insight
The UK has undergone the most radical reform of welfare benefits since the beginning of the welfare state.
Westminster Insight’s Welfare Reform conference this September aims at examining issues arising with the implementation of a Universal Credit full service, as well as wider benefit reform concerns including supporting the most vulnerable claimants and how to assist people into work.
Hear a combination of strategic content concerning the revisions to welfare reform as well as practical case studies from local authorities, housing associations and the third sector implementing services on the ground.
Date: 26 September
Time: 09:20am - 03:30pm
Venue: Westminster

The cost is rather high, making this conference impossible to access for anyone who isn't employed by a relatively large organisation.
There is an offer of 20% off the standard delegate rate, however if you book two places or more on any event, they can increase that discount to 30%.
In the “promotional code” section of the booking form, use the code JOBSZO-2863055 to receive 20%, and the code JOBSEO-2863055 for 30%.
Pay with a Credit or Debit Card and receive a further 10% off*
Several opportunities with the Advocacy Project (London) 
Advocacy project - workThe Advocacy Project currently have the following opportunities:
Searching for an exceptional User Involvement Coordinator to join a dynamic User Involvement team that currently provides services to a range of care groups across 5 London boroughs – Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hackney, City of London and Brent
The project is searching for an exceptional person to join a dynamic and innovative Advocacy team, that currently provides services to a range of care groups across 7 London boroughs
The Advocacy Project is looking for Mental Health Peer Mentors living within City of London and Hackney, peer mentors will have lived experience of mental illness which they will use to provide emotional and practical support for Mentees.
The project is also looking for people who would like emotional and practical support from a mentor
Please contact Sophie Hudson for more details:
Citizens Advice mental health insights: people’s experience of community mental health support 
Article ImageThis brief presents a review of case notes submitted by Citizen Advise advisors on what  challenges people with mental health needs face in their everyday life and when accessing healthcare in the community. ​It also forms a part of policy  series on mental health.
Practical problems, such as losing one’s home or facing redundancy at work, can  worsen people’s mental health and quality of life. Primary care and mental health  services are seeing an increase in clients with practical problems that take up significant clinical time.    
This brief identifies five key challenges:
  1. People with mental health problems are more likely to face practical  challenges​, such as struggling with debt, having problems to access benefits, or  being unable to work due to an illness or a disability. 
  2. Additional costs associated with poor mental health​ often can make it more  difficult to manage financially. This includes unexpected costs such as having to pay  for medical evidence to support an application for welfare benefits, a prescription  penalty charge, or travel expenses to attend mental health appointments.
  3. Community support before and after mental health treatment ​is often  limited or not available to assist people with their practical problems, which could  worsen their mental health  
  4. Ethnic minority groups tend to face more barriers to access mental health  support. ​Having a pending immigration status or more complex practical issues  can make it more difficult for this group to access mental health support.   
  5. Carers tend to have poor experience of community mental health support.  Not being informed about what community support is available for carers, or not  being kept informed about decisions related to their caring role can make  managing caring responsibilities more challenging.
Share your story, poems or artwork with #KindaProud Pocket Books 
kinda proud
The #KindaProud project aims to create a series of ‘Pocket Books of Hope and Kindness’ for people experiencing different themes of mental distress, under the umbrella of the anti- stigma social movement ‘#Emerging Proud’. 
Each Pocket Book has its own KindaProud Rep; a Peer who has personal experience of the theme of that specific book; these are the first 4 books currently being created:
#Emerging Proud through Suicide
#Emerging Proud through NOTES (Non- Ordinary Transcendent Experiences)
#Emerging Proud through disordered eating, body image and low-self-esteem
#EmergingProud through trauma and abuse
See more info on Reps here:
If you'd like to share your story, p,lease visit this page
Learn and travel with a Churchill Fellowship 
Churchill memorial trust
There is just over one month left to apply for a Churchill Fellowship.
A Churchill Fellowship funds people to travel for 4-8 weeks abroad, researching a topic of their own choice in any field, that can make a difference to their profession or community when they come home.
No qualifications are required.
All UK citizens resident in the UK aged 18 and over are eligible to apply.
You can find details and case studies of past Fellows here.
Applications are currently open for Fellowships in the following award categories:
If you have any questions please get in touch with 
Ben Anstis
Communications Officer
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (Registered Charity 313952)
29 Great Smith Street, Church House - South Door, London, SW1P 3BL
T: 020 7799 1660
Help shape perinatal peer support in Newcastle 
perinatal peer support eventPeople with personal or / and professional experience are invited to attend this co-production event in Newcastle.
Date: 21 September
Time: 10:30am - 04:30pm
Venue: Assembly Rooms, Fenkle Street, NE1 5XU Newcastle upon Tyne
Cost: free
By taking part in this event you will:
  • Help develop values that represent women’s experience
  • Influence the perception of peer support for maternal mental health
  • Test and feedback on the draft principles
People with lived experience of perinatal mental health problems and organisations facilitating perinatal peer support or who are interested in facilitating perinatal peer support should attend in order to share their ideas, experiences and vision.
More event details
Tickets are free and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. 
One ticket per organisation, additional tickets may be made available two weeks before the event dependent on demand.
A travel expense budget is available for small organisations and people with lived experience who would find the cost of travel a barrier to attending.
Please register for the event here
for more information please contact
Talk for Health programme 
Talk for Health
Talk for Health provides a free programme in talking for wellbeing which enables you to:
  • Talk more openly and truthfully
  • Listen more empathically
  • Set up or participate in clearly structure ongoing groups to improve and maintain wellbeing
After the training, you gain access to a community of ongoing groups and events to build your wellbeing.
The programme is for anyone who wants to take care of their wellbeing, is free, has been shown to substantially improve participants’ wellbeing, and is described as ‘enjoyable, inspiring, safe, supportive, and liberating’.
Click below to find information, dates, and to sign up for the next programmes:
For more information contact
The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill easy read 
Article ImageThe Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill is a proposed new law that is being discussed in Parliament. If Parliament agrees, it will become the law and the Mental Capacity Act will change. 
At the moment, thousands of people are deprived of liberty, but without an independent check. The new bill has liberty protection safeguards. These are measures to make sure these checks take place.
Under the proposed new law nobody will independently assess whether the arrangements are in the person’s best interests unless the person complains.
Download the easy read version here designed by CHANGE.
In the news 
Rohingya Refugee from Guardian video
The Guardian
'I try to bury that pain': Rohingya refugees on the trauma they carry
Award-winning photographer Robin Hammond says survivors of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar carry deep psychological scars
Children’s commissioner says GPs should offer ‘play on prescription’ to combat obesity and poor mental health. 'I never feel safe': meet the people at the very sharpest end of the housing crisis - disabled millennials
The Independent - Voices
More women than men are dying by suicide in psychiatric hospitals, and after she was sectioned, Joy Hibbins knows some of the reasons why
The Independent - News
Mental Health is a hot topic at the Edinburgh Fringe
Yorkshire Evening Post
The NHS needs to lead the way in mental health good practice
Stratford upon Avon Herald
A campaign group claims NHS mental health premises in Leamington and Warwick are to be sold off and services relocated to Stratford, in a move that would harm the most vulnerable.
Spirit FM
Sussex mental health patients sent hundreds of miles for treatment
New Kindred Minds Manifesto appeal 
Kindred Minds ManifestoNew Kindred Minds have launched crowdfunding appeals for Manifesto design, publication and launch event costs
Please help if you can
GOV.UK news 
cannabis medicines - courtesy of BBC siteCannabis-derived medicinal products to be made available on prescription
Specialist clinicians will be able to legally prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products by the autumn, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
Javid was quick to say that the decision 'is in no way a first step towards the legalisation of cannabis use'.
You can read the Home Office news statement on on Gov UK, as well as coverage by BBC News, the Independent, and Pulse, the GP news wire which says the cannabis debate leaves GPs facing a prescribing conundrum.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Registrar, Dr Mike Linney, says the decision will 'come as a relief for some'.
New Mental Capacity Act (Amendment) Bill introduced
The Government has introduced the new Mental Capacity Act (Amendment) Bill, intended to replace DoLS following the Law Commission’s recent report. The text of the 2nd reading debate can be read and the Bill’s progress tracked here.
The British Institute of Human Rights wrote about the Bill on a blog here.
The Committee stage will begin on 5 September
Mental Health Act Review - August workshops
The review workshops during August set out to engage with mixed audiences on the review’s thinking so far, on potential options for change and on what those options might result in for service users and professionals.
The feedback gathered from attendees will help inform the review’s final recommendations that will be published later in the year. The review’s aim is to bring together interested parties of all types, but we are particularly committed to capturing the views and expertise of service users, carers and professionals with direct experience of the Mental Health Act.

The Exeter workshop, Tuesday 21 August has been cancelled but a new date will be confirmed soon.
Disclaimer: Not all material included in this newsletter are generated by NSUN. Where possible we try to share materials which reflect the diversity (geographical and other) of an entire national network. We welcome suggestions from you, so please email the editor
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