Our virtual Annual General Meeting will be taking place over two days on the 29th of November and 1st of December.
Stay tuned for more details coming soon!
Call For Pitches: Abolition and Mental Health - deadline this Friday
We are looking to commission written pieces on abolition and mental health for a new series.
We are interested in how an abolitionist reframing of issues around mental health, madness, and disability – and the abolition (rather than reform) of punitive, oppressive, violent and/or carceral systems, institutions, and practice in a U.K. context – sparks new possibilities, questions, and pathways towards change and liberation.
Themes/areas of focus within abolition and mental health:
Care work aligning (or not aligning) with carceral systems
Mutual aid and community organising as alternatives to institutions and carceral systems
Annual Members’ Questionnaire and draw to win one of five £20 Amazon vouchers - deadline this Friday
Each year we ask members to take a few minutes to fill out a questionnaire to help set our agenda and communicate our impact. Every single response is valuable to us and helps make sure we know our membership as best as we can.
This year, you will have the option to enter into a prize draw for one of five £20 Amazon vouchers. The questionnaire (and the prize draw) opens today, 13th September 2021, and will close at 23:00 on 1st October 2021.
There is a different version of the questionnaire for individual members and for member group/organisations. The questionnaire for member group/organisations is longer as we include questions that help us map, and make the case for, user-led group activity. Please follow the relevant link below:
The last year has witnessed a proliferation of events, funding, and consultations around race in terms of the White Paper Review of the Mental Health Act and the statutory guidance in relation Mental Health, 2018, Use of Forces Act (Seni’s Law). The renewed engagement of diverse researchers, organisations and activists have, however, failed to address the Lived experiences of race, how whiteness remains as a historical norm, how value and practice shapes co-production and represents the ethnically diverse experience, particularly black men within current mental health systems. To achieve real authentic race equality in mental health the seminar looks at how the cultural restraint of race needs to be addressed for an effective model of coproduction and change."
Mental Health Act: Call for "unequivocal commitment " to improve access to advocacy
"Over fifty leaders in mental health and advocacy are calling on the government to “make an unequivocal commitment to improving access to Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) as part of the reform of the Mental Health Act” in a joint letter to Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
The letter, written and coordinated by VoiceAbility, has over fifty signatories including the chief executives of Mind, Rethink, the National Autistic Society, the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
A creative response to the impact of Covid-19, BLM and Leeds mental health strategy on ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness.
You are invited to be part of a creatively co-designed event on the impact of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter on black and minoritised people with lived experience of severe mental illness and service user allyship.
Through photography, film, audio and poetry, alongside guest panellists and contributors, we will explore lived experience narratives of BLM and the pandemic, alternative pathways to being sectioned, what systems leaders can do better and what collaborating for change really looks like.
The event will be BSL-signed."
Creating Compassionate Alternatives to Mainstream Interventions for People in Crisis and Distress
The Summit is organized to promote and support Peer Respites and Soteria Houses as effective alternatives to existing mainstream responses for people in emotional distress or life-interrupting challenges. This free international, online, participatory conference will give people the inspiration, tools, resources, networks and ongoing support to bring a Peer Respite or Soteria House to their communities.
*Clickherefor a Peer Respite/Soteria comparison chart."
La Marr Jurelle Bruce and Farah Jasmine Griffin will discuss How to Go Mad Without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity.
“Hold tight. The way to go mad without losing your mind is sometimes unruly.” So begins La Marr Jurelle Bruce's urgent provocation and poignant meditation on madness in black radical art, How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity, published in April 2021. Bruce theorizes four overlapping meanings of madness: the lived experience of an unruly mind, the psychiatric category of serious mental illness, the emotional state also known as “rage,” and any drastic deviation from psychosocial norms. With care and verve, he explores the mad in the literature of Amiri Baraka, Gayl Jones, and Ntozake Shange; in the jazz repertoires of Buddy Bolden, Sun Ra, and Charles Mingus; in the comedic performances of Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle; in the protest music of Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, and Kendrick Lamar, and beyond."
10-17 October 2021, Amnesty UK, Liberty, Equally Ours, Stonewall, British Institute for Human Rights, Freedom from Torture, End Violence Against Women Coalition, the Quakers and The Humanists are holding a Week of Action for Human Rights in the UK.
As part of BIHR’s Human Rights in Children’s Inpatient Mental Health Services project, funded by NHSE England, we are offering 5 open access free human rights workshops. These workshops are for children, young people, parents, loved ones, self/advocates and lived experience groups.
What are the workshops about?
The workshops are about human rights when accessing Children and Young People's Mental Health Inpatient Services.
On each workshop you will:
Find out how the Human Rights Act protects your rights
Focus on some key human rights in relation to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Inpatient Services
Have opportunities for group discussion."
Introducing Experts by Experience
The Bridge Collective
"Would you like to be part of …. a group of people whose lived experiences have sometimes been labelled as mental illness. Some of us use or have used mental health services, and our group includes people with experience of supporting friends and family. We aim to share our experiences: in an environment of peer support, to promote positive public awareness, increase confidence in talking about mental health, to improve mental health services and increase access to a wide range of understandings about mental health.
We offer training, workshops and our insights to a wide range of groups, individuals and organisations.
We are OPEN TO ALL and meet twice a month to talk about opportunities, develop ideas and share our stories. People are also welcome to just sit and listen.
Are you a Lived Experience Practitioner (LXP)? (Mad) Academic? Student? Clinician? Service User? Carer? Come and join us - Mad Studies is for everyone :-)
October is Black History Month. At Mad Studies Birmingham, intersectionality - the inclusion or lack of it - is something we discuss throughout the year. However, this month, our co-facilitator Allison has chosen a book she has found inspiring: Resma Manakem’s My Grandmothers Hands, which explores racial trauma being located within both White, Black and ‘Blue’ (law enforcement) bodies. How does this idea of intergenerational trauma fit with trauma that we have experienced as people within the ‘Mad Community’?
This segues Anne Aiyegbusi’s ‘The White Mirror: Face to face with racism in group analysis’ which discusses the harm that can be caused by a model which centres on Whiteness as the norm for Black participants. Anne will be joining us for the discussion.
Our blog reveals that 31 NHS Trusts did not apply for a funding opportunity to employ a senior (Band 7) LXP (Lived Experience Professional, when most Trusts use the excuse of not having funds to employ an LXP beyond a Band 3 or 4 level, causing outrage on social media.
A Freedom of Information Request revealed that 31 out of 55 of the NHS Trusts in England did not apply for the funding. All of the other Trusts who did were successful. This has left us with the question: Why didn’t the others?
Stage 2 of our campaign is to send out a Freedom of Information Request to these NHS Trusts and ask them.
Check to see if YOUR Trust is on the list.
Thank you all for your GoFundMe support to get us and our stand to the SODIT festival in Sheffield last week… we just have £117 to go to break even… can you help us?"
Creative News & Events
Evening of live poetry
*Poetry open mic*
Core Arts, a mental health arts charity, are putting on an art show (in memoriam) of our beloved Frank Bangay's work plus open mic at their gaff on Weds 29 September at 6pm - 9pm.
Frank spent most of his time at Core Arts in his latter years, working industriously on his many projects - this show will be an appreciation of all his input and output there, and a chance to see the man's vision writ large. All welcome.
Please take a lateral flow test - that must be negative before coming to the event.
Core Arts is at 1 St Barnabas Terrace, Homerton, Hackney, London E9 6DL.
Call 0208 533 3500 for more details."
Responding to Voices from the Asylum – ‘a new take on old times’
This workshop is a fascinating chance for beginner or experienced writers to imagine themselves into what life was like in a Victorian asylum.Experience the old Bethlem Royal Hospital through archive materials – photographs and patient case notes.
Through a gentle, supportive workshop with writer and poet David Gilbert, you will be inspired to discuss, reflect and respond through your own creative writing….
• Imagine yourself as a former patient, cleaner, doctor, nurse or visitor; what might it have felt like then? Your hopes and your fears?
• What would you say to someone back then? If you were an advocate or time-traveller, what would be your truth?
• Or, just write about how you feel when looking at the archival objects, notes and photographs.
After a long wait, the UK Government has shared their plans to improve the disability benefits system. Some of these proposals will be welcomed by disabled people and those with long-term conditions, but others don't go far enough and a few may even be unwelcome.
We'd like to hear about your experiences of the benefits system, and what changes you would recommend. So, when we respond to the Government consultation about their plans, we can show them what meaningful change really looks like for disabled people and people with long-term conditions.
This survey may take up to 10-15 minutes to complete. Most questions are optional, but anything you share with us could really help us make sure the calls for change by disabled people are heard by the Government."
Survey - Have you ever been accused of being violent towards a police officer or NHS worker?
Alleged violence and abuse towards police and NHS workers by people who have poor mental health or a cogntive impairment and/or are neurodivergent.
This survey is being conducted by a charity called Transform Justice which produces research and evidence to advocate for a fairer and more effective justice system. Our current project aims to reduce prosecutions of people who have poor mental health, a cognitive impairment, and/or who are neurodivergent and are accused of violence and abuse towards police and NHS workers. We understand that this topic may be difficult to talk about, and we are grateful for the time taken to inform our work. If you have any comments or suggestions about our work, please get in touch. A separate survey has been sent to police and NHS workers.
Participating in this survey is voluntary and by filling in this survey you are giving your consent for any information provided to be anonymously included in a report seeking to find more effective ways of dealing with these kinds of incidents. Any data collected will be stored securely and all responses are anonymous. The survey takes approximately 5 minutes to complete, and we will stop collecting responses on 10 October 2021."
Call for research participants - Access to Justice for Defendants with Mental Health Conditions and Learning Disabilities
The DARE Project
"What is the research about?
This research seeks to find out if defendants with mental health conditions or learning disabilities get enough help to communicate and understand what happens in court in England and Ireland.
What is involved?
• participation in a 60-minute one-to-one interview
• the interview will be held online or by phone.
Who can participate in this research?
You can participate in this research if you
• have a mental health condition or learning disability
• have been a defendant in the past 4 years
• had to go to court in England or Ireland
• had help from an intermediary or personal advocate.
If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Edmore Masendeke on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 07810 308 216.
Edmore Masendeke is a PhD Student at the University of Leeds"
Have you been on a mental health inpatient unit on "section" in the last five years?
"Have you been on a mental health inpatient unit on 'section' in the last five years?
Our research team at UCL is developing a new approach that aims to make it less likely that someone is 'sectioned' again.
We are looking for people to take part in a virtual one-hour interview to learn about your views and experiences. We are particularly interested in hearing from Black and Black British men, as well as men from other ethnic minority backgrounds.
We will give you a £20 voucher to thank-you for your participation.
DPO Forum response to Health & Disability Green Paper
DPO Forum England, including NSUN
"Shaping future support: the health and disability green paper
The DPO Forum England brings together disabled people’s organisations (DPO’s) across England to work collectively to act as the voice of disabled people. The DPO forum offers a unique and valuable perspective, as the members are all DPO’s that are majority run and controlled by and for disabled people. We are truly able to speak as a voice of disabled people because we represent disabled people.
Shaping future support: the health and disability green paper is not a reality-based document. This is a fundamental problem because you cannot plan successful policy without first knowing the reality of current policy failure. The reality is that successive welfare reforms from successive administrations of differing parties, sharing a Westminster consensus, has caused the stigmatisation and demonisation of disabled people and the creation of a structure that has been described by Dr David Webster as a ‘secret penal system’.
Universal credit and access to justice: Applying the law automatically
Child Poverty Action Group
"The pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong and well-functioning social security system. When lots of people suddenly needed support we saw how well the universal credit (UC) system can process claims quickly and pay people on time.
This report focuses on some of the problems UC claimants are experiencing both making a claim for UC and receiving accurate payments, which appear to be caused by the digitalisation and automation of the UC system. Claimants who have specific life circumstances are experiencing similar problems because the UC computer system seems unable to calculate their UC payment correctly and in accordance with the law.
Barriers to wellbeing: Migration and vulnerability during the pandemic
Doctors of the world
"The COVID-19 pandemic has had –and continues to have– tremendous impact on wellbeing, especially amongst people at risk of vulnerability such as ethnic minorities, homeless people, undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. This report examines the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants during the early months of the pandemic (March-September 2020). It explores the characteristics of individuals at risk of vulnerability during that period: their health status and their wellbeing needs as well as the healthcare barriers they have experienced. Findings are reported from a mixed methods study which analysed data drawn from Doctors of the World (DOTW) UK service data collected before and during the pandemic. The analysis was undertaken in order to highlight the situation of individuals at risk of vulnerability, especially with regard to their wellbeing, identify barriers and issues that may be linked to vulnerability, and provide potential solutions to deal with such barriers.
"Inequalities Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities face in accessing affordable and secure homes are rooted in structural injustices that are just not right, and must change.
During the coronavirus storm these structural inequalities played a part in worsening housing insecurity and health issues for BAME communities. They include deep inequalities in the labour markets, the social security system, and the effects of hostile immigration policies.
These injustices are not inevitable, they are the result of systems which have been designed and which can be redesigned. This briefing offers answers for a more equal, just housing system.
Magical thinking and moral injury: exclusion culture in psychiatry
Article by Chloe Beale via BJPsych Bulletin
"This is an article about exclusion. We might not like to admit it – even fail to realise it – but National Health Service (NHS) mental health service structures have become increasingly focused on how to deny people care instead of help them to access it. Clinicians learn the art of self-delusion, convincing ourselves we are not letting patients down but, instead, doing the clinically appropriate thing. Well-meant initiatives become misappropriated to justify neglect. Are we trying to protect ourselves against the knowledge that we're failing our patients, or is collusion simply the easiest option? Problematic language endemic in psychiatry reveals a deeper issue: a culture of fear and falsehood, leading to iatrogenic harm. An excessively risk-averse and under-resourced system may drain its clinicians of compassion, losing sight of the human being behind each ‘protected’ bed and rejected referral.
CNWL Recovery Services are looking for 2 Peer IT Tutors in an exciting new project which is designed to increase digital inclusion for people who experience psychosis. The role is to tutor people in basic digital skills – one to one. This role is specifically for people who experience, or have experienced, psychosis.
The people we are looking for will have strong, but not necessarily highly advanced IT skills. This role involves the confident communication of core IT skills with digitally excluded people and is not a ‘tech role’ as such."
We’re looking for an individual with excellent leadership skills to lead our services and projects which focus on community and community development.
The successful applicant will lead our delivery of local voluntary sector support, working as part of our successful Barnet Together partnership with Young Barnet Foundation and Groundwork London. As well as representing Inclusion Barnet and the wider voluntary sector across local boards and forums, you'll work to bring the sector together through leading various sector groups"
Advanced Lived Experience Practitioner
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Are you a passionate and experienced peer support worker?
Do you want to continue working to support local communities using your lived experience skillset, whilst also leading, supervising and developing our local peer support workforce?
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a highly skilled individual to join Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) as an Advanced Lived Experience Practitioner, overseeing the development, growth and support of our peer workforce across our inner London Boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust are hosting a virtual afternoon ‘Peer Career Fair’ to discuss a range of roles that are coming up in the organisation, and provide guests with the opportunity to ask questions and network with each other. It’s aimed at anyone that might be interested in pursuing a peer support or lived experience role with our organisation. It’s taking place on Zoom, 12.30-3.30pm on Wednesday 29th September, click here to sign up."
King's Improvement Science Patient and Public Involvement Co-ordinator
The post-holder will bring together their lived experience of using health and/or social care services with research and project management skills to coordinate patient and public involvement (PPI) for King’s Improvement Science (KIS). KIS is a King’s Health Partners funded applied research and evaluation programme, hosted within the Centre for Implementation Science (CIS) at King’s College London."
Are you looking for a facilitation role within a self-defining community of people with experiences that have sometimes been called mental illness?
The Bridge Collective is a company whose members are creating a democratic community where people who have experiences, beliefs, and feelings that have sometimes been labelled as mental illness are welcomed and can talk about these experiences freely, safely and without judgment; a place to participate in friendship, support, learning, teaching, discussion, being active, and making a valid contribution both within the collective and the wider community.
The postholder will be working alongside existing Bridge Collective employees to learn and support a variety of roles guided by our mission statement. We very strongly encourage you to attend at least one of our open activities if you are thinking of applying and don’t already know the Bridge, visit this website.
For further information and any questions: Visit this link.
The connected communities programme is now open to groups with an income of up £300,000, without a limit on potential grant size. Special priority is given to organisations led by those from Black and Minoritised groups, and to Deaf and Disabled people's organisations.
Analysis of our funding found that 41% of our 2020 grants went to organisations led by those they serve, and included 16 ‘Black or Minority Ethnic’ organisations, 12 migrant organisations, and 11 Deaf and/or Disabled People's Organisations (DDPOs). Whilst a reasonable number of grants are awarded to organisations led by Black and minoritized community-led organisations the value of grants given to these groups was less than the grants awarded to other groups.
As part of an ongoing assessment of our grant-making, the Trust is exploring how we can ensure such imbalances are addressed. As one step towards this, Connected Communities will now give priority to organisations that serve and are led by people from Black and minoritised groups, and organisations that serve and are led by Deaf and Disabled people. We have also narrowed the focus of the work to the provision of social welfare advice and/or strengthening the voice of communities affected by poverty and inequality."
The Wakeham Trust provides grants to help people rebuild their communities. They are particularly interested in neighbourhood projects, community arts projects, projects involving community service by young people, or projects set up by those who are socially excluded.
They favour small projects - often, but not always, start-ups and they try to break the vicious circle whereby you have to be established to get funding from major charities, but you have to get funding to get established. The best way to understand the kinds of projects they support is to look at their website."
Small Grants Scheme
"Our Small Grants Scheme is designed to support charities registered and operating in the United Kingdom, especially those working at grass roots and local community level. Online applications can be accepted from charities that have an annual turnover of less than £150,000 per annum.
Our focus will be to make one-year grants only to cover core costs or essential equipment, to enable ongoing service provision, homeworking, or delivery of online digital services to charities that can show financial stability. Organisations can apply for between £1,000 and £10,000. There are no deadlines for submission. Online Applications can be received at all times, but it may take up to four months to obtain a decision from Trustees.
The NLCF has reopened its "Awards for All" funding for Voluntary and Community Organisations in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. This funding aims to provide a quicker way to apply for smaller amounts of funding between £300-£10,000 for up to one year.
"Our funding can be used to deliver activities, but also to help your organisation recover, adapt and thrive. This includes supporting you to become more financially resilient and operate in a more digital world. We can cover core costs to help your organisation develop, share learning with others, support you to test activity designed to help your organisation work in new ways and help you better understand the difference you make."
Mental health services and support have been at breaking point for a very long time, and many people with a mental health condition / illness or who experience emotional distress will suffer in all manner of ways given the outbreak of Covid-19. We have set up a fundraiser for those who struggle with mental illness who are facing financial hardship during these unprecedented times who are living in the UK."
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