Welcome to the Monday 29th July 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin - full of news, views, events and involvement opportunities. If there's anything you would like to share with the wider network please send to email@example.com.
We sometimes get criticism that we post too many London-centric events. The fact is that as London is so highly populated it is somewhat inevitable that we will post many events that are in London. HOWEVER, if we receive news of events in the wider England network* - we welcome them and we include them!
So, if you have an event you want us to publicise then please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget this is YOUR network so please get involved!
* (Our funding and articles only cover us to work in England although we still welcome members from all over the UK and indeed the world!)
Request for bulletin feedback
We have been sending the NSUN weekly bulletin to our members since March 2009. We would appreciate you telling us what (if any) difference the information we've shared has made to you, personally or professionally.
Have you got involved in research, workshops or projects?
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Have you got involved in any national initiatives?
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Last week NSUN Associate Dr Alison Faulkner presented at the Westminster Forum Conference 'Next steps for mental health services in England'. Alison spoke about the realities of living with mental distress; the diagnosis and treatment. She highlighted that there is very little choice as most treatment is still medication and criteria for other services are highly restricted.
Alison also spoke about how the Mental Health Act exists as a threat, the poor levels of inpatient care, retracted services and welform reform that is resulting in people with long-term mental health difficluties struggling financially.
Alison ended the presentation with some hopes for the future.
Support for user-led organisations and user groups - where much innovation takes place (Acknowledging peer-led peer support as a route to empowerment and innovation / Community support following discharge)
Evolving awareness of trauma … ‘What happened to you?’
Value of narratives under our own control
Genuine involvement and coproduction of people with direct experience at all levels – e.g. using the 4Pi framework
A maturity in understanding about the contribution of survivor research and experiential knowledge
'On 22 July, disability rights activists staged a peaceful protest outside the head office of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in London. The action drew attention to the rising number of deaths as a result of DWPbenefit cuts. Ahead of the protest, artist and activist Dolly Senwrote to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to draw attention to this situation. Both failed to respond.'
Published in The Canary 22 July
Community Theatre in Coventry
Launched at the NSUN members' event last October, Underground Lights is a new independent community theatre organisation based in Coventry. It is run for (and ultimately aims to be run by) adults experiencing social disadvantage, homelessness and/or mental health issues.
Founded by Emma Ormerod and Lewis Ford, Underground Lights has gone from strength to strength in a relatively short period of time and have proudly announced the publication of their first annual report.
Underground Lights are now running regular drama workshops and have just set up the Creative Cafes. For more information visit thewebsite.
Involvement opportunity - Putting power into participation
Shaping Our Lives and the University of Essex are looking for people with lived experience of using services to take part in a focus group in London on Friday 20th September.
The Putting Power into Participation focus group is to look at findings from research completed by the University of Essex. They want to find out about how involvement and participation can lead to direct policy change.
Involvement activity with people with lived experience of using services is often done within current policy frameworks. This can reduce the authority and usefulness of service user views, undermining their contribution.
Researchers at the University of Essex want to:
1) encourage more democratic and less tokenistic involvement;
2) widen the diversity of participation;
3) enable service user-led organisations to challenge policy directly.
This workshop will explore ways in which service users might be enabled to directly challenge policy decisions that affect them. The emphasis will be on identifying processes in and around participative democracy.
The workshop is scheduled to coincide with a range of publications: a journal article entitled ‘Stigma and mental health: exploring potential models to enhance opportunities for a parity of participation’; a ‘Questioning the Patient Participation Imperative’; and ‘silencing patients’.
Details of the focus group:
Date: Friday 20th September 2019
Time: 11am to 3pm
Venue: Voluntary Action Islington, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP
Refreshments and a light lunch is provided.
Travel and support: Reasonable travel and support costs will be funded.
Involvement payment: There is an involvement payment of £25 for those people who wish to accept it.
If you want to attend, please contact Becki Meakin at Shaping Our Lives on
Manchester Users Network featured in Big Issue North
Mental Health Advocacy Blocked
'Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH) is under fire due to policy changes that are said to be limiting peer advocacy and service user involvement.
In January, GMMH published its latest service user and carer engagement policy (SCE), which changed the definition of “service user” to mean anyone who has been discharged from its mental health services within the last 12 months. Only they are allowed to be involved in decision making about GMMH services.'
Women’s strength in the face of uncertainty and distressing dilemmas
Women who take medication for a mental health condition face difficult decisions if they want to have a child. Should they stop taking their medication or reduce the dose because of an unknown risk to the baby? What if this makes their mental health deteriorate?
The situation is especially complicated when there is a lack of clear evidence-based guidance on best medical practice as this means clinicians are also having to deal with uncertainty.
A new paperin the peer reviewed publication Mental Health Review Journal describes research undertaken by peer researchers and staff at the McPin Foundation and researchers from University College London. It describes the decision-making journey of 12 women who take antipsychotics, for which there are no drugs licensed in the UK for use during pregnancy.
The main messages from the research are summarised in this illustration/poster, which can be downloaded here (on the back, there are a list of ways practitioners and services could make the decision-making process easier). We are hoping that this illustration might help women start a conversation with their healthcare practitioner or that it could be used as a teaching aid to help raise awareness of this difficult situation. Anything that readers can do to help spread the word would be much appreciated!
Readers may also be interested in this blog by peer researcher, Charlotte Walker, on her experiences of taking part in the research.
Our aim is to Re:CREATE Psychiatry, and our goal is to lead towards a future healthcare model that is nurturing and service-user focused.
'Stemming from the learning of The Dragon Cafe, our latest creative project is an exploratory platform to enable medical and psychiatric professionals of all levels to better understand and collaborate with people who have lived experience of mental ill-health, and for service-users to in turn better understand medical professionals. The aim of RE:CREATE Psychiatry is to inspire new thinking about how mental health services can be more creative, more healing and more human for all. For more information click here.'
Type: Permanent Location: Borough, London Salary: Starting at £35,500 Hours: Full time (37.5 hours per week) but part-time working can be negotiated
Can you inspire and lead a team? Can you bring your experience and expertise to further develop our organization? Can you support a team of peer researchers to develop their own research and evaluation skills and appropriately use their lived experience in their work?
We are recruiting to a management role within our team in our Research and Evaluation department. This is a key role within the charity, managing a team of four part-time regional researchers, plus office-based staff, developing peer research methodologies and contributing to how we deliver on our mission to ‘transform mental health research’.
This post is open to female applicants only (an occupational requirement as set out in the Equality Act 2010 Schedule 9 – Work: Exceptions, Part 1 – Occupational Requirements).
If you are interested in learning more, please visit the website.
Helpline Partnership is hiring!
JOB TITLE: Trainer and Assessor HOURS: 22.5 hours per week
LOCATION: Home based - with travel within and outside the UK CONTRACT: Permanent
Helplines Partnership require an experienced and highly motivated individual to deliver our remit of training, quality and consultancy activity, working with a wide range of helplines and other services. The ideal candidate will have:
a background in non-face-to-face advice, information and/or support services
experience of designing and delivering training
experience of producing clear and accurate written reports
The role is home-based with a significant number of training courses being delivered in London. Regular travel throughout the UK / Ireland will be a feature of the role. Successful applicants will need to be able to work flexibly within the scope of their contracted hours.
Find out more about this role and others shared by the Helplines Partnership members here.
'Arm in arm' report launched
Examining the relationships between statutory and voluntary sector mental health organisations
The Association of Mental Health Providers (AMHP) published new research, 24 July, examining the relationships between statutory and voluntary sector mental health organisations. AMHP commissioned the Centre for Mental Health to undertake the research as part of their sustainability campaign, launched last year.
According to the report, voluntary and community organisations provide essential support for people’s mental health that complements what statutory services can offer, but financial pressures are putting them under severe strain.
The report Arm in arm, warns that voluntary and community organisations face numerous financial barriers including reductions in local government funding, short-term and ‘more for less’ contracts, unpredictable and delayed decision-making, and the unintended consequences of national policies. Smaller organisations are particularly at risk following the introduction of Integrated Care Systems, limiting their ability to compete for funding on much larger geographical footprints than before.
'Arm in arm is based on interviews with both commissioners and providers of voluntary sector mental health support. It shows that commissioners in both local government and the NHS were keenly aware of the extra value that voluntary and community organisations can bring. Some commissioners had taken action specifically to support voluntary and community organisations to get funding and retain their distinctive approaches. But they were frustrated that competition for contracts often stopped organisations from working well together and could lead to come going out of business altogether.
The report finds that the deepest disagreements between commissioners and voluntary sector organisation often centred on monitoring and accountability. Commissioners need to know that public money was being well spent but most voluntary sector organisations don’t have the data collection capabilities of NHS trusts or larger private sector companies. Some had sought to resolve this through evaluation and qualitative evidence of impact rather than onerous outcome monitoring measures.'
'This report seeks to re-define commissioning beyond this narrow focus on delivery of a service against an identified need and instead establish the principles and mechanisms through which a more open and empowering approach – community commissioning – could be established.
In the context of continuing resource reductions for local government, with many discretionary services being pared back, this research explores how existing resource can be spent on the things that matter for people – and give them a very much greater role in defining this.
This is a Community Paradigm Paper. Community Paradigm Papers are a series of research outputs designed to build on the analysis presented in the NLGN report, The Community Paradigm, published in February 2019.'
'We're looking for inspiring people who want to make a difference in their community or profession. We will fund them to find the best ideas in the world and bring them back to transform the UK'.
The Churchill Fellowships' mission is 'to learn from the world about the UK’s crucial issues and bring those global insights home.' Travel grants are awarded to professors or paramedics, teachers or technologists, students, retirees or people in mid-career. If successful you get to spend four to eight weeks overseas, researching a project of your own choice – one that can make a major difference to your profession or community when you return.
You can apply online until 17 September 2019, for travels in 2020. Shortlisters will be interviewed in January 2020 and winners will be informed in February 2020.
Healthcare (HCUK) Mental Health events
For all the latest upcoming healthcare conferences, please click this link:
The campaign highlights that for urgent medical help, NHS 111 can now be accessed online as well as by phone.
The campaign also reminds d/Deaf and BSL users that the service is available by textphone and BSL interpreter relay service and information about the service is available in alternative formats on the website
The Insight & Feedback team are working with the Patient Experience Network to run four full-day events on “Using insight for improvement” during October. There will be a slot about implementing the new-look Friends and Family Test, following publication of the revised FFT guidance in September, and we’ll have six presentations from some of the best examples of using insight from winners and runners-up at this year’s PEN awards. The events are free and you are welcome to join us. Find out more and register here: Birmingham, 1 October; London, 9 October; Peterborough, 15 October; or Leeds, 23 October.
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