This bulletin is FREE. You can join as a member here- it's free for individuals and user-led groups. If you would like to make a donation to help support the continuation of this work you can do so here.
Please note: sharing is not endorsing
Sometimes, we may feature items that you (and we) may not necessarily agree with but we feel it's important to make our members aware of what is happening out there.
A great way to have a look at what's been happening over the last year is to go to our News page, and visit the pages below.
Thank you so much to those who responded last week to our question about how the end of shielding has impacted on you. What we are hearing from you is that many of you are worried that the actual risk has not changed, and that you might lose some of the protections granted under shielding. Please continue to email us your thoughts and experiences so we can share your concerns (anonymously) with policy makers.
We're excited to share with you that thanks to some funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to help us get mental health resources to people who might be digitally excluded, we have funded an additional print run of Asylum Magazine for Women in Secure Hospitals and Books Beyond Bars to distribute to women and LGBTQIA+ people on forensic wards and in prison. We're hoping to build on this work, and we will share this with you soon.
Finally, a quick policy update. We understand that the White Paper for the Reform of the Mental Health Act is now planned for October or November this year- we will keep you posted on any developments on this, and will be reaching out to you for your views as soon as it is published. We are supporting Liberty's campaign on the Coronavirus Act (you can sign their petition here) as well as People First's Accessible Information Campaign (you can read more about it here). I also want to highlight our member Self Injury Support's campaign highlighting concerns around the "Call Before you Walk" A&E proposals, and how this might impact treatment for self-harm. You can find out more and fill in their survey here.
PS: Just a reminder that we are recruiting for a Project Manager to lead on a project building the capacity of user led and community led groups in London - you can apply here(and please share it widely). The role is home based so you don't need to be based in London.
Articles, blogs, vlogs, and more
We want to use this space to feature members' blogs, posts, vlogs, podcasts and articles. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org you would like to share yours with the network here.
NSUN has launched a new project alongside National Mind and led by Rai Waddingham to help understand more about this thing some people call "lived experience leadership".
"Over the next month I will be listening to as many people as possible (through an online survey, interviews and focus groups) to explore:
What does ‘lived experience leadership’ mean to different people?
In what ways is it a helpful or harmful concept?
Examples of projects, initiatives and situations where people with lived experience have been involved in organising and/or influencing.
What can help to nurture / strengthen this?
What can stop it, or make it difficult?
How can you get involved?
If you would like to share your thoughts and experiences on ‘lived experience leadership’, please complete this anonymous survey.
If you would like an easy read version, please email email@example.com. If you would like the assistance of a translator, or know someone who would benefit from this, please tell us.
A PDF version of the survey (compatible with screen readers) and a Word version are available on this page. You can also record your answers and send over the audio recording to Rai.
The survey is also currently being translated, including in Welsh, and will be added to the project's homepage here.
We have set up an interactive whiteboard, with 5 questions. You are welcome to write, draw or add images to them.
Join the collaborative whiteboard (others can see, and add to, what you have contributed) here.
Share your thoughts in your own personal whiteboard (you won’t be able to see anyone else’s contributions, and they won’t be able to see yours) here.
Interviews and Focus Groups:
If you would like to take part in an interview (phone or online) or join an online focus group, please fill in this form. All focus group and interview participants will receive £50 (in money or vouchers) in thanks for their time. Interviews and focus groups should take up to 1 hour of time, each.
Interviews and focus groups will also be available in Welsh."
Connecting remotely: peer support conversations
Mind, Bipolar UK, Get Up Set Up, NSUN, Together for Mental Wellbeing
These sessions are useful for any of our member groups who use, or want to use, peer support:
"We have come together to host a fortnightly series of online peer support conversations. Our aim is to provide a safe space for us to connect, share learning and our experiences.
There will be a set topic in each breakout room, which will be informed by what you tell us you want to talk about. You can chose with room you would like to join on the day. Common topics include;
• Values and principles of peer support • Getting there: remote and online options • Managing the online space • Facilitation skills • Safety and security • Creative ways of connecting • Wellbeing & Self Care • Returning to face-to-face and other options
This event will be hosted on Zoom. You can join via video call on your laptop or smart device. You can also call in by phone from anywhere in the UK. We will send out the joining instructions to you in a confirmation email. If you need any help signing up to this event, please do get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seminar Series: A game of two halves? Challenging assumptions about co-production
Centre for Society and Mental Health
"‘Challenging’ is a term often used to describe co-production. But ‘challenging’ traditional power structures and ways of working is a force for change.
Join this interactive seminar facilitated by Niccola Hutchinson-Pascal from the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research and Dr Sarah Carr from the University of Birmingham Institute of Mental Health who, along with guest experts by experience, will share their experiences of co-production in practice, and explore the challenges – real and assumed - of co-production in mental health research.
This seminar is one of a series organised by the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health. Find out more on our website.
Sep 9, 2020 03:15-4:45pm (includes breakout rooms for discussion)"
"We're running "Care, COVID, & Self-Harm" on 24th Sept, 5-7:30pm: a user-led space for people with experience of self-harm to think about the impact of Covid-19 on our lives and our experiences of care.
The event is free and funded by NSUN. Please do join us - register here."
NATIONAL STATEMENT OF INTENT: Pledge to Reduce Ethnic Inequalities in Mental Health Systems
NSUN supports Synergi's national pledge calling on senior leaders in NHS trusts, public bodies & commissioning to declare their commitment to reducing ethnic inequalities in mental health systems.
Find out more & sign up to be a signatory or supporter here.
Read the pledge signatory statements and the other support statements here.
Akiko Hart, CEO of NSUN, said:
“The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) wholeheartedly supports this Statement of Intent calling on the senior management of Mental Health Trusts, commissioners and public bodies to address institutional racism and reduce ethnic inequalities within mental health systems. The largest public health issue faced by people from racialised communities is systematic and structural racism, the outcome of privilege and white supremacy, and the discrimination and poorer life chances this results in.
NSUN believes that senior leaders must work with service users and community groups to enact service-level changes, report on progress made on tackling ethnic inequalities, provide crucial leadership and take ownership, support progressive research, and enable inclusive local, community-based change. Action must go much further than recommending one-off equality training sessions for staff. Key to this is recognising the value of the painstaking work done by voluntary, community, user-led and advocacy groups that have fought against discrimination, and working alongside them.”
Tell Parliament to scrap benefits sanctions for good
"The government's recent decision to reintroduce benefit sanctions and conditionality (suspended since March) as job centres reopen across England is cruel, immoral and unfair. There is no evidence to show sanctions work and plenty of evidence about the adverse impact they have on health. Sanctions are financial penalties whereby claimants are docked at least four weeks’ benefit income if they break conditionality agreements, such as failing to attend a jobcentre interview or to spend enough time searching for jobs.
Please act now and email your MP to get rid of sanctions once and for all:
Submit the form on this page- it will find your MP
Edit our template letter as much or as little as you want on the next page
Readings: Wolframe, PhebeAnn Marjory. (2012). "The madwoman in the academy, or, revealing the invisible straightjacket: Theorizing and teaching saneism and sane privilege". Disability Studies Quarterly, 33(1). Available at https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3425/3200."
The Reading Group also hosts "spin-offs" - conversations and webinars on specific topics.
The next three, in September, November and December, are: "How do we neurodiversify research methods?", "What does it mean to do community-based disability research?" and "How can we account for privilege in disability research?".
"After our worst sectioning a 'support worker' said 'what dya need books for yr homeless?'. This socially-distanced indoor solo show is about our revenge - thirteen years of reading, graduating from the open university, 2016c.e... this highly visual performance is all about giving voice, changing 'the' narrative, rewriting the future. theres crimescene tape for all and a zine and an online map for your own responses to be added onto.
Title of this show is a line from Engels - conditions of the working class in England and this is his 200th birthday year
5pm, 27 September. Pay what you decide Location: The Holbeck (run by Slung Low), Jenkinson Lawn, Holbeck, Leeds, LS119QX Tickets: click here"
"Do you have recent experience of working for a UK Midlands-based employer whilst receiving treatment from mental health care services?
Mind are looking for up to 12 people with this experience (either currently or within last 6 months) to take part in an online paid workshop. Your input at the workshop will help shape a new pilot service aiming to help employees managing mental health problems to feel more engaged and supported at work.
The workshop will take place online at 10am Tuesday 22nd September. More information or sign up hereby Thursday 10th September 12pm.
We hope to engage as diverse a range of people as possible and particularly welcome people from LGBTQIA+ and BAME communities and those who identify with having a disability to tell their story.
Senior Programme Officer, Midlands Engine Mental Health and Productivity Pilot"
Apply for free training for groups around self-harm and distress
Self Injury Support
"We are very lucky to have some funding from the lottery which means we can offer free self-harm training and support to five groups around the UK. Our aim is to try to work with groups who might not otherwise access this type of training and/or would also have a lot of connections within their area or sector to be able to share learning."
Your group will recieve an online training package and support thinking about practical issues and best practice.
To be sent the short application form, please email email@example.com.
Surveys and involvement opportunities
New survey request - remote communication technology
Shaping Our Lives
"During the Covid19 pandemic many appointments, meetings and leisure activities have taken place remotely. Shaping Our Lives want to find out if remote communication technology is a good way for you to take part or receive a service. Or, if remote ways of communicating are difficult or impossible for you to use.
Shaping Our Lives would be very grateful if you answer a short survey. This survey is only for d/Deaf and Disabled people.
You will not be asked to give your name and all answers will be kept anonymous. What you and other people tell Shaping Our Lives will then be used to tell people in national and local government the support d/Deaf and Disabled people need to use remote communication technology and if it is suitable all the time.
To complete the survey you can either: 1. Click here 2. Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send a Word version of the survey for you to complete. 3. Call Becki on 07956 424511 and do the survey over the telephone or by Zoom.
The survey will take about 15 minutes."
Ethnic Inequalities and Severe Mental Distress
Synergi and the University of Manchester
"Research particpants needed - you are eligible to take part if you:
have lived experience of paranoia, hearing voices and/or unusual beliefs that are distressing
self-identify as African, Caribbean, South Asian or mixed heritage
are 18 years of age or older
What is the research about?
Our research explores the life stories of ethnic minority people –those with severe mental distress and those who work with them. We are interested in understanding experiences of various forms of inequality over the life course, how that impacts well-being, and experiences of using and/or working in mental health services or alternative forms of support.
Why are we doing this research?
We want to bring lived experiences and hidden voices to the forefront to increase understanding on the nature of inequalities. People’s stories can have a powerful impact on policy makers. We aim to use them to inform policy development to improve mental health care for ethnic minority people.
What does taking part involve?
A 1-2 hour audio/video-recorded in-depth biographical/life story interview either in person or virtually via Zoom platform. Compensation for time will be provided.
"COVID-19 has shone a light on the failings of the benefits system. The Commission on Social Security, which is led by Experts By Experience, wants to build a better one and want to know what you think about their proposals."
Have your say here. Deadline for submissions is the 30th September 2020.
Papers and reports
National Mapping of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Mental Health Services
BAMEStream and The Ubele Initiative
"Implications and Impact: A Case for Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Services in Response to Covid-19 is the newly released report detailing the findings from BAMEStream's National Mapping of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Mental Health Services Survey.
Organisations including NHS Foundation Trusts, Local Authority commissioners of health and wellbeing services, as well as Voluntary and Community Sector organisations across England and Wales responded.
Covid-19 has exposed yet another inequality that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities experience in the United Kingdom (UK). The two analyses by Public Health England (2 June 2020 and 16 June 2020) revealed that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are at higher risk of contracting the virus, increased risk of severe symptoms and higher rates of death. This survey highlights that a mental health epidemic is coming and that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are likely to be at the forefront.
You can read the report, watch the launch event, or find out more here."
Report on COVID-19, Punjabi communities, and mental well-being
"Research has shown that communities racialised as Black and minority ethnic (BAME) have experienced COVID-19 and lock-down distinctly differently from their counterparts racialised as white, with BAME groups more likely to die from COVID-19 once diagnosed and reporting higher levels of mental distress.
Compiled by a team of grassroots groups and activists with academic and lived expertise, Taraki coordinated this research to consider the impact of COVID-19 and lock-down on the mental well-being of Punjabi communities through outreach involving 470 Punjabi respondents sharing their experiences, challenges, and supports.
This research covered three broad questions:
What is the impact of COVID-19 and lock-down on the psychological well-being of Punjabi people with previous mental health challenges?
What is the impact of COVID-19 and lock-down on the psychological well-being of Punjabi people without previous mental health challenges?
What supports have Punjabi communities accessed during COVID-19 and lock-down?"
Impact on mental health care and mental health service users of the COVID-19 pandemic: a mixed methods survey of UK mental health care staff
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
"The COVID-19 pandemic has potential to disrupt and burden the mental health care system, and to magnify inequalities experienced by mental health service users.
We investigated staff reports regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in its early weeks on mental health care and mental health service users in the UK using a mixed methods online survey. Recruitment channels included professional associations and networks, charities, and social media. Quantitative findings were reported with descriptive statistics, and content analysis conducted for qualitative data."
Below The Radar: grassroots organisations and grants
Local Trust, NCVO and 360 Giving
This new report looks at the fact that grassroots organisations and below-the-radar organisations are less likely to recieve multiple grants compared with registered organisations like charities.
"This paper uses the 360Giving dataset to find and explore grassroots non-profit organisations operating at the local community or neighbourhood level. Such organisations are vital to UK civil society but often fall ‘below the radar’, and have previously been under-represented in research and statistics. This paper demonstrates the value of data-sharing in bringing them into the spotlight.
Using available data from 2016 to 2019, NCVO and 360Giving found that over 13,000 of these small – yet important – organisations are in operation across the UK. Documenting the existence of these organisations and the funds they distribute is essential if we are to truly recognise the enormous value they add to communities, and support their vital work."
We are looking for someone with relevant skills to deliver a 6 month project funded by the City Bridges Trust via the London Community Response Fund.
The project follows on from the NSUN Covid-19 Fund and is looking to build the capacity of London-based user-led and community-led organisations which support people living with mental ill health, distress or trauma.
You will be conducting focus groups, surveys and interviews to find out what user-led/community-led groups in London need to thrive, and then putting together and delivering a programme of activities to support them. The project will have a particular focus on groups led by and for people from marginalised and racialised communities.
The role is home-based. Specifically we are looking for someone with the following skills and experience:
- Excellent project management skills; - Proactive, flexible and responsive, with strong interpersonal and relationship management skills; - A good understanding of the challenges facing user led and community led organisations; - Lived experience of mental ill-health, distress or trauma, with a passion for NSUN’s mission and work;
"We are looking for new trustees who are passionate about mental health research and the difference it can make to people’s lives.
We are about to start developing a new strategy for the organisation, in light of Covid and with a focus on anti-racism. We are looking for people to join us to help shape the work we do and the difference we can make over the next few years.
We actively recruit people affected by mental health issues into all roles in the charity, including as trustees. We are particularly interested in hearing from young people and People of Colour, as they are currently under-represented on our Board.
The trustee group formally meets three times a year at the charity head office in London (currently by Zoom and this is likely to be an ongoing option). Trustees may also provide support in other ways such as chairing events or providing training to staff, attend events and activities with staff. The position is voluntary and not remunerated, although expenses are paid.
To apply for this role, please send us an up-to-date CV and a statement/covering letter explaining why you want to join the McPin Foundation as a trustee. Potential and passion are more important to us than a full CV. Our belief in “expertise by experience” means we would like to hear about your unique life experiences and why you feel they make you suitable to join us.
Do contact us to find out more, and send statements and CV’s to: email@example.com"
Closing date: 11th September 2020
Your Space Community Wellbeing Development Worker
"SALARY: starting at £21,589 pa / pro rata HOURS: 16.5 hours per week
This is an exciting opportunity to work in a new service delivered by Touchstone, Womens Health Matters, Holbeck Together and Leeds Beckett University to deliver a Wellbeing Space and Support Space across South and East Leeds.
We are looking for a proactive, outgoing individual who is confident in using coproduction and asset-based community development approaches to improve individual and community protective factors and reduce risk factors associated with mental health and wellbeing. You will design and deliver activities with targeted communities and the wider workforce to reduce risk factors associated with mental health and wellbeing. You will have experience of motivating women to have positive conversations about mental health, delivering both group and individual work, in the form of training sessions and wellbeing activity and be able to work with vulnerable or marginalised communities and volunteers successfully. The post requires a mix of standard hours and out of hours including some weekends."
For more details, see the listing here. The closing date is the 8th September 2020.
We understand that the experiences of Black and mixed communities is lacking from existing research. We also know that research is rarely carried out by people who look like us and share our lived experience. We want to do our part to change this. We are setting up a panel of people who live in the UK who are open to sharing their experience and views on topics that matter to them.
Black Thrive Lambeth and Global Black Thrive CIC aim to use this information to influence academic research, policy, practice and service design in Lambeth, London and the UK. This form will take a few minutes to complete and will give us an understanding of who we have managed to reach.
Sign up here. For other ways to get involved, click here.
If you have any queries please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07828 891 398"
Senior Peer Support Worker
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust - Harrow
"Do you have your own personal lived experience of recovery from mental health challenges and of accessing services?
We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated individual who would be committed to working with the Community Access Service (CAS) as well as the multi-disciplinary team alongside newly appointed peer support workers to deliver support to those individuals accessing services.
Only candidates who have personal experience of mental health difficulties and have accessed support from secondary services should apply.
Closing date: Sunday 13th September
Interview date: TBC
For further details / informal visits contact:
Fungayi Useya on 07703 886 936 or email@example.com
Francesca Lepori on 07415880943 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"Funding size: £5,000 to £60,000 Application deadline: 20th September 2020, 5pm (Development Programme)
This fund is aimed at organisations whose work has been affected by COVID-19 and who need emergency funding to continue to deliver essential services. It will support them to develop the digital, data and design capabilities that allow them to address urgent issues and serve the most vulnerable.
We are particularly interested in applications from:
User-led organisations: organisations where the majority of the leadership (i.e. at least half of senior team and trustees) are from the communities the organisation serves.
Organisations led by and for marginalised communities and those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis (particularly Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic; Deaf and Disabled; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and/or women-led groups)"
For all the details of the funding programme on offer, click here.
Hardship Fund for the Mentally ill during COVID-19
"We are Jo Edge and Bethan Edwards, both survivors of mental illness and the psychiatric system. Jo is a doctor of medieval history, currently working at the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, beginning a stint as Women's Rep on the National Executive Committee of the University and College Union in May 2020. Bethan is a Research OTemployed by the NHS, and is also undertaking her PhD . She is professionally registered with the HCPC. Both Jo and Bethan are Welsh.
Money will only go to those who need it: folks who do not have access to other available funds from employers or through the government.
£585,000 of emergency funding for LGBTQ+ organisations and groups!
"LGBTQ+ organisations and groups across the UK will soon be able to apply for grants of up to £15,000 to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
METRO Charity in partnership with NAZ, Equality Network, The Rainbow Project, Umbrella Cymru, Yorkshire MESMAC and Birmingham LGBT, will be cascading the £585,000 fund from Comic Relief, raised from ‘The Big Night In’.
The partners will be convening grants panels in each nation - Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England to ensure the maximum reach to grassroots community-led LGBTQ+ organisations across the UK. Organisations and groups with income under £100,000 will be able to apply for over 100 grants ranging from £500 to £15,000.
Register your interest in applying for a grant here"
The UKRI Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network is delighted to launch our second plus projects funding call. Grants are available for small projects up to £25k, on the theme of understanding violence, abuse, and mental health. We will commission research that aims to understand:
(1) The common sources of harm in the interconnected systems encountered by victims and survivors of violence and abuse?
(2) The pathways to experiencing – and/or using - violence and abuse, and their relationship with mental health problems?
(3) Which factors are protective against violence, abuse, and mental health problems across the life course, disaggregated by gender, and which could be potential targets for interventions?
Grants can be used to deliver a targeted piece of research or to pump-prime larger projects. We welcome applications from a broad range of disciplines and the inclusion of early career researchers, users/survivors, and third sector and other non-academic organisations as co-investigators. We expect the meaningful involvement of survivors and of third sector organisations within all applications.
Applications are now open and close at 5pm on 11th December 2020. We anticipate making 4-5 awards.
Full details on how to apply, including the call specification and frequently asked questions, can be accessed from our website here. Information about the projects funded through our first funding call, on the theme of measurement of violence, abuse, and mental health can be found here."
Covid-19 information and updates
NSUN is a community of people and groups who come together to support each other. We come together in many ways: physically, digitally through social media or through sharing information.
During these uncertain times, we will try and share with you what we can that is useful. In particular, we will think of ways of being together, when we can’t physically be together. And finally, we will continue our campaigning role, ensuring that policy and legislative changes are scrutinised and are rights based.
Submissions to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (July 2020)
We have submitted written evidence to the JCHR's inquiry: "The Government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications". You can read it here.
You can also read the British Institute of Human Rights' submission via the previous link or see a summary from them here.
NSUN is a VCSE (Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise) partner of the Dept. of Health and Social Care's (DHSC) Health and Wellbeing Alliance (HWA).
Covid-19 Health Inequalities Task and Finish Group
Meetings are continuing with HWA members being linked in to the Task & Finish group, its priorities and subsequent actions. We will update you with news when we have any.
NHS Volunteer Responder scheme
If you or someone you know requires help with things like shopping, collection of prescriptions and the 'check in and chat' facility for those feeling lonely, you can now call the scheme directly on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm). Currently you can't self-refer online but this may change. For those who need help with transport e.g. to hospital appointments, you still have to be referred by the NHS, your local authority or via a local VCSE organisation.
Please see the RVS website for more info and eligibility criteria. This list has been recently updated to confirm that if you are "vulnerable due to a mental health condition" you can access this service.
Food for vulnerable people
Further conversations are taking place with Defra about access to priority supermarket deliveries (which are still oversubscribed) and a number of other commercial food box schemes they have collated in this guide.
We will update you on these items when we receive more news. In the meantime, if you have any questions you would like us to put to DHSC, please email us at email@example.com.
Food banks - find your local one and donate/help out
Food banks are playing a very important part in ensuring people have enough food to eat in these challenging times.
If you are either in need of help yourself or would like to find out how you can help, find and contact your local food bank here: