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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.
We have just published Indonesian, Tagalog (Filipino) and Vietnamese translations of our Keeping Control resource for anyone who has experienced abuse, victimisation or hate crime directed at them because of their mental distress or psychiatric diagnosis. You can find the new translations here.
The resource, by Alison Faulkner, is also available in Arabic, Bengali, English, Gujarati, & Urdu. An easy read English version is also available.
You can also listen to short interviews with Alison Faulkner, Christine Khisa, Ian Loynes, Sarah Carr and Tina Coldham about the Keeping Control project and addressing discrimination people face within systems here.
DWP ‘offer to settle’ policy – call to share experiences
The Public Law Projectis representing a client bringing a systemic challenge to the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) ‘offer to settle’ policy. We’re putting a call out to our members to share experiences of this process.
The process involves the DWP contacting Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants after Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) but before appeal. Many claimants have understood that the DWP will only increase their award if they agree to withdraw their appeal. The DWP call this their ‘lapsing policy’ and are defending the claim. Many claimants have been told that the ‘offer’ of the increased award will only be available for a certain amount of time. Many are only told about their appeal rights against the new increased offer if they accept it and agree to withdraw their appeal.
The case will appear before the High Court in July and we are supporting a call to capture experiences of this process since September 2020 to present. In August of last year, the DWP updated guidance on this process, however, there are concerns these practices are ongoing. If you, or someone close to you has experienced this process since September 2020 and you’d be happy to talk further, please contact Policy Officer Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles, blogs, vlogs, and more
We want to use this space to feature members' blogs, posts, vlogs, podcasts and articles. Please email us at email@example.com you would like to share yours with the network here.
Sweatbox(CW: strong language and potentially distressing content, including references to drug use) 15+
Screenplay by Chloë Moss via CleanBrk
Events and membership news
StopSIM Coalition Petition
#StopSIM - Halt the rollout and delivery of SIM and conduct an independent review
"This petitionwas started by the StopSIM Coalition. We are a group of mental health service users, survivors and allies calling on NHS England to halt the development and rollout of ‘Serenity Integrated Mentoring’ (SIM), created by the ‘High Intensity Network' (HIN), with immediate effect, and to conduct an independent review. We believe that SIM is an unacceptable step backwards in disability justice and has the effect of criminalising mental distress/illness.
We ask you to sign this petition, calling on NHS England to:
Halt the rollout and delivery of SIM with immediate effect, as well as interventions operating under a different name, which are associated with the High Intensity Network (HIN).
Conduct an independent review and evaluation of SIM in regards to its evidence base, safety, legality, ethics, governance and acceptability to service users."
The #StopSIM Coalition has released statements which you can read on their website (you can also sign up to the mailing list via this website), and a write to your MP tool. They are currently taking a short break from social media to focus on their own mental health after weeks of tireless activism, but saw the High Intensity Network "close permanently" recently, which you can read about here via Disability News Service.
RCPsych have today (14/06/2021) published a new statement: "RCPsych calls for urgent and transparent investigation into NHS Innovation Accelerator and AHSN following HIN suspension" - you can read it here.
We're launching our online peer support groups for lived experiences workers from June 2021. The groups will be hosted on Zoom during weekday evenings, and will be for lived experience activists, peer supporters and broader lived experience workers.
You don't need to be in 'paid work' to be part of these groups, volunteers are welcome to attend. The groups are intended for people who consider their activism, peer support or lived experience activities to constitute some kind of 'labour', and would like to support from others in a similar position.
The first groups in each series will be to decide what we're going to do with the time, how often we would like to have them and to set up our group agreements. We won't be doing much 'peer support' in group one, more getting ourselves set up with a good group!"
These are intended as safe and accessible spaces for men of colour to regularly gather in solidarity and healing.
The next couple of sessions will be focused on creativity as medicine. We will move through discussion, creative practices and movement as a means to share and reflect. The space will be a chance for us to reconnect to our innate creative potential as a form of healing within a community, following practices deeply rooted in various traditions.
The intentions for this space are on how we can break down patterns of harm in our communities, including gender hierarchies and gender based violence, by exploring and sharing the different forms of trauma and oppression that men of colour experience.
These circles are open to cis and trans men/trans masculine people of colour. The group will be capped at 10 participants, and sign up is first come, first serve."
Action On Inequalities: What should be in post-COVID recovery plans?
The International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO) was set up to provide decision-makers in government at all levels with access to the best available evidence on the social impacts of the pandemic and the effectiveness of policy responses, covering policy areas from education and care to mental health and housing - with particular emphasis on the UK's most vulnerable communities.
At this event we will bring together policymakers and researchers, business and civil society, from across the UK to look at what’s known - and what now needs to be done - with regard to the many socioeconomic inequalities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. How can the direct and indirect scars of COVID-19 best be healed? Where are the priorities for action clear – and where do we urgently need more research?
Areas of focus: BAME communities; women; job insecurity and precariousness; young adults; data inequalities, gaps and deficiencies; place-based inequalities; and disabled people."
(Post)pandemic futures: social security reimagined
The social security system entered the pandemic ill-equipped (Garnham, 2020). Successive rounds of ‘welfare reform’ and cuts to entitlement had left it unable to provide decent support to families already in poverty and to those pushed into poverty by the pandemic itself. The £20 uplift to Universal Credit, introduced in April 2020, and extended for a further six months in March 2021, was itself a tacit acceptance that we went into the pandemic with benefit levels too low.
This Covid Realities webinar will explore the possibilities for an improved, perhaps radically different, social security system to emerge from the pandemic. It will consider what the alternatives are, and the prospect of seeing long-lasting change take place. We will hear from:
● Kimberley McIntosh, senior policy and research officer, Child Poverty Action Group
● Kerry Hudson, award winning author of ‘Lowborn : Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns’
● Aurora and Catherine, participants in Covid Realities
● Kitty Stewart, Associate Professor of Social Policy and Associate Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), London School of Economics"
COVID-19 and Co-production in Health and Social Care - Book launch & talk
Kingston and St Georges, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education
The groups most severely affected by COVID-19, with so much to share from their lived experience seem to have largely been ignored both in preparing for the pandemic and in developing responses to it. Yet increasingly we know that innovative participatory and co-produced approaches to research, policy development, and service design can ensure this experiential knowledge makes an important and unique contribution and tackles inequalities in society. This book addresses these issues and offers ways for developing inclusive co-produced approaches to respond to health emergencies at a time of major change where the search for fit-for-purpose solutions is especially critical.
With special participation of the authors and open call Q & A
Please note: this event will be held online. Joining links will be shared after registration. "
Activism and Tech: New ways of working and organising
While the intersectional exploration of disability and race is a small but growing area of study, this intersection has received insufficient attention in disability studies, in race studies as well as in intersectionality studies. More intersectional knowledge construction around the interrelatedness of race and disability and racism and ableism, and which rejects the medical or deficiency model of disability, is urgent. With the flipped webinar ‘Intersectional Approaches to Disability and Race’ – consisting of blog posts and panels – the Intersectional Neurodiversity and Disability Reading Groups seek to contribute to this discussion.
The flipped webinar consists of blog posts and a webinar with panels.
What is a flipped webinar?
A flipped webinar is not a traditional webinar, where participants present their work live. In this flipped webinar, participants will submit a blog post beforehand; the blog posts will go live on 1 July 2021 (they will be published below). The participants and audience will read the blog posts before the webinar. The webinar itself, with four panels, will be on 9 July 2021 (from 2pm UK time onwards). After a brief summary of each blog post, read by the facilitator, each panel consists of a Q&A: the panellists will respond to questions from other panellists, from audience members, and from the facilitator.
Everyone who attends is expected to abide by the ground rules of the reading groups. If you are unfamiliar with these, please consult them now.
Save the date and join the conversation in this live session Thu 24th June 7.15pm! #BMHLive will explore the impact of systemic, societal & cultural challenges on Black men. Join in, watch live and hear from lived experience & professional knowledge on black male trauma from Adira and Sheffield Flourish."
"queeries is a monthly mental health advice column written by aisha mirza (@uglyinahotway)& published by gal-dem. each month since january 2020, aisha has answered a question about mental health submitted by a queer, trans, non-binary &/or intersex black person or person of colour. you can ask a question about anything that's on your mind - health, love, dreams, insecurity, desire. the question should be personal to you and your experience.
Music4Mindfulness is an inclusive 12-week online programme of support for anyone who wishes to improve their health and wellbeing through an introduction to classical music. The 12-week programme of videocasts will be streamed online. Videos will be made available every Friday at 10am starting from 30 April.
Tony Fisher a professional photographer from Riddings in Derbyshire, received an Arts Council England Grant in 2019 to take a series of portraits and nature photographs exploring the theme of isolation, prior to Covid 19.
“This on-going project ‘Only the Lonely?’ is a much-needed investigation into one of the biggest crises facing many people in the UK today: the increasing epidemic of profound loneliness and disconnect from modern society. Tony comes from a place of experience in that he has experienced bouts of loneliness; yet his project triumphs in that he has reached out to community groups and societies across the UK to document, highlight and champion their lives – and in the process has enriched his own. Peter Bonnell Senior Curator, QUAD
Involvement opportunity - Black men's lived experience of detainment
"Are you a man of Black African Carribean or Black Mixed background and have lived experience of either being detained under the mental health act or supporting someone who has?
Manchester Metropolitan University is working on a research project funded by the National Institute for Health Research. We are looking to recruit members to an Expert by Experience Group to be an integral part of our research team. The research will co-produce an intervention with you that prioritizes what is important to Black African Caribbean and Black mixed men who have experience of being detained. The aim is to reduce rates of detention and improve experiences.
For further information or to express and interest:
We are looking for 8 Young Co-producers with interest in and/or lived experience of mental health issues and racial injustices. This is an opportunity to reimagine and affect change within mental health support. Young Co-producers will drive the development of our new programme. As a Young Co-producer you will co-produce training and recruitment of other young people, help design the programme brand, get involved with peer-research and share your ideas and insight to advise the project team on the change you want to see within mental health support.
The role will run from July 2021 to April 2022 and is paid, supported role for young people aged 16 – 25. Being a Young Co-producer will help you develop your skills and experience. As part of your role, we will provide training and support to help you establish yourself as a Young Co-producer, including project management, goal setting and reflective practice."
Research study on access to secondary mental health
We are keen to hear the views of service users and carers. Tell us what is important to you in relation to remote mental healthcare.
Researchers at The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute, the University of Cambridge and the McPin Foundation are working together to understand how access to secondary mental health services were affected during the pandemic.
In the first stage of the study we interviewed service users, carers and mental health professionals about care during the pandemic. One of the issues discussed was the increasing use of remote care. By remote care we mean care provided by phone or online video consultation.
In this next stage of the study we’d like to learn more about what service users and carers think about remote mental healthcare. We will ask you to read a list of statements about remote care, based on the findings of the first stage of our study. We want to understand how strongly you agree with each one or how important you feel a particular issue is.
You will receive a £25 shopping voucher after completetion of all three surveys
Young Minds is looking for ten young people and ten youth workers to work in partnership with who live in London.
If you’re aged 14 to 25 and have experience related to mental health (including personal experience or caring for someone with a mental health problem) or an interest in mental health, then you can apply to become an Activist!
We recruit Activists from a range of backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, sexualities and religions – everyone’s welcome and the mixture of backgrounds of our Activists is part of what makes it so exciting."
Black Women’s Mental Health Research Advisory Board: Members Needed
We are interested in understanding Black women’s experiences of depression. In particular how race and gender might shape these experiences (especially as they relate to ideas about the "Strong Black Woman"). We hope that findings may influence the development of culturally appropriate mental health services for Black British women.
We are looking for people to help shape and provide feedback on our research.
We would like input from: - Black women with lived experiences of depression - Practitioners of any ethnicity that have worked with Black women contending with depression - Policy makers that have experience(s) and/or expertise in shaping policy and/or practice guidelines for common mental disorders - Any other individuals that have the expertise as it relates to Black women and mental health."
Papers, reports and policy
Roadblock to Recovery
Citizens Advice Bureau
"This report highlights mental health practitioners’ experience of dealing with people’s practical problems, and what this means for people’s experience of care. Practical problems are part of everyday life, but also can be life-changing events, such as losing one’s job or caring for an unwell relative. Mental health services are seeing an increase in clients with practical problems, taking up significant clinical time. Clients often struggle to attend their appointments, or complete their course of treatment, and as a result, struggle to recover from their mental health problems. The impact of practical problems is severe for clients, practitioners and mental health services.
"This report highlights the difficulties that those of us with mental health problems might experience when trying to get help to manage our Universal Credit (UC) account online. The report highlights:
Many people with mental health problems rely on support from friends and family to help them manage their benefits — from filling in complex forms, to dealing with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) correspondence and challenging decisions about their benefits.
But people are struggling to get this support with Universal Credit, because of flaws in the design of the Universal Credit system. To nominate someone else to help them, people have to navigate similarly difficult and unclear processes to those that they were trying to get help with in the first place
Without support, people are at substantially higher risk of being sanctioned by the DWP, and some people are being cut off from Universal Credit altogether.
"Research released for Carers Week has found that carers lost, on average, 25 hours of support a month they previously had from services or family and friends before the pandemic.
72% of carers have not had any breaks from their caring role at all. Of those who got a break, a third (33%) used the time to complete practical tasks or housework, and a quarter (26%) to attend their own medical appointments.
Three quarters (74%) reported being exhausted as a result of caring during the pandemic, and more than a third (35%) said they feel unable to manage their unpaid caring role.
Good Work : Employment support for Black people with long-term health conditions
McPin - NSUN response
“Systemic discrimination reduces opportunities for Black people with long term health conditions to build social, cultural, and financial capital... Black people with long-term health conditions have less access to good work and are more likely to be exploited via precarious work arrangements. Experiences of racism, ableism and discrimination affect preconceptions about employment, leading to 'imposter syndrome' and internalised stigma.
Commissioned by Black Thrive Lambeth to inform their employment project, McPin’s Good Work report reviews support interventions for Black people with long term health conditions. Its recommendations refocus attention on employer’s attitudes and practices as well as emphasising peer mentoring and co-design of support programmes. Despite the Equality Act 2010, many Black people with long term conditions continue to face structural racism and ableism in the form of persistent barriers to both accessing and staying in work. Understanding and funding interventions to support those facing multiple disadvantage is key. This must co-occur with a commitment to recognise and address structural discrimination in practice as well as words. Multiple disadvantage has a cumulative impact across the life course, and we must break the cycle with urgent action.
Trying something new: Improving boys’ and young men’s mental health through sports and creative activities.
Centre for Mental Health
"The briefing is based on our evaluation of Comic Relief’s ‘Thriving Not Just Surviving’ programme, which offered tailored mental health support for boys and young men. It finds that embedding mental health support in sporting and creative activities can engage young men who might find traditional services less welcoming or relevant. Our work also highlights profound effect Covid-19 has had on boys’ and young men’s stress and anxiety levels, particularly for young men experiencing racial injustice.
Peer Support is one of the best forms of therapy for helping people recover from mental distress and its impact on their lives. People who have experienced mental health issues can offer insight and understanding and can draw on their own experiences to help. They can offer an effective complement to the professional support offered by trained mental health workers.
You will be working as part of our Recovery and Outreach team, creating links with primary care and voluntary sector organisations to support people. You will carry out initial assessments and short-term interventions enabling people to identify their needs and goals.
For further details/informal visit please contact Raisel Byrne on 020 8458 2223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org"
The World Reimagined is a ground-breaking, national art education project to transform how we understand the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its impact on all of us. The World Reimagined will see trails of large Globe sculptures in cities across the UK in May-July of 2022, created by artists to bring to life the reality and impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The trails will be the centre of a broader learning and engagement programme - with hundreds of schools, community groups, sporting and cultural institutions taking part across the country.
To make this vision happen we are recruiting committed and connected community coordinators across our host cities to work with organisations and individuals who are committed to fighting for racial justice and increasing levels of awareness around issues of race, history and identity.
You will be responsible for working alongside grassroots organisations and inspiring individuals working in and across communities in a host city. Connecting the themes of The World Reimagined to the excellent work carried out by organisations across the country"
Stay Safe East is a unique organisation: we are one of only two funded Deaf or Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPO) in England and Wales working on Domestic Abuse and the only specialist DDPO working across all areas of abuse (domestic and sexual violence, hate crime, harassment and institutional abuse).
The Finance and Operations Manager is a member of Stay Safe East’s Management Team (MT) and oversees the day to day functions of Stay Safe East’s operations under the direction of the CEO and with the help of the Administrator. "
Board Director: Non-executive Position (CIC accounting, Budgeting and/or Fundraising on a pro-bono basis)
SEEAC is currently seeking a new non-executive director to strengthen its board and support and develop the work of this passionate organisation as the next few years will bring enormous challenges. The new director will join a small board of committed professionals passionate about helping and empowering Southeast and East Asian migrants, refugees and citizens who live in the UK. All directors will work closely with our very dedicated staff and volunteers’ team. We are specifically seeking directors with expertise in the following fields: CIC or charity organisation’s accounting, budgeting, and fundraising."
Freelance workers (x2)
"We Coproduce are currently looking for freelance workers to support our growing Coproduction network, if you have experience in coproducing in healthcare or in sustainability please contact email@example.com to receive our expression of interest form. Rates are competitive.
We are also looking to recruit a freelance worker with a strong knowledge of diversity and inclusion, with a passion to make real and lasting change. If this is you please contact firstname.lastname@example.org "
Voice4Change England (V4CE) are pleased to announce the Windrush Community Fund. This fund is open to charities, community organisations and/or grassroots groups to bid for financial assistance from a £500,000 fund to help ensure that organisations and groups can raise awareness and support engagement among those eligible for the government’s Windrush Scheme and Windrush Compensation Scheme."
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.
The Trust also supports innovative projects to promote excellence in teaching (at any level, from primary schools to universities), though it never support individuals. They aim to refresh the parts that other funding sources can't reach, especially new ideas and unpopular causes. Because they do not appeal to the public for funds, they can take risks.
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 Trust does not favour any particular areas of activity. 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, in any field, across a wide range of activities. Please note we are not able to support individuals. Online applications can be accepted from charities that have an annual turnover of less than £150,000 per annum.
What the Foundation will Fund
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.
Our priority will be to support local charities still active in their communities which are currently delivering services to the young, vulnerable, elderly, disadvantaged or the general community either directly or through online support if possible.
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 also help you to make useful connections with other organisations, whilst also supporting infrastructure to nurture grassroots community action.
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."
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."
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