Just a quick reminder that we don’t hold meetings in December for either the Carers group or the Forum.

We’d encourage everyone to go to the Stand up for Stigma events – especially the final performance of the year on Wednesday 10th December at Central Library in St Helens – 5pm to 7pm.

Self help guides

Open Mind have recommended a series of self help guides that can be downloaded in several formats including videos and booklets – http://www.ntw.nhs.uk/pic/selfhelp

St Helens – Health & Wellbeing Strategy – consultation available online at


More information at http://www.sthelens.gov.uk/health

Lesley brought us up to speed on future together trips including Blackpool Lights on 25th Oct 11am from URC £8 each. Also Oasis Groups Xmas party Mon 10th Dec 2012 full xmas dinner with music, karaoke and free raffle!!!

Discussion about Heath Park Lodge shutting and where that leaves together not just for offices, but for funds also.

Discussions and updates from various groups:

  • Mind have a Holiday to South Wales next month and news of next years Butterfly ball.

  • The Hearing Voices Group now meets in the community room in Central library 3pm til 5pm on Fridays – contact Clinton Cropper or Stuart Kenyon

  • No Secrets St Helens meet on Wednesdays.

  • Dual Diagnosis still meet 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of month at Newton Library 1pm til 3pm and the other Fridays at Millennium centre St Helens 2pm til 3pm – contact Chad Fairhurst or Christine Ollerton

  • Various Wellbeing projects – contact Mark and Lynn Swift

  • Photographic Minds Saturday mornings at Millennium centre – contact David Hemming or Alan Sherratt

Heath Park Lodge: The Council is working with all organisations based in the building as they make alternative arrangements.

Stewart Assessment Centre: the teams are getting ready to move into their temporary bases.

September’s steering group meeting was cancelled. The next meeting is on 15th October. Please bring your views on the new pathway to Karen at the regular forum and carers meetings as well as through the Oasis group, or by email. You can also speak to St Helens LINks, 5 Boroughs themselves or by using Patient Opinion’s website. But, however you do it, please feed back your experiences – both good and bad – so that we can all work together to get it right.

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short,

but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”


Some people have mixed views on the idea of recovery in mental health. What was once a revolutionary idea from people who were using services, at a time when they were told there could be no recovery from mental distress, has now been taken up by the Department of Health and others who can see that we all need a ‘life beyond illness’. But many of us are frightened that recovery might mean discharge from services before we feel ready, or a loss of benefits and forced return to work.

Recovery focussed services need to be developed as a partnership between everyone involved, including service users and carers. For this to happen, we all need to know about recovery.

Come along to our event on 9th October to find out more. Please see the attached flyer and booking form. Places are free for people working or living in St Helens.

Heath Park Lodge:

The meeting was alarmed to hear that Heath Park Lodge would be closing. The Hearing Voices group had been told they cannot meet there any longer and the organisations who are based there have been told they need to find alternative accommodation from next year (April 2013).

We have heard no public consultation about this change. We have asked the Council for more information. 

Stewart Assessment Centre:

This building is changing and will become the base for all the teams as well as an Outpatient area for depot clinics and other appointments. We have been invited to the meetings at an early stage. We looked at the current plans for the building. Comments included:

  • What will happen to Vista Road and Lord St?

  • What will happen to the building at the front of the Peasley Cross site?

  • There was a lot of enthusiasm for the cafe area to include an outside area, and it being service user run.

  • We hope that they will learn from Knowsley House – people do not like the reception area there because of the atmosphere. They described that they want all areas to be welcoming and warm, with a choice of magazines; as opposed to NHS, with blue logos and posters stuck everywhere.

  • We want the rooms to be multi-purpose and flexible, with as many rooms as possible available for potential service user use.

We do want to be involved in decisions over colour schemes and names. We are pleased to have been consulted and shown the plans.

Benefits news: One person mentioned the long backlog of appeals locally. This is a national problem. It leaves people feeling like they are waiting and can’t move on either way.

Volunteers: Some people have volunteered to help out with our Recovery event – if you’d like to help out too, please get in touch.

Rethink Mental Illness have a large range of factsheets – including one on Work Capability Assessments – http://www.rethink.org/how_we_can_help/our_advice_information/factsheets_az.html


This meeting was a joint meeting with St Helens LINks to provide another opportunity for people to find out about and feed into the Acute Care Pathway (ACP) at 5 Boroughs. Karen is the Forum and Carers representative at the ACP steering group and Emma is the LINks representative (she couldn’t attend today’s meeting, so Roman attended in her place).

Several people had sent apologies specifically because of this joint meeting. We have therefore agreed that future joint meetings will be on separate days to our regular Forum. The joint meetings are open to all and we encourage people to attend to make their views known.

We had a long and productive discussion. Key points included:

  • the Trust is still working closely with Open Mind

  • there should now be no ‘wrong referrals’

  • if someone leaves the service, they should be able to get back in promptly if necessary

  • Vista Road will still be there

  • dual diagnosis – they welcome evidence about services that are working well elsewhere

  • the recovery teams will start in December

  • service users and carers will be involved in developing the recovery teams

Lesley described that she has found the new assessment and home treatment teams are working well and have a very positive and pro-active approach.

Charles Walker MP launched a new report into the quality of Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) services across England. The report suggests that an ‘opt out’ system would be better than the current ‘opt in’. More information available at: http://www.uclan.ac.uk/schools/school_of_health/the_right_to_be_heard.php