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Archive for May, 2010

Art exhibition for World Mental Health Day

  • Helena Homes are supporting the exhibition at the Godfrey Pilkington Gallery. The title of the exhibition is ‘a place called home’ and we are looking for entries from everyone – all ages and abilities.
  • You can enter any form of 2 dimensional work (such as painting, photography, embroidery – anything that can be hung flat on a wall). You need to let us know if you want to enter a piece by 30th July. There will be flyers at the URC.

Time to Change  – national campaign against stigma and discrimination

  • The campaign currently has another burst of activity so you may see the ‘schizo’ ad at the cinema. There has also been a week of pieces in the Mirror. There are new postcards and materials available – see their website where you can order free supplies.  http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

ROLE group’s work on outcomes

  • Karen is part of this North West group who are looking at what outcomes people want from services. There is lots of national guidance that the commissioners and providers refer to, but people feel that they were never asked.

Carers group

  • Mike Smith’s presentation at the carers group meeting – Mike talks about recovery and thriving. He has also been delivering a 6 session course on THRIVE at CDP. Making Space workers have said this has been very inspiring and have recommended that people hear more about it. We agreed to invite Mike to a future meeting (July 20).

News from the self help groups

  • Noone from any of the self help groups was at the meeting. The self help group development worker has left and we are waiting for news about a replacement.

Collective Voice – regional network

  • The next event will take place in the week 5-11 July. Look out for more details. They are looking at doing more outreach events.

Alison Brook – PPI manager for the PCT:

  • She is working on a database of people who have been involved. There are 3 levels of involvement depending on how much people want to contribute. Get in touch with her to be involved.

The single point of access – Open Mind.

  • Their leaflet says that they can provide “information, advice and access to local mental health services for anyone over 16 years old”. Their phone number is 0800 183 0206. Fiona spoke to our meeting in January about the service. We will invite her to a future meeting to provide an update.

Mental health network meeting – 8th June

  • Colin Vose (commissioner) invited LINks, development workers, service users and carers to discuss involvement across Halton, Warrington, Knowsley and St Helens. Colin buys services for all the Boroughs from 5 Boroughs. Commissioners need to make sure they involve people so that they can make appropriate decisions about which services to pay for.
  • Paul Greenwood, Mental Health Improvement Programme, and Roman Babij, Collective Voice, spoke about their work.
  • LINks and development workers described how they are working in each Borough. They each work in different ways  with mental health and have different priorities. St Helens has 3 priority workstreams, none of which are focussed on mental health.
  • There will be future meetings. If you want to get involved please let us know.

5 Boroughs Joint Service User Carer forum – 4th June – Hollins Park

  • John Heritage provided the take it to the top session.
  • There was a long discussion about smoke free wards – they are looking at how to improve information across the region for people with experience of distress.
  • The assistant director for Human Resources, Tracy Hill, breifly described ‘Open your minds’, the NHS work to support staff’ own mental health.
  • Roman Babij updated on Collective Voice dates and the meeting with Colin Vose as above.
  • Dennis Dewar described the new discharge pack which is given to all people leaving the wards. This gives lots of local information about topics including emergency support and housing as well as care plans. Some people said they hadn’t received it. If you have recently been discharged and haven’t received a pack, please do get in touch either with ourselves or with Dennis.

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The presentation at the meeting was given by Brian  from the dual diagnosis group.

The group is for people who have mental health problems and also drug or alcohol abuse. That can be self medication.

He then went on to show a film they had made to let people see what they do to try to help. The group was set up to offer support because of isolation, lack of understanding and fear. It is to help people meet others in the same situation as themselves. The group is the first of its kind in britain and they do not exclude anyone from attending the group.

The film shows the group members talking about their situations and preparing to put on their play.

John suffers from OCD. The fear of people who dont understand, who laugh at him, makes him feel isolated. Ste had been addicted to drugs but was accepted. He lost all his family, but is now saying he’s changed and is dealing with his addiction with the groups help. Rob is an alcoholic and suffers d/d. He says he can change from happy to sad in minites. He gets friendship and help from other group members. John has not seen his family in 7 years says its painful. He now has more confidence and self esteam, and did a sponsored walk for the group. Graham didn’t care or even wash: he just did drugs as he felt worthless. But he is now getting better and going around teaching others about the problems of drug use.

The group has had a positive effect on at least 30 members. Team members have written and performed a play showing an insight to their everyday lives. They have taken it all over the country to various audiences including  teenagers.

Tony, who acted in the play, says it helped him get rid of his pent up emotions. Phil, who was in and out of Winwick Hospital, was at drop bottom, but since joining the group, he has now started writing poems. David who has OCD and tourrettes  says he gets a lot of help from the group and no-one judges him.  Les has now done the play 5 times. He was an alcoholic and sleeping rough. He  has now got his own place and says alcohol lost all his family and friends but he has now got security back in his life.  Gwen has been in the group 4 years and has a history of overdosing, cutting and self harming and used to drink 3 litres of vodka and cider a day. She doesn’t think like that anymore due to the groups help and understanding.

The play has been a great success and has been to Liverpool. Manchester and Cambridge as well as St Helens theatre where, it filled 130 of 150 seats. It is shown mainly to young people and teenagers to show what their lives could be like with alcohol or substance abuse. It has had a really great effect on them and the group thinks it has helped change the ideas and attudes towards people like them.

It is not a clinical group, it is a users group giving them enpowerment to run as they want to. It is supported by Christine from 5 Boroughs. The funding for the film  came from a businessman in Liverpool whose son suffered from d/d and died by suicide. (Mark McQueen fund)

Now they are looking for a room that can be manned at all times and a permanent phone line. They are hoping that 5 Boroughs will  help and support them in selling their film.

Candidates from the three main parties had also been given an open invitation to attend the group as requested by forum members.

Dave Watts MP spoke about the improvements in services, and especially the NHS, inder Labour. He emphasised that there will always be specific and different issues in St Helens because of its industrial past which has led to some high rates of ill health. He had been to footsteps, the carers support service for people who support a family member with experience of substance misuse. He explained the move from overnight care to day care and highlighted how people don’t want to be in hospitals any more.

Sam asked for his support for the mental health research network. Dave explained how members of the government weren’t allowed to endorse organisations. If he was returned as a backbencher, he would certainly look at it again.

We thanked Dave for taking time out from a busy schedule to meet with us and for his support of mental health.

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