Friday, 6 February 2015

February Newsletter


Dear Friends,

We hope you have been keeping warm in what seem to be the coldest days of the year. Yet we have had a lovely bright sunshine today and Spring seems around the corner. 

While reminding you about our next monthly FEEL meeting, taking place on Monday the 16th of February at LARC, please find a listing of interesting upcoming events.


The Mary Barnes exhibition at the Bow Arts Nunnery Gallery is resulting a valuable time for introspection not only for art lovers, but also for the local residents and the mental health communities near and far.
A walk from the Nunnery to Kingsley Hall is planned for tomorrow Saturday, February 7, starts at 2pm - 3:30pm. You might get your ticket here or just turn up.
We are also fervently looking forward the talk/interview on Tuesday 24 February 7-9pm featuring psychiatrist and personal friend Dr Joseph Berke (Boo-Bah), director David Edgar and actress Patti Love, about the life and works of Mary Barnes herself. Some tickets still available here. The event will be supported by live captions for the hearing impaired.
Address: Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ
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Melancholy and Raving, a  new quarterly mental health variety show is also taking place tomorrow Sat 7 Feb 7.30-10.30pm. Created and performed by people with lived mental health distress, will offer music, comedy and stand ups. MC Kym Being. Free entry and BYO. Leaflet attached to forward on to anyone that might be interested. Please note that the venue has two floors and there is no lift.

Address: The Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton Street, London SE17 3LL

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The Dragon Cafe will be celebrating their 100th on Monday on the 9th of February from 12 to 8.30 pm. 
Special guests for the day will be Lord Victor, Bobby Baker & Maiuko. Also launching the DRAGONCAFE100 campaign to raise funds to keep the cafe running. 

Address: The Crypt of St George the Martyr Church, Borough High St, SE1 1JA

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The Annual Plan Consultations for the The East London NHS Foundation Trust are being held this month:

NEWHAM Monday 9 February 2015 1:30pm - 4pm Circus 2 Stratford Circus Theatre Square E15 1BX
TOWER HAMLETS Monday 16 February 2015 1:30pm - 4pm Toynbee Hall (Lecture Hall) 28 Commercial Street E1 6LS
HACKNEY & CITY OF LONDON Wednesday 18 February 2015 1:30pm - 4pm Lecture Theatre St Joseph’s Hospice Education & Conference Centre, Mare Street E8 4SA

Trust Wide Annual Plan Meeting is planned for Tuesday 3 March 2015 5pm – 7pm Toynbee Hall (Lecture Hall) 28 Commercial Street E1 6LS Pose questions to Trust Directors about services and find out what local people want the Trust to focus on over the next year. http://www.eastlondon.nhs.uk/News-Events/Events/Events.aspx

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4Pi national involvement standards


The 4Pi National Involvement Standards have formally launched at the NSUN AGM 29 January.  The next stage of the work is to look at identifying indicators for involvement based on 4Pi. You can read more here and find out how to share your views.   
Support 4Pi We are asking organisations to support the standards and help to ensure effective involvement that leads to real improvement in our experiences of services and support.   
If your organisation wants to find out how you can support the standards then please visit the website and download the Statement of Intent.

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Human Rights & Mental Health learning event

Would you like to learn more about human rights and how they can be used to improve mental health services? 
NSUN have partnered with BIHR (the British Institute of Human Rights) on a new project looking at how human rights can help ensure people using mental health services are treated with dignity and respect. The project is called 'Care and Support: A Human Rights Approach to Advocacy'. NSUN and BIHR are pleased to invite you to attend a learning event on 12 February, 2-4pm about human rights and mental health. Please email or telephone 020 7820 8982 to book a place. There are other events being held around the country. Read more here.

This learning session will look at:
  • What are human rights?
  • How are our rights protected in law in the UK?
  • Key rights for mental health service users
  • How can human rights be used to challenge poor practice?
Address: The King's Fund, 11-13 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0AN

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Sanctions and mental health: a call for testimonies


Jessica Bell is making a Channel 4 Dispatches about benefit sanctions. Dispatches: The Truth About Benefit Sanctions will explore whether sanctions are being fairly, transparently and proportionately used to make sure claimants are doing all the things they can reasonably do each week to find work or improve their chances of getting work.  Jessica is looking for case studies of people who are willing to tell their story about their experience of sanctions. She is particularly keen to hear from Jobseekers and/ or disabled people who feel they have been unfairly sanctioned and from people who feel that their mental health has been severely impacted by a sanction.  All information will treated in the strictest confidentiality and with the greatest sensitivity.
Telephone 0161 832 2007 or email
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The Hearing Voices Network is hosting a one day event ‘Time for (Real) Change? Is it time for a revolution in mental health and society?’ on Mondya 20 April 9.30am- 5pm, to bring together people and organisations who also seek change. This includes organisations that focus on human rights and social change, as well as those of us who’s remit is more closely linked to mental health. We are hoping that the day will explore what changes need to happen and - importantly - what can we do differently to make it happen.

Address: Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, 25 New Inn Yard London EC2A 3EA

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Following the consultation that took place over last summer, the revised Code of Practice: Mental Health Act (1983) has been published in Parliament in January. Subject to parliamentary approval, it will come into force on 1 April 15. The revised Code aims to provide stronger protection for patients and clarify roles, rights and responsibilities. This includes:
  • involving the patient and where appropriate, their families and carers in discussions about the patient’s care at every stage
  • providing personalised care
  • minimising the use of inappropriate blanket restrictions, restrictive interventions and the use of police cells as places of safety.
  The main changes to the code include:
  •   5 new guiding principles
  • new chapters on care planning, human rights, equality and health inequalities
  • consideration of when to use the Mental Health Act and when to use the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and information to support victims
  • new sections on physical health care, blanket restrictions, duties to support patients with dementia and immigration detainees
  • significantly updated chapters on the appropriate use of restrictive interventions, particularly seclusion and long-term segregation, police powers and places of safety
  • further guidance on how to support children and young people, those with a learning disability or autism.


The news story can be viewed here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-mental-health-act-code-of-practice

Please see the link to the revised Code  here

 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-mental-health-act-1983 
 
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A mental health Survivors movement of "Un-recovered" that opposes the Recovery model has been operating online under the name of "Recovery In The Bin". A new document was released today with 18 Key Principles adopted by the group members
Recovery In The Bin 18 Key Principles, agreed and adopted by group members on 6th February 2015.


* We oppose the ways in which the concept of 'recovery' has been colonised by mental health services, commissioners and policy makers.

* We believe the growing development of this form of the ‘Recovery Model’ is a symptom of neoliberalism, and capitalism is the crisis! Many of us will never be able to 'recover' living under these intolerable social and economic conditions, due to the effects of social and economic circumstances such as poor housing, poverty, stigma, racism, sexism, unreasonable work expectations, and countless other barriers.

* We believe "UnRecovered" is a valid and legitimate self-definition, and we emphasise its political and social contrast to “Recovered”. This doesn't mean we want to remain 'unwell' or 'ill', but that we reject the new neoliberal intrusion on the word ‘recovery’ that has been redefined, and taken over by market forces, humiliating treatment techniques and atomising outcome measurements.

* We are critical of tools such as "Recovery Stars" as a means of measuring ‘progress’ as they represent a narrow & judgemental view of wellness and self-definition . We do not believe outcome measures are a helpful way to steer policy, techniques or services towards helping people cope with mental distress.

* We believe that mental health services are using 'recovery' ideology to mask greater coercion. For example, the claim that Community Treatment Orders are imposed as a "step towards recovery".

* We demand that no one is put under unnecessary pressure or unreasonable expectations to 'recover' by mental health services. For example, being discharged too soon or being pushed into inappropriate employment.

* We object to therapeutic techniques like ‘mindfulness’ and “positive thinking” being used to pacify patients and stifle collective dissent.

* We propose to spread awareness of how neoliberalism and market forces shape the way mental health 'recovery' is planned and delivered by services, including those within the voluntary sector.
* We want a robust 'Social Model of Madness', from the left of politics, placing mental health within the context of the wider class struggle. We know from experience and evidence that capitalism and social inequality can be bad for your mental health!

* We demand an immediate halt to the erosion of the welfare state, an end to benefits cuts, delays and sanctions, and the abolishment of 'Work Capability Assessments' & ‘Workfare’, which are both unfit for purpose. As a consequence of austerity, people are killing themselves, and policy-makers must be held to account.

* We want genuine non-medicalised alternatives, like Open Dialogue and Soteria type houses to be given far greater credence, and sufficient funding, in order to be planned & delivered effectively. (No half measures, redistribution of resources from traditional MH services if necessary).

* We demand the immediate fair redistribution of the country’s wealth, and that all capital for military/nuclear purposes is redirected to progressive User-Led Community/Social Care mental health services.

* We need a broader range of Survivor narratives to be recognised, honoured, respected and promoted that include an understanding of the difficulties and struggles that people face every day when unable to ‘recover’, not just ‘successful recovery’ type stories.

* We oppose how ‘Peer Support Workers’ are now expected to have acceptable ‘recovery stories’ that entail gratuitous self-exploration, and versions of ‘successful recovery’ fulfilling expectations, yet no such job requirements are expected of other workers in the mental health sector.

* We refuse to feel compelled to tell our ‘stories’, in order to be validated, whether as Peer Support Workers, Activists, Campaigners and/or Academics. We believe being made to feel like you have to tell your ‘story’ to justify your experience is a form of disempowerment, under the guise of empowerment.

* We are opposed to “Recovery Colleges” and their establishment, as a cheap alternative to more effective services. Their course contents fall short of being ‘evidence based’, and fail to lead to academic accreditation, recognised by employers.
* We want a robust 'Social Model of Madness', from the left of politics, placing mental health within the context of the wider class struggle. We know from experience and evidence that capitalism and social inequality can be bad for your mental health!

* We demand an immediate halt to the erosion of the welfare state, an end to benefits cuts, delays and sanctions, and the abolishment of 'Work Capability Assessments' & ‘Workfare’, which are both unfit for purpose. As a consequence of austerity, people are killing themselves, and policy-makers must be held to account.

* We want genuine non-medicalised alternatives, like Open Dialogue and Soteria type houses to be given far greater credence, and sufficient funding, in order to be planned & delivered effectively. (No half measures, redistribution of resources from traditional MH services if necessary).

* We demand the immediate fair redistribution of the country’s wealth, and that all capital for military/nuclear purposes is redirected to progressive User-Led Community/Social Care mental health services.

* We need a broader range of Survivor narratives to be recognised, honoured, respected and promoted that include an understanding of the difficulties and struggles that people face every day when unable to ‘recover’, not just ‘successful recovery’ type stories.

* We oppose how ‘Peer Support Workers’ are now expected to have acceptable ‘recovery stories’ that entail gratuitous self-exploration, and versions of ‘successful recovery’ fulfilling expectations, yet no such job requirements are expected of other workers in the mental health sector.

* We refuse to feel compelled to tell our ‘stories’, in order to be validated, whether as Peer Support Workers, Activists, Campaigners and/or Academics. We believe being made to feel like you have to tell your ‘story’ to justify your experience is a form of disempowerment, under the guise of empowerment.

* We are opposed to “Recovery Colleges” and their establishment, as a cheap alternative to more effective services. Their course contents fall short of being ‘evidence based’, and fail to lead to academic accreditation, recognised by employers.