NSUN 13th June 2016


NSUN news

Thank you to all who could attend our annual gathering in Birmingham on 8 June and make it the wonderful unique event that it was. We are currently working on materials from the AGM, from written notes to filming and photography. The picture above is a very small rendition of the amazing graphic record by Debbie Roberts. More materials will follow soon. For the time being, we can share a report which was launched during the afternoon session by partner organisation Shaping Our Lives: 'From Mental Illness to a Social Model of Madness and Distress' is by Peter Beresford, Rebecca Perring, Mary Nettle and Jan Wallcraft.

This publication explores the views of mental services users/survivors and disabled people about how they felt mental health issues were understood in society and how they themselves understood them. Most participants felt that a medical model dominated both public and professional thinking and that this was stigmatising and unhelpful and that further discussions about more social approaches to mental health were needed.

You can also read the NSUN 2014-2015 Annual Report here and the report from the 2015 AGM here.

Member Blogs

A Good Harvest—R.D. Laing’s son Adrian reviews John Foot’s The Man Who Closed the Asylums - R.D. Laing and Franco Basaglia, the subject of John Foot’s The Man Who Closed the Asylums, were contemporaries in close dialogue in the critical psychiatry movement that sought to revolutionise the field of psychiatry. They emphasized examining the structural bases to mental illness through a critique of capitalism and were aligned with the radical social movements that coalesced in 1968.

In his own review of Foot’s book, Laing’s son Adrian also observes this confluence of agendas, and praises Foot’s efforts to disassemble the ‘lazy narratives’ that obscure our understanding of Basaglia.

Healthy Lives London project questionnaires

Even if you cannot attend the Healthy Lives workshops about improving physical health for people living in London diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, you can still feed into the project by sharing your views via questionnaires:

  • Please complete this if questionnaire you are someone living in London who has been diagnosed with a serious (enduring) mental illness.
  • Please complete this questionnaire if you are are a family member or unpaid carer living in London.

N.B. If you already completed the survey and did so before 4th June, could we kindly ask you complete it again. Due to a technical problem responses were not being fully captured.

Co-produced Innovation in Mental Health event


The Social Care Strategic Network for Mental Health and NSUN co-produced conference will be taking place Wednesday 15 June - 9.30 to 4.30
Indian YMCA,  41 Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 6AQ

To book and find out more click here. Download the flyer here.

#NSUNthrive campaign

It is 10 years since the 'Doing it for ourselves’ service user conference in Birmingham.  It was at this conference in 2006 that the vision of the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) was taken forward, leading to funding in 2007 and becoming a fully independent organisation in May 2010.

We have survived!  To enable us to continue to connect, communicate and influence, we need your help. We want to continue to communicate weekly with over 5000 people. Please spread the word to help raise funds to continue our work through our #NSUNthrive10 campaign. You can also raise money by shopping online with the  Giving Machine


Previously shared information available online

Please visit our website to find involvement opportunities, jobs and events we shared in previous e-bulletins. This includes our guides to support involvement in reducing the use of restraint in mental health settings.


Opportunity: Director of Service User Involvement

Together is a leading organisation in its approach to service user involvement and leadership, committed to learning from the experience of people who use mental health services to improve the support it offers.

Following the recent retirement of a long-serving director, Together is looking for someone to fulfill the role of Director of Service User Involvement.

Candidates must have lived experience of using mental health services and be able to demonstrate using this experience positively in their work.  Candidates must also demonstrate how they bring the collective perspective of people who use mental health services.

As a member of the leadership team, you will play a crucial role in helping Together meet its strategic objectives:  You will work with senior colleagues to ensure that service user leadership is at the heart of everything the organisation does.

You’ll also promote the organisation through networking and relationship-building, to influence and keep abreast of developments in service user involvement to ensure our work continues to reflect the most innovative practice.

You will be an outstanding communicator with senior management experience.  An understanding of the broader policy context affecting Together’s work is essential.

In return you will receive excellent benefits, including pensions scheme and opportunities for training and development.

Successful candidates will require a DBS check.

For an informal discussion with the Chief Executive or a member of the board with lived experience or to make an application, please email Alison Shapton.

Closing date: 29 June  2016


Nottingham City CCG have launched two opportunities for VCS organisations and individual patients to work with them in developing NHS health services across Nottingham City. 

They are seeking Patients and VCS organisations to express their interest in one of the following roles:

Patient Leaders –  will work alongside City doctors, health managers and sit on our People’s Council to improve local services. Training and development will be provided. 

VCS People’s Council Members – will represent the needs of different communities on the People’s Council to improve local services. 

You can find more detailed information about these opportunities and how to express an interest on the website.

The Closing Date for receiving Expression of Interest forms is:  Friday 15th July at 5pm

If you have any questions or would like to discuss these opportunities further then please contact the Engagement, Communications and Inclusion Team on: Telephone: 0115 912 3384 or email

Leeds Involving People (LIP) is a user-led organisation that brings a united independent voice to the development of health, social care and community services, ensuring that the wisdom of lived experience is at the centre of decision making processes.

Together We Can is LIP’s mental health lived experience network and co-authors of the Leeds Mental Health Framework 2014-2017, a major plan to change the way mental health support happens in our city. Member representatives participate in all the meetings relating to each area of the Framework, covering topics like crisis and urgent care, community-based support and the information available.

Zip is our dual diagnosis action group which works to bring positive changes to services. Dual diagnosis is a way of describing the combined challenges of mental health and drugs/alcohol. It is not rare that a person will be dealing with both at the same time but the way services are set up means that sometimes people fall between the gaps. All Zip members have experience of the combined challenges of mental health and drugs/alcohol.

Find out more and how to get involved here.


Living Well and Turning Point are seeking to employ new Health Trainers and Health Checkers for the Three Borough Health Trainer Service - supporting clients across Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster.

Health Trainers work on a one-to-one basis with their clients, providing them with the support, information and motivation they need to achieve a healthier lifestyle, while signposting them to appropriate local services.

Health Checkers work in the community to deliver NHS Health Checks that can assess a persons risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia. The aim being to detect any potential problems early so people have the opportunity to make changes that may improve their health and prevent future illness. 

Links to the full Job Descriptions and online application process are below and the deadline for all applications is 17 June 2016

Apply for the Health Trainer position here.

Apply for the Health Checker position here.


Healthwatch Croydon offers free training on the NHS and how it works

Healthwatch Croydon is providing training to a limited number of people to assist Healthwatch in delivering its core function of ‘making the views of local people known’.

If you would like to help increase Healthwatch Croydon's capacity to fulfil its priorities as the Patient Voice for Croydon and gain ‘five star’ training from the national pioneer in patient representation, book your space now and register for the following days.

Day 1

  • Date: Wednesday 20 July 2016
  • Venue: Carers  Support Centre , 24 George Street , Croydon, CR0 1PB  (Room 2)
  • Time: 10.00am -13.00am

Day 2

  • Date: Wednesday 27 July 2016
  • Venue: Carers  Support Centre , 24 George Street , Croydon, CR0 1PB  (Room 2)
  • Time : 13.00pm -16.00pm

If you are interested, please reply by Friday 17 June 2016


Introducing Sean Burn

Sean Burn is a writer / performer / outsider artist with active involvement in disability arts. He is part of mad studies north-east. Much of Sean's creative work 'reclaims the languages of lunacy' based on his own experience as psychiatric survivor.

Sean has toured plays, created sixty short films which have screened worldwide, created sound-art. His most recent visual poetry exhibition is still alone in her voices informed by living with psychosis. This haunting exhibition opened in Newcastle spring 2016, touring until 2018. 

His third full volume of poetry is that a bruise or a tattoo? was published by shearsman press in 2013 and includes bastilles englan - about escaping asylums.

Contact - burn.sean@googlemail.com / www.gobscure.info


Event: psychologists and the benefits system

Psychologists need to support people through the benefits system, whilst also working to affect necessary changes in the system. This event will explore some of the debates, challenges and skills necessary to take on these responsibilities.

The day will include presentations from public health, sociology, people with lived experience, clinical psychologists, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and other professionals. There will also be workshops focussed on skill development, with particular attention on report writing, navigating the benefits system and DWP safeguarding procedures.

This will be a challenging, supportive, thought-provoking day. 

Friday, October 7, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM at St Thomas Centre - Ardwick Green North, Manchester, M12 6FZ

For more information and to book your place, please visit here


Service User Researcher

  • Employer: Population Health Research Institute, St George's University London
  • Salary: £25,023 to £30,738 Plus London Allowance of £2,943
  • Part time (17.5 hours) fixed term for 9 months
  • Closing Date: Tuesday 21 June 2016
  • Interview Date: Thursday 30 June 2016
  • Reference: 518-16

Part time (17.5 hours) fixed term for 9 months

The Population Health Research Institute are seeking to employ a service user researcher who is interested in drawing on their own lived experience of mental health problems for the purposes of their work in this service user-led evaluation of a local primary care mental health service. The post-holder will be a key member of the evaluation team from the Population Health Research Institute at SGUL, reporting to another service user researcher who will project manage the evaluation, and working alongside a group of local service user co-researchers.

More information and how to apply: please visit here


Important research projects and upcoming events - including free places offered by Healthcare UK

We already shared these with you in previous editions. You can still take part in the research projects and register for the events. Don't miss out! Click on the titles for more information.

Reasearch / involvement projects:

Events - some with discounts for NSUN members:


Public health commissioning in the NHS 2016 to 2017

This agreement sets out outcomes to be achieved and funding provided for NHS England to commission public health services. The original agreement which dates from 2015 was updated on 10 June this year.

Establishing the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch

HSIB Expert Advisory Group makes recommendations for improving safety investigations across healthcare.

Leaving the EU could mean less money for NHS

Leaving Europe 'could slash billions from NHS budget', Heidi Alexander warned in the Independent.

Regional daily's mental health campaign praised

The Health Secretary has praised a regional daily’s campaign to get better mental health care for children.

Jeremy Hunt Q&A: Brexit, junior doctors and leadership ambitions

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt talks Brexit, health check ups and avoiding his own "Reagan moment" with the Portsmouth Herald.