NSUN Bulletin 24th Nov 2016


NSUN news


Black mental health documentary fails to name racism - Raza Griffiths and other Kindred Minds members wrote a complaint to the BBC about their Black mental health documentary “Being Black, going crazy?” screened on BBC3 on 27 September 2016. The BBC responded...you can read the editor's raction below Kindred Minds's letter.

Anguish and austerity - the personal cost of cuts: Austerity penalises the most vulnerable in our society. This government's record is shameful and we most hold them to account, writes Mona Kamal

Call for blogging contributors

Share experiences, suggestions and opinions with e-bulletin readers, website visitors and social media friends. To get an idea of the variety of topics and points of view, please visit our blogs section. To send a blog, please email the editor.

NSUN 10 years anniversary short film available online

You can watch the film on NSUN's YouTube channel here.


Can co-production really transform UK mental health services?

Dr Sarah Carr, co-chair of NSUN Board of Trustees, invites students, alumni, academics, experts by experience and staff to this seminar, which provides an opportunity to critically examine the concept of co-production in mental health at a time when NHS England is saying that “co-production is for the whole NHS”.

21 November, 12.45 pm (seminar to start at 1pm), MG26 Myddelton Street Building 1 Myddelton Street London EC1R 1UW

The seminar will look at the fate of several revolutionary mental health reform ideas originating with the service user and survivor movement and ask if ‘transformative co-production’ can be achieved in mainstream mental health services. The session will also examine evidence on what happened to user-defined empowerment, personal recovery, user participation and choice and control through direct payments once they were implemented into the mainstream. Using this evidence base, critical questions will be asked about the effects of the legacy of old institutional cultures and control mechanisms for achieving co-production in mainstream mental health services.

To register, please click here


Rev. Virginia Thomas, St Andrew’s Healthcare Assistant Chaplain talks about 'the stories that matter' in her piece about her work at St Andrews and the black pioneers that have contributed to our society.

Black Lives Matter: The Past, Present & Future of a Movement for Justice
The plays discussed in this session feature characters that live on the periphery of society. They are set in care homes, children’s homes, mental health hospitals and prisons, where residents are excluded and disenfranchised from their communities. 
Date: Wednesday 28 October
Time: 9.30 - 21.00
Venue: Centre for Research in Race and Rights The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD
Email or call 0115 951 4261

Black Plays Series: On the Margins (Week 3)
Date: Saturday 14th November 2015
Venue: Cottesloe Room, Clore Learning Centre, National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX.
Time: 10.30 -12.45
Ticket: £12
Box Office 020 7452 3000

You can see what is happening around the country on the listings page of the Black History Month website here.


'I Daniel Blake' goes on general UK release

The long awaited 'Palme d'Or' winner, I Daniel Blake, is on general UK release from 21 October.

Veteran film maker Ken Loach (here 'at his most moving -and most vital', says the Irish Times) came back from retirement to make this movie which  reviewers at 'Den of the Geek' describe as ' an urgent societal drama, one that serves as a scathing remonstrance of austerity Britain and the cracks within the welfare system. '

Matthew Turner (iNews) says: ' Filled with tender moments and warm humour, but shot through with righteous fury over social injustice, this is a passionate and vitally important film that demands to be seen '

Meanwhile, the Guardian finds that the movie is a 'powerful parable about the failings of the benefits system avoids irony and cynicism and treats its troubled characters with humour and humanity'.

Variety comes to the conclusion that the 'despair arises out of its perception that it’s the whole impersonal system that’s to blame'.


Compassionate approaches to mental health

18 November, 9am - 5.30pm, Isole Court, Fairwater Road, Cardiff CF5 2LN

What’s it about?

Compassionate Approaches to Mental Health is a one day experiential event designed to inform, inspire and empower people living and working with mental health issues.

Who’s it for?

Anyone curious about a fresh approach, including people and families with lived experience of mental distress, frontline staff, managers, clinicians, policymakers and Third Sector staff

Who's speaking?

Influential speakers and facilitators who are passionate about changing the script around mental health, challenging stigma and raising expectations

To find out more and register a place please click here


Work Capability Assessment and Traumatic Brain Injury

Rebecca Potts is carrying out this project as part of a Clinical Psychology Doctorate based at Lancaster University.
Rebecca would like to invite you to take part in her research project, which involves interviewing you about your experience of the Work Capability Assessment.

The Work Capability Assessment is a checklist introduced by the government to assess whether somebody is able to work, and therefore whether they should receive disability benefits.

This study aims to gather the views of people with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on what it is like to take part in a Work Capability Assessment, whether that is completing the ESA-50 form or going on to attend a face to face assessment.

  • Do you have a diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
  • Are you aged between 16 and 65?
  • Have you needed to claim Employment and Support Allowance following your brain injury?
  • Have you taken part in a Work Capability Assessment (WCA)?

If you are interested in taking part, please get in touch. Rebecca would be happy to provide more information or answer any questions you might have.

07908 613788 r.potts1@lancaster.ac.uk


SSRI users suffering severe side effects take their case to Parliament

The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire Programme has publicly revealed that people given SSRI's found that the medications ' can become the problem that they're then used to treat '

Whilst doctors believe that ' that for most people, the drugs are effective', it is thought about one in 100 people experiences severe side-effects as a result of taking SSRIs.

People who say their lives have been ruined by commonly prescribed antidepressants, known as SSRIs, took their case to Parliament on Wednesday 19 October. Some users say the tablets have made them suicidal.

You can read the full report by the BBC online here

This week the BBC also reported on a teenager having a 'terrifying experience' on an adult ward in Cornwall. Sasha, 16,  was on the ward for three months as there are no beds for children with mental health conditions in the county


Mental Health Resistance Network to protest Mind's involvement with the DWP

Mind's policy officer Tom Pollard sarts a secondment as senior policy officer at the DWP the day after this Halloween demo. This Halloween MHRN invites 'all those worried about how mental health users are harassed by the dole, who stop our money and try to hassle us into non-existent work that we wouldn't be able to do anyway, and now NATIONAL MIND, who are supposed to represent us, are encouraging this to further their own profit and power.' - event organised via Facebook

31 October at 15:3017:00, 15 Broadway, London, E15 (National Mind's Office)


Psychologists and the benefit system: the resources

These are the presentations made at the conference which took place in Manchester on 7 October.

The event placed the difficulties resulting from welfare reforms within a context of psycho-compulsion, democide and the rise of far right thinking at the very core of neoliberal societies. Quoting Maddog's words (taken from the introduction presentation): 'The Holocaust didn't start with gas chambers it started with years of propaganda and policies slowly taking away people’s rights. Current neoliberalism (extreme capitalism) has turned into fascism. Sick, disabled, unemployed & low paid have been directly targeted with thousands of deaths, and lined up as fodder for the workfare industry.'

You can download 13 presentations, in pdf, from this page.


And this time it's personal, psycho compulsion and workfare

film screening and discussion

OpenEye Film explores the underpinnings of the psycho-coercive practices endorsed by the Government with leading academic researchers and the Mental Health Resistance Network.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Lynne FriedliRobert Stearn and Roy Bard, introduced by the film's Producer, Lene Auestad.

Tue 6 December 2016 19:00 – 20:30, Freud Museum London 20 Maresfield Gardens London NW3 5SX

to book your place please visit this page

If you cannot attend the screening and discussion, the film is available online here


Book: Rethinking psychotherapy

Psychotherapist Paul Hingston (pictured) offers a thought-provoking critique of the mental health system and the practice of psychotherapy.

Rethinking Psychotherapy exposes the futility of taking a diagnostic approach to everyday unhappiness, encouraging us to resist the fashion for labelling natural reactions to life’s challenges as symptoms of mental illness.

The book argues that the role of a psychotherapist can never be to provide treatment or to facilitate a process of introspection. Instead, Paul outlines an approach to psychotherapy that helps clients come to terms with unusual or distressing experiences by positioning those experiences within a wider personal and social context.

This new publication was spotted by a member. If anyone reads this and wishes to submit a review, please get in touch


Mental Health and Social Care Political Advisor role

An opportunity to advise Barbara Keeley, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care

Responsible to: Shadow Cabinet member,in conjunction with the Labour Party’s Director of Policy and Research
Location: Palace of Westminster, London
Overall Responsibility: To provide policy research, support and analysis, and media and communications support in the given policy area to the Shadow  Cabinet Member, frontbench team and the Leader of the Labour Party, as part of the Policy Directorate

For a full role description and person specification, please download this pdf


LGBT resource packs for World AIDS Day and beyond

ELOP is a charity that serves to promote the health and well-being of LGB&T identified people and those who have same-sex attraction through direct support services.

With World AIDS Day (WAD) fast approaching, ELOP are sharing a resource brochure with a range of merchandise that you may find supportive for awareness campaigns and general inclusion of LGBT people in work or services.
The brochure and order form are attached for your convenience and with a fast turnaround ELOP can have your order on its way to you within 24hrs (or 48hrs for orders received after 4pm on Fridays).
These resources can be used throughout the year, including LGBT History Month (February), LGBT Pride season, IDAHO (International day against homophobia, biphobia & transphobia) to tackle homo/bi/transphobia in schools, services, communities and teams; as well as celebrating diversity and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in your organisation.
ELOP acknowledge budget limitations and so have again frozen their prices to support this. 
If you would like to place an order, please complete the attached order form with your order items, any purchase order number required and contact details.  Otherwise, please email ELOP with any questions or queries. you can also call 020 8509 3898


National VoicesWellbeing Our Way programme has launched the WOW! Exchange: an online catalogue of exciting and innovative practice in health and care.

Health and care charities deliver some exciting projects, and the WOW! Exchange is a space to share that practice, exchange ideas, and to enable learning. The work listed on the site includes projects by charities and community organisations, and between public services and their voluntary-sector partners.

The WOW! Exchange is completely open access and you can use it to identify examples of great practice which may complement or inspire your own work. Charities and community groups can also add their own examples of enabling people to live well, using the simple ‘share your projects’ button.

To keep up to date with Wellbeing Our Way, sign up to WOW Now, our e-newsletter, and join the conversation using #WOWhealth.


Essay competiton: the NHS if...

Write your own essay exploring a future scenario for the NHS,considering the potential impact on the health system and wider society

An expert panel of judges will select the winning essay, which will be published on The King’s Fund’s The NHS if… website. The top prize is £500, plus a free place at a The King’s Fund conference of your choice in 2017. There will be one runner-up, who will receive a free conference place and publication of their essay on The NHS if… website.

The essay competition is open to anyone with an interest in the future of health and care in England. You might work in health and care, or be a student of health policy and management, science communication or wider social and political issues. Or you may be a patient or carer who can use your own experience to help explore a future scenario for the NHS.

For more information, please visit here


'no' audit needs your help: how often do staff say no to patients? What is the impact on patient wellbeing?

Have you ever spent time on an acute ward? If yes, could you help with the PROMISE project

PROMISE (PROactive Management of Integrated Services and Environments) began at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) with aim of reducing the use of restraint. The project, which is co-led by a psychiatrist and an Expert by Experience, has expanded considerably since its inception in 2013 but the vision to eliminate the use of force in mental health services remains the same. To help with this work researchers would be very grateful if anyone who has been an inpatient could spend 5 minutes completing this survey.

The aim of the survey is to understand the most common reasons that staff say ‘No’ to patients, as this can cause unnecessary distress and lead to a situation escalating. This is turn may result in the use of force which is why we are keen to understand the reasons that staff say most frequently say ‘No’.


Bipolar research: which outcomes matter most to you?

NB: the contact email originally shared with us was not spelt correctly. This feature contains an amended contact email.

* Do you have a current diagnosis of bipolar?

* Are you a family member or carer of someone with a diagnosis of bipolar?

Would you like to take part in a project to help shape how mental health research is carried out? Would you like to help make sure that future research involving people with bipolar investigate the things that matter most to you? Have your say!

A research team is carrying out work to establish which outcomes are most important when carrying out research on bipolar. The research involves asking groups of people to vote online for the most important factors to consider when evaluating community mental health support for people with bipolar.

Everyone taking part needs to vote twice so you must to be able to commit to taking part in two online surveys over a period of 3 months. Each round of voting will take up to one hour to complete. There will be a prize draw for £75 worth of shopping vouchers.

Interested? Please do get in touch to find out more by emailing the team at partners2@contact.bham.ac.uk


Have you had, or care for someone with, cancer and experience of mental ill health? Share your story!

Macmillan Cancer Support is working to gather personal stories from people living with, or caring for someone with both mental health problems and cancer.

Cancer affects nearly 1 in 2 people during their lifetime, and mental health/emotional wellbeing problems affect 1 in 4 adults during any one year, so there will be lots of people out there with this dual lived experience.

Macmillan’s Mental Health and Cancer Taskforce aims to better understand the needs and ideas for change of people affected by both cancer and mental health problems.

For more information and a contact email please take a look here


Health Secretary announces increase in medical training places from September 2018

From September 2018, the government will fund up to 1,500 additional student places through medical school each year. Students will be able to apply for the extra places from next year in order to take them up from the academic year 2018/19.

Public contract regulations for NHS commissioners

This summarises the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015) requirements for NHS commissioners and those supporting them with their procurement of healthcare services.


Previously shared information available online

Please visit our website to find members projects, 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.


#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. 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