NSUN bulletin 27th June 2016


NSUN news


Since the early hours of Friday morning last week, when we heard that 52% of voters voted to leave the European Union, we have seen and experienced a range of emotions,  a deluge of information (some of which would have been more valuable before the voting) and reactionary and in some cases backtracking political activity across the board. The first effect on mental health has been felt already - the fear and anxiety caused by the uncertainty of how it will affect statutory services and support  in the community. In addition to this the swell of 'extreme' pronouncements and verbal attacks that are filled with hate and directed at the most vulnerable and disadvantaged make us feel even more threatened and unsafe. Sadly this undermines and unfairly associates those who voted Leave for reasons that weren't based on the scaremongering campaign tactics around immigration.

Earlier this month Luciana Berger, the shadow minister for mental health, told the Guardian “the NHS is too important, and mental health services are too vital, to throw into the chaos of Brexit”. Leaving the EU, she said, “would pose a serious risk to the wellbeing of the NHS itself, but also to those who rely on it”. It is still too early and too confusing to have any clear idea what impact this will have on the NHS or mental health services, but in an environment of austerity and increasing cuts anything that has further negative or destabilising effect is deeply concerning.

Mark Brown from Social Spider has pulled togather some of the 'questions and worries' and explored what answers are out there and what are still to come in his article Mental Health and Brexit: there is no new normal.

We also need to keep a close watch on how this will affect our human rights protections and policy. Stephen Bowen of the British Institute of Human Rights says "As we seek to navigate this new path, it is our human rights compass that guides us. There is no more important time for us to stand proud of our shared values, to champion dignity and respect, fairness, diversity and justice."

At a time when we need strong and confident leadership the two main political parties are in turmoil. But we need to see leadership across the board including within our own groups who have been slowly and systematically undermined, underfunded and misunderstood. As Jeremy Taylor said in his response to the result "We will continue to champion the development of more preventative, coordinated,  people-centred approaches to health and care. Our sector will continue to stand up for and work with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society."

We ARE stronger together, so we need to make sense of it all and look at how we heal the divisions and collectively ride out this storm - one that has been as changeable and unpredictable as the weather over the last week so we need to be prepared for every eventuality! 

Sarah Yiannoullou
Managing Director

AGM videos

Soapboxes were filmed and some can now be viewed online. Click on each name to be taken back to the day of their soapbox

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 by 29th June.

  • 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.

#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


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.


Take part in a study led by the University of Lancaster

The REACT study, which is run by researchers at Lancaster University, compares the effectiveness of a Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit (REACT) with an online Resource Directory for reducing distress and increasing wellbeing in relatives or close friends of people with psychosis or bipolar disorder. Using volunteers, half the participants receive the REACT toolkit, and the other half receive a Resource Directory. If the toolkit is proven successful, it has the potential to be rolled out across the UK.

Accessed online, the toolkit contains lots of information on psychosis and bipolar disorder including people’s experiences of the illness, mental health services, and treatment. It also has strategies to manage common problems, highlighted by relatives taking part in the study. An online forum (REACT Group) allows participants to talk directly with others.

The Resource Directory lists details of how to access the full range of support currently available to relatives and friends of people with psychosis or bipolar disorder. It also includes web links to national mental health organisations and details of how to access support through NHS health services. This ensures you get access to the best support currently available.

The REACT Team are looking for more relatives or close friends of people with psychosis or bipolar disorder to take part in the study.

If you would like to know more or sign up, please visit reacttoolkit.co.uk.


Gloucestershire charity holds launch party

The Consciousness Healing Centre, which was founded by a member of NSUN, has just received charity status on June 13 and is celebrating with a launch party.

The organisation, which has a mission to ' raise and improve Quality of Life for members of the public in the British Isles ', invites you to its launch party 'The Fundraiser - Part 1' at 'Twisted Fix', 27A Nelson St,  Stroud CL5 2HH, on Saturday 16 July

It is a 16 + event, with DJ's providing the music, including a headline set from the international superstar Nicky Blackmarket (Drum n Bass / Jungle).  Doors open at 9am and close at 1am.  Entry is Advanced Tickets only (£5), through this page.  There is a licensed bar serving alcohol for all who can prove they are over age!  They will be given wristbands! 


Job: Community Equalities Coordinator- South West

An opportunity to work for Time to Change, in the Community Leadership Team. The role involves training and supporting people with experience of mental health problems from a wide range of communities (Champions) who have experienced stigma and discrimination.

You will support them to establish their own Champion campaigning groups and deliver anti-stigma activities locally. You will also be responsible for developing and supporting strategic partnerships with relevant local stakeholders to create ‘hubs’ that will embed Time to Change as a sustainable campaign within local areas. 

You must have your own lived experience of mental health problems to apply for this post. All applicants must be based, and have existing links, within the South West region.

For more information and how to apply, please visit this page


Greater Manchester Peer Support Workshop

This workshop will explore experiences of peer support from the perspectives of those offering and receiving support, as well as the ways in which organisations can enable the development and positive impact of peer support.

  • Date: Tuesday, 28 June 
  • Time: 09:30 - 16:00
  • Venue: St Thomas Centre - Ardwick Green North, Manchester, M12 6FZ

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Peta Stross - ‎Head of Integration at University Hospital South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, UHSM

  • Liz Roberts - Community Partnerships Manager, The Stroke Association

  • Young Facilitators - Manchester Mind

  • Louise Brady – Clinical Lead for Practice Nursing, North, South and Central Manchester CCGs

To register for free please visit this page - the agenda for the event is online here


Britain's Lost Women

Accord Group and Black Country Housing Group are hosting in partnership – Britain’s Lost Women -  National Day of Memory for Victims of Honour Killings 2016.

Date: Thursday, 14 July
Time: 9.30am until 1.30pm
Venue: Blackheath Library, 145 High Street, Blackheath, B65 0EA.

To book your tickets, click here


Research project needs 10 more participants to interview

If you missed our NSUN extra on Friday, you can still contact the research team:

Keeping Control: Exploring mental health service user perspectives on targeted violence and hostility in the context of adult safeguarding

Research study participants now being sought for interview
Have you experienced abuse, harassment or violence (hate crime) because of your mental distress / health difficulties?
Have you sought help as a result of your experiences?

The researchers are looking for people aged 18 years and over for a user-led[1] study exploring people's experiences of being victimised because of their mental distress / mental health difficulties. Your help is needed to make recommendations for adult safeguarding and how systems such as the police can respond better to people with mental health difficulties.

If you are interested in being interviewed, the researchers would like to know more about you in order to ensure that they are reaching a range of different people. If you are interested in being interviewed please download, complete and return the Recruitment Form

The information you give on this form will remain strictly confidential but it will help monitor and plan research interviews so as to include people from a wide range of backgrounds.

The recruitment deadline has been extended to 4 July 2016.

If you have any questions about the research please email: keepingcontrol@mdx.ac.uk or phone Alison Faulkner on 07729301379.

Further information is available on the Project website

Each interview participant will receive a £10 voucher as a token of thanks.


World Benzo Awareness Day (BAD)

7th July 2016

This date was designated in recognition of Prof. Ashton’s significant contributions to the benzodiazepine cause over so many decades; together with all of the help she has given to so many people around the world. 

The concept for W-BAD is really quite simple. It's just a case of people coming together once a year on July 11th and raising awareness in whatever small way they can. This day is primarily about: (1) Helping to raise awareness, (2) Commemorating Prof. Ashton, (3) Providing victims a sense of purpose.

Participation can be as simple as:

  • Telling any one person that July 11 is World Benzo Awareness Day.
  • Sharing something on the internet.
  • Putting a pamphlet in someone’s letter box, handing one out, leaving one on a bus seat or something...

Visit the website for more information. Also, watch the video here and visit the Youtube channel


Important upcoming events

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


Carers strategy: call for evidence

This open consultation seeks views on a new strategy for carers that will set out how more can be done to support them.

The consultation was due to end on 30 June but the deadline was extended to 30 July.

Changing how healthcare education is funded

This open consultation seeks views on how reforms to the education funding for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals can be implemented.