NSUN bulletin 4th April 2016


NSUN news

Member Blogs

This week's blog 'workfare coercion in the UK - an assault on persons with disabilities and their human rights' is by Anne-Laure Donskoy: "I am a survivor researcher and consultant living in Bristol. This is my submission to Tina Minkowitz' campaign for the absolute prohibition of forced treatment. I took a different slant, that of the use of psychiatry on claimants in the UK. I am not an expert but I felt that a lot of what has been said has been lacking in making the link with international human rights standards. So at least that's a first attempt."

NSUN 'weekendathon' a success

Over the weekend NSUN members gathered to help with the #NSUNthrive campaign and celebrate 10 years. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed their time and made donations so far. There are more events and activities, so we will keep you updated.

#NSUNthrive10 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

NSUN is about people 'doing it for themselves' with the right help, at the right time, in the right place.


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.


Film: 'And This Time It’s Personal: Psychocompulsion and Workfare'

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

Producer: Lene Auestad
Research: Karen Whelan, Lene Auestad
Camera: Julia Brown, Lene Auestad, Paul Barnett
Editor: Paul Barnett
With: Roy Bard, Mental Health Resistance Network, Link
Lynne Friedli, The Hub at Wellcome Collection, Link
Andrew Samuels, Prof. University of Essex, Link
Robert Stearn, Birkbeck, University of London
Philip Thomas. Writer, Link

Watch the film here


Debate on welfare - How should we look after each other in a twenty-first century society?

The UK welfare state is under sustained ideological and political attack. It has also been undermined by accusations of paternalism and past failures to engage with the very people it is intended to help. 

Join in for an engaging debate on the future of the welfare state and launch of Peter Beresford's challenging and valuable rethink of the welfare state All Our Welfare: Towards a participatory social policy.

Date: Wednesday 11 May 2016
Time: 15:45 to 19:30 at One Great Venue: George Street, 1 Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA

More details (including a full list of panelists and booking) here.


Refocus, a new personalisation awareness programme

Everyone in the health and social care sector says that a culture change to person-centred support is needed, but much of this is paying lip service to the concept; the industry still works in a task-oriented, time-based way, with training provided via toolkits. This means that support workers feel devalued while people receiving support are denied the better lives they desire and have been promised.
This is a story of how a small user-led organisation has achieved dramatic changes to personalisation in the workplace, and learnt a lot about coproduction in the process.

An initiative from Community Navigator Services team (CNS), Refocus was made possible by Skills for Care Innovation Funding.


Share your views of the mental health system at open space listening events

The West Midlands Combined Authority is  seeking the views and opinions of all involved in the mental health system. It is doing this through a Citizens Jury for service users and carers (which has now started its work), online submissions and through a series of three Open Space Listening events.

You can join one of the listening events, to be held on:
Tuesday 26 April: Coventry Central Hall: 13:30-17:00
Friday 29 April: Dudley Town hall: Main Hall: 13:30-17:00
Tuesday 3 May: Birmingham BVSC: Rooms 4/5/6: 13:30-17:00

Each event will host up to 80 people in an attempt to try and answer the following questions:

  • What do the members of the West Midlands Mental Health Commission need to hear?
  • How can public services be transformed within current spending limits to build wellbeing, keep people mentally well and  reduce the impact that poor mental health and wellbeing have on public services, the economy and communities in the West Midlands?

To register your interest in attending one of the listening events please visit here
If you are interested in making an online submission please fill in this form
For more information on the work of the West Midlands Mental Health Commission chaired by Norman Lamb MP please take a look here


Lay Visitors opportunity

The Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) is currently seeking Partners to work with them as Lay Visitors.

Visitors are responsible for visiting and assessing existing and proposed education and training programmes delivered by education providers.   There is the opportunity to get involved and help to safeguard people using HCPC's registrant’s services by ensuring education and training programmes meet our standards. Time commitment is approximately five to ten days a year and a visit normally takes two days.

As part of HCPC’s on-going work to ensure that processes reflect the perspectives of key stakeholders, lay visitors will form part of the approval visit panels. In order to reflect the experience of those who use the services of HCPC Registrants, they are specifically seeking people who have experience as a service user, or as a carer for someone who uses the services of an HCPC registered professional.

Find out more and how to apply here.

Deadline for applications is 1 May 2016


Suicide prevention app

Liverpool-based Merseycare NHS Trust and Stanford University have been working together to develop a suicide prevention app.

The aim is to have the prototype ready by June 2016 with the first patients being monitored in January 2017.

Social media monitoring

The app would allow clinicians to provide round-the-clock observations on people who they fear may be considering suicide.

It would work by monitoring all digital communications by a patient - emails, social media, even phone calls - and spot potential dangers.

Despite Dr David Fearnley, medical director at Merseycare, claiming that 'the potential is incredible' and it being an 'opt-in' programme, there are serious concerns about the level of monitoring. This of course is what halted similar work on an app by the Samaritans over a year ago.

Read related articles by the BBC and Mobi Health news.


London Mental Health Crisis Care Summit - summary of event and related materials

Over 200 stakeholders from across London’s UEC regional networks attended the first London Mental Health Crisis Care Summit on 25 February. They shared learning and best practice in crisis care and explored the changes needed to meet the needs and expectations of Londoners facing a mental health crisis.  

Download the event report for a summary of the day

Speaker, workshop presentations and good practice posters are now available on the Crisis Care Summit pages


TFL mental health awareness programme to reduce railway suicides

As part of improving railway provision, Transport for London (TFL) have engaged in a project to introduce a socially responsible approach to engagement with passengers, resulting in a supportive environment for people in distress.

Click here to link to information on the project.


Theatre: The Suicide

Things are getting tough for Sam. No job, benefits stopped and stuck in a tiny flat with his girlfriend Maya and her mum. The pressure is building. It feels like there might be only one way out.

Playing from Wednesday 6 April

National Theatre, South Bank

But every ending is a beginning and there are plenty of people keen to capitalise on Sam’s momentous decision. From corrupt local politicians to social media-savvy kids, everyone wants a piece of Sam’s demise. It scarcely matters what Sam actually wants. Faced with the promise of immortality, what’s his life worth?

Book tickets here.


Theatre: Sheila's Mental Health Show (M.H.S)

Following on from a sell out Mental Health Show in September, ‘Sheila's M.H.S.' returns to the Garrick in Lichfield Stafforshire. 

Playing Friday 8 April

Sheila McMahon is a qualified counsellor and also a comedienne. She will be sharing her own experiences, highlighting self-sabotaging behaviours and educating us on how we can be less hard on ourselves.

This show will be a combination of humour and mental health demonstrating how life is too serious to be taken seriously ...besides no one gets out alive anyway!

Book tickets here.


Psychologists and the benefit system - time to get off the fence

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.

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

To book online, please visit here
You can contact the organiser, Stephen Weatherhead, by email


Can you make Peerfest happen in 2016?

Peerfest is an annual national celebration of peer support, with over 200 people taking part. The organisers are now looking for groups/projects/organisations to apply to run this year’s exciting Peerfest.

Peerfest can be one or two events that will bring national peer support themes and activities where people can share, learn and make new connections. The tender will involve devising, delivering and planning the event or events, including evaluation and production of resources. There is an expression of interest application process prior to making the full tender application.

Collaborations with other organisations are suggested and supported, but the lead partner must be peer led.
Full details can be found here
Closing date to receive expressions of interest is: 18 April 2016


This week on the web

BBC journalist forced off air when attempting to film DPAC protesters at the Houses of Commons - the protest was filmed independently and shared on youtube

Government is breaking mental health policy pledge says Norman Lamb, who was responsible for mental health under the Coalition

In agreement with the former Health Minister's concerns, Britain's top psychiatrist Professor Sir Simon Wessely has challenged the government to ring-fence mental health spending and guarantee waiting times

Elizabeth Cotton, Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University Business School, has expressed misgivings concerning the introduction of job coaches in GP surgeries, fearing that the scheme could be 'another attempt to pathologise the unemployed'

Psychologists now join in with many mental health survivors / service users in saying that most 'mental illnesses' are caused by life events, not genetics

Junior Doctors have announced plans to move towards first all out strike in NHS history

Ex big pharma rep speaks up: 'we are trained to misinform'

More people sign tongue in cheek petition to ban Prime Minister from coming back from holiday than voted for him in 2015


NHS Outcomes Framework

The NHS Outcomes Framework 2016-2017 sets out the framework and indicators that will be used to hold NHS England to account for improvements in health outcomes. The at-a-glance document lists the indicators along with their status. 

NHS Safety and Transparency

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to improve NHS safety and transparency at the first ministerial-level Global Patient Safety Summit. The three stages to help frontline clinicians to speak openly and honestly about how to learn from mistakes, include:

Intelligent transparency

  • Publishing estimates of avoidable deaths
  • A league table identifying levels of openness and transparency/Every trust to prooduce a Charter for Openness and Transparency
  • A new CQC annual report on the state of hospital quality which will be published from this year.

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