Hertfordshire Equality Council (HEC) Volunteer Trustees Wanted

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Hertfordshire Equality Council (HEC) wants to recruit four trustees who would like to make a difference to our Hertfordshire communities.

Do you have a passion for fairness, equality and encouraging and celebrating good community relations?

HEC is looking for trustees with experience of fundraising, communications (including websites/social media) and community engagement. A commitment to promoting equality and diversity is essential, as is communication and interpersonal skills needed to be part of our HEC Trustee team.

Previous experience of Board membership is not essential though as a HEC Trustee you will be expected to attend five or more two hour Board meetings a year and to be actively involved in HEC projects where possible.

Would you like to help us improve equality in Hertfordshire? Do you have some time, experience and knowledge to support HEC towards creating an Equal Herts? Then please apply to join the HEC Trustee Board

To apply

Please send a one page summary telling us why you are interested in being a HEC trustee and what skills, experience and knowledge you can bring to the role.

We will hold informal meeting with all applicants.

We are keen to receive applications from members of all Hertfordshire communities as we want to ensure HEC Trustees represent the diversity of the people we serve.

Please call Kate Belinis (Chair) 07940 111047 or Hemant Mistry (Project manager) 078303 75073 for an informal chat.

Click here to download the application details

HCT Community Matters

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The spring edition of Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s HCT Matters is now available.

Topics include:

• Tackling diabetes

• Beehive junior parkrun

• Brain CARE team

• Family Centre Service

• Healthy Memory Cafe

• Heart failure awareness

• Special Care Dental Service

• Back on track with Step2

• Maple frailty clinics

• Rita walking again at 81

• And lots more

Click here to read the newsletter

Updates from Time to Change

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Dear Supporter,

As a social movement, your views are vital to our work. That’s why we want to hear your thoughts on mental health stigma and discrimination to help plan our future. 

Please take the time to share your views in our short survey – we want to hear what you’ve got to say.

In this month's newsletter you'll also meet Charlie Chatbot, our chatty new team member, and hear all about a tasty partnership to get the nation talking.

Help shape the future of Time to Change

Your views on mental health stigma and discrimination are vital in shaping our future. There’s still time to have your say in our short survey before it closes on 24 June. You'll also have the chance to win a £25 Amazon voucher.

Click here to share your views

Introducing Charlie


Meet Charlie, the newest member of our team. Charlie’s aim is to help people support their mates when they think they might be struggling with a mental health problem. You can find and chat to Charlie on Facebook Messenger.

Click here to chat to Charlie

Let's Talk

Talking can help break down barriers and change lives. That’s why McVitie’s and Mind have partnered up to get the nation talking. McVitie’s will be helping to support 8 Time to Change Hubs and the training of 400 Champions.

Click here to find out more

“Men don't get post-natal depression”

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‘Wrong. They do. I should know.’

This International Fathers' Mental Health Day, read about Andy’s experience of post-natal depression as a new father.

Click here to read the blog

Free Mental Health Resources for Schools: Last Chance to Sign Up

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1 in 8 young people will experience a mental health problem and too many still fear the reaction of others.

It's time to end the silence. 

By devoting a lesson, assembly or short session plan to changing how your school community thinks and acts about mental health, you can make a huge difference.

We've developed five easy ways to start a conversation in your school and ensure no young person feels isolated or ashamed anymore. 

Choose from our range of free activities and we’ll guide you through with easy resources and activities that you can use throughout the school year. Talking about mental health is easier than you think.

Now, let’s get started…

Click here to sign up now

NSUN Bulletin Monday 10 June 2019

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Welcome to the Monday 10 June 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin. If there's anything you would like to share with the wider network please send to info@nsun.org.uk.

Previous bulletins can be viewed here

Request for feedback on the bulletin 

We have been sending the NSUN weekly bulletin to our members since March 2009. Feedback has told us that the bulletin is highly valued and we would really like to know what opportunities and activities you've taken up as a result of information we've shared.

Feedback request: We would appreciate you telling us what (if any) difference the information we've shared has made to you personally or professionally.

  • Have you got involved in research, workshops or projects?

  • Have you joined a group or applied for funding for your group?

  • Have you got involved in any national initiatives?

  • Have you had good responses to items you've advertised?

Please send any feedback to us directly by email.

NSUN News 

Urgent request from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

The EHRC has just launched an inquiry into the experiences of disabled people within the criminal justice system. The inquiry will particularly focus on the pre-trial stage. That is because evidence for disabled people’s experiences at this point is particularly lacking. The inquiry will address whether disabled defendants’ needs are identified; what reasonable adjustments, if any, are made; whether there are particular barriers or helpful factors; and what recommendations should be put forward. The EHRC is interested in perspectives of NSUN members and so in interviewing two NSUN members with lived experience. 

Find out more here

Joint working and co-operation between organisations led by disabled people (DPOs) at an international level

Dorothy Gould provides a summary account of the event 1st June, co-hosted by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA). DFID is a government department responsible for providing international aid. Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) is an alliance of Disabled People and their organisations (DPOs) in England who have joined together to defend disabled people’s rights and campaign for an inclusive society. Read more here.

Health and Wellbeing Alliance Webinar – Peer Support, User-Led Organisations, and Mental Health and Prevention

Date: Tuesday 18th June 2019

Time: 10.30am - 11.30am

This webinar, with Alison Faulkner and Emma Ormerod from NSUN, will provide a short overview of the role of local user-led organisations and peer support initiatives in the prevention of mental distress and social exclusion.

There is a significant role for prevention amongst people already in touch with mental health services who are at risk of further marginalisation and social exclusion. It is widely recognised that working alongside communities to understand their needs and build on existing strengths, assets and resilience is key. Book your place here.

Disabled People's Organisations meet with Minister for Disabled People

Read our account of a meeting between Sarah Newton MP and six Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs): Inclusion London/the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance, NSUN, the Equalities National Council, Disability Wales, Independent Living in Scotland and Disability Action Northern Ireland. Read the report here.

Click here to read the full bulletin

NSUN Bulletin Monday 03 June 2019

Welcome to the Monday 03 June 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin. If there's anything you would like to share with the wider network please send to info@nsun.org.uk.

Previous bulletins can be viewed here.

Request for feedback on the bulletin 

We have been sending the NSUN weekly bulletin to our members since March 2009. Feedback has told us that the bulletin is highly valued with members telling us:

“The NSUN bulletins point to up-to-date projects, work and research happening in the UK – and we, can learn from each other and benefit from learning from each others’ experience”

“I feel as if I am not alone! I love the signposting, shared information and the feeling that we are fighting together!”

“Up to date information about MH events etc... most IMPORTANTLY it has a ‘user’ feel to it. I get so fed up with a lot of the professional ‘spin’ stuff that goes on. NSUN talks my language!”

Of course it's not all so positive and we've taken valuable criticism and tried to make sure that information shared is current, relevant and accessible.

Feedback: We would really appreciate you telling us what (if any) difference the information we've shared has made to you personally or professionally. Have you got involved in research, workshops or projects? Have you joined a group or applied for funding for your group? Have you got involved in any national initiatives? Have you had good responses to items you've advertised?

We'd love to hear what you've got involved in or done as a result of the information we've shared, so just send us any feedback directly by email

NSUN News 

Shocking abuse at Whorlton Hall, County Durham

Undercover filming by a reporter for the BBC Panorama Programme revealed highly offensive attitudes and language about patients amongst Whorlton Hall staff, intimidation and mockery of patients and an unacceptable use of restraint.  Read our report and a statement issued by People First Advocacy here.

You can also read CQC's full response here.

Final report from Philip Alston, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

Many thanks again to all those of you who contributed to NSUN’s submission to the Special Rapporteur. Philip Alston’s final report about his 2018 visit to the UK has now been published and can be found here

Hertfordshire Adult Family Learning Service (HAFLS) Short Courses


For those Viewpoint members that don’t already know HAFLS run a lot of short courses in small groups (max 15) in venues such as Children’s and community centres so a very good intro to learning for those fearful of colleges etc. There are also courses that the whole family can attend.

Courses in Maths, English, Keeping up with your child, Intro to IT, First Aid, Wellbeing and Mindfulness, English for speakers of other languages etc.

New Courses coming up in Sept/Nov:


Ipads made easy

Becoming a mid-day supervisor in a school

Christmas crafts

Becoming a classroom helper

Assertiveness and communication skills –possibly a particularly good one for those referred for advocacy – 7th November 1pm to 3pm one day a week for 5 weeks

Course guide is in link below. People can go on a list for new courses if dates in the prospectus have passed.

They will also put on courses in a particular if there is a demand


If you have anyone interested forward the prospectus or give them the telephone number 01992 556194.

NSUN Bulletin Tuesday 28 May 2019

Welcome to the Tuesday 28 May 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin. If there's anything you would like to share with the wider network please send to info@nsun.org.uk.

Previous bulletins can be viewed here.

The Value of User-Led Groups

Last week user-led groups and funding organisations met in London to talk about the current crisis facing user-led organisations and their future role in ensuring an independent voice and local support. A briefing paper, produced in partnership with Shaping Our Lives, 'The Future of User Led Organisations'. Those who attended shared what they thought about why we're seeing a decline of user-led groups and the social impact. This included:

  • Funders not recognising the difference and value of use-led groups

  • The diminishing sources of support and accessible funding

  • A loss of opportunity to be part of an accepting and supportive community

  • Larger organisations working competitively not collaboratively

  • Less support and resources to connect and network

Funders present recognised the power relations and conflicts and also spoke about the challenges of making descisions with declining funds.They also acknowledged that some funders needed to better understand and value user-led groups. The meeting finished with everyone thinking about how to collectively address the problems. A full report will be made available. You can also read the summary of findings from the initial survey we conducted with members here. Visit our website for further updates on NSUN's campaign.

Click here to continue reading the latest bulletin

Shared Decision Making in HPFT


Shared Decision Making (SDM) IS COMING TO HPFT and we are inviting interest from service users to become trainers

We are inviting interest from people using adult community mental health services (or those who have recently used services) anywhere in the Trust for an upcoming project at:

Waverley Rd
Saffron Ground
Centenary House

If successful we will begin Training the Trainers (ToT) in Shared Decision Making as soon as possible!

What is Shared Decision Making?

Shared Decision Making is a process in which service providers and services users work together to select interventions, based on clinical evidence and the person’s informed preferences.

The MAGIC (Making Good Decisions in Collaboration) programme in NHS sites in Newcastle and Cardiff confirmed that strategies to enhance the delivery of shared decision making can improve (JosephWilliams, N. et al, 2017):

  • People’s knowledge about their condition and treatment options

  • People’s involvement in their care

  • People’s satisfaction with care

  • People’s self-confidence in their own knowledge and self-care skills

  • Professionals’ communication

Shared Decision Making (SDM):

  • Is evidence based

  • Is practised successfully near to us (in Cambridge and Peterborough)

  • Includes trainers that are experienced in practising SDM

  • Trainers include EbEs (Experts by Experience),Nurses, Psychiatrists

  • Training will apply interactive methods

  • Introduce you to decision making aids


Attendance in 5 meetings, each of three hours, fortnightly
A short assignment submitted after the training
Commitment to co-run at least one group in a service

This will lead to a certificate of attendance upon completion and people will be paid according to the Trust’s Inclusion and Involvement criteria.

To apply, please email Andrew Nicholls (Head of Recovery and Psychological Services) at andrew.nicholls3@nhs.net or telephone 07767 890113.

Click here to view the flyer

NSUN Bulletin Monday 20 May 2019

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Welcome to the Monday 20 May 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin.

If there's anything you would like to share with the wider network please send to info@nsun.org.uk.

Previous bulletins can be viewed here

Mental Health Awareness Week 

The theme for this year was 'Body Image'. You can follow some of the stories shared over the last week on Twitter via #BeBodyKind and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and read what was debated in Parliament.

During the week Prince William announced that Heads Together is launching a new campaign 'Heads Up' in partnership with the Football Association next season. The Royals also launched the mental health text support service Shout, a legacy of the Royal Foundation's Heads Together.

Awareness days and weeks and high profile supporters and campaigns have done much to promote the importance of our mental health as well as our physical health. We also need to make sure that the 'hidden world' of mental health is given the exposure necessary to stop inhumane treatment and protect people from harm. Such as the case of Steven Boyd, a Mental Health Nurse 'who showed callous disregard for the safety of patients in his care.' Read a summary of the case on the BBC Website.

An open letter to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has been written detailing concerns about the NMC ruling. You can read the letter and find out how to add your support on the Fostering Change website and @WeCareAboutMH

Click here to view the entire bulletin

NSUN Bulletin Monday 13 May 2019

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Welcome to the Tuesday 13 May 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin.

If there's anything you would like to share with the wider network please send to info@nsun.org.uk

Mental Health Awareness Week 

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13-19 May 2019. The theme this year is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.  Included in this week's bulletin are articles and art projects exploring this theme.

"The healthiest form of projection is art"  

~ Fritz Perls 

As expected, there's a lot of focus on the role media has to play on idealising body representation. 

Today's Guardian article reports on the Mental Health Foundation's survey, which found one in eight people aged 18 and above have been so distressed about their body image they have thought about killing themselves.

Read more about Mental Health Awareness week on the Mental Health Foundation's website and follow the hashtag #BeBodyKind

NSUN News 

Some of our recent work

#HardlyHardToReach peer learning programme

Dominic Maukuvachuma and Sarah Yiannoullou presented at the HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network and Race on the Agenda (ROTA) three-day peer learning programme on campaigning and lobbying for mental health equality 2 May. Dominic and Sarah presented on 'Effective leadership and building a political platform'. This included the Reigniting the Space project and the 4Pi National Involvement Framework.

Find out more about HEAR events.

King's Fund report on Mental Health Outcomes

NSUN attended the Kings Fund round table event that presented their report ‘Outcomes for mental health services: what really matters?’. The report includes a case study provided by NAViGO on page 24 which is the one of the only mental health care providers that does not use control and restraint.

NSUN Members' Manifesto

NSUN's Members' Manifesto is one of the documents referenced as one of the guiding principles for the National Independent Living Strategy, Independent Living for the Future – Our vision for a national independent living support system published by the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA). The Members' Manifesto is currently being reviewed and will be published later in the summer.

NICE Guidelines: Management of Depression in Adults

In November 2017 NSUN joined a number of other organisations concerned with the methodology for the revision of the Recognition and Management of Depression in Adults guidleine. There is an upcoming meeting with NICE 24 May to discuss the campaign. You can read more about the campaign here.

The Value of User Led Groups

NSUN’s main campaign in 2019 is the value of user-led groups - that is demonstrating the huge value of user-led groups in our society and fighting the cause for their survival. Later this month we are meeting together with other groups and stakeholders to share and raise the issues and look at what we can do collectively to address them. You can read the summary findings of the survey we conducted with members here. 

FSI has published it's latest perceptions on the small charity sector here. The Small Charity Index is the FSI’s quarterly ‘Pulse of the Sector’ report

Jobs and involvement opportunities - already shared

If there is still time to apply or get involved, you can find previously shared opportunities on this page.

Visit our Youtube channel. 

Featured blogs and articles 

Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD) stories

Here you can read a selection of personal stories about the struggles and affects of BDD from people and their families.

Body Dismorphic Disorder Foundation

The Need to 'Do Something'

Akiko Hart writes about social media and self-harm. 'If we ban pictures of self-harm on social media, what we risk is silencing and isolating those in most pain and those in most need of connection.'

The Sociological Review

A Day with Body Dismorphia

Michelle Threadgould's personal essay published as part of the Orange Dot  mental health series.

Click here to view the full NSUN bulletin

Carewaves Newsletter - Issue 1 of 2019

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Read all about it! The latest edition of Carewaves has arrived and is available for download now on our website via this link – Carewaves issue 1 of 2019.

Carewaves is full of articles about what we and other organisations have been doing to support unpaid carers. You can also find out about funding we have secured from the National Lottery Community Fund to continue and develop our Carer Support Hubs and volunteer run Mentoring Service.

As always there are details about our free courses, workshops and forums. There is also information about our plans for Carers Week 2019 (10th – 16th June).

You can also read about:

Our Home Care and Advocacy Services – what they involve and how we support unpaid carers;

  • Changes to dementia services in Hertfordshire; and

  • Our work with young carers including a review of our 2019 Young Carers’ Conference. You can also find out about a contract Hertfordshire County Council has awarded us that will enable us to build on the support we provide to young carers and their families.

Given the ongoing pressure on public money, our Trustees have decided to refresh our Fundraising Strategy with the aim of raising £150,000 per annum. This extra money will make the charity more resilient and allow us to continue developing innovative services. We already have some very committed volunteers who help us with fundraising and we recognise the hard work they put in. However, we know that we need to do more and plan for the future. The Trustees want to make sure that the refreshed Strategy and accompanying Action Plan are co-produced by carers, staff and volunteers. They also want to develop guidance to make sure that all our fundraising activities support and complement our values. We would really like to hear from any carers who are willing to be involved – if you are interested then please email contact@carersinherts.org.uk with the subject title Fundraising.

 If you need advice or support about your caring role, please contact our Carer Support Advisors on 01992 58 69 69 or email contact@carersinherts.org.uk and someone will help you.


Steve Delaney, Interim Chief Executive

NSUN Bulletin Tuesday 7 May 2019

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Welcome to the Tuesday 7 May 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin.

If there's anything you would like to share with the wider network please send to info@nsun.org.uk.

Supporting NSUN 

Despite yet another uncertain period NSUN tentatively celebrates its 12th year (and 10,000 Twitter followers!). Not quite a teenager and no longer a child, we find ourselves at the awkward age of finding our place in the world. 

Our members have had a lead role in defining the network by telling the stories of the past, sharing current issues, and prioritising for the future. Because of your generosity NSUN is finding its position and more confidently challenging unacceptable practice and poor policy decisions.

Together we are fighting to be heard and to be treated with dignity and respect, but in the last few years the collective voice of people through groups and networks has been severely depleted and neglected.

Do encourage others to join us and contribute to our growing network and campaign to protect the independent voice and autonomous action.

Please click here to see the entire bulletin

'Getting Carers Connected’ Events in Hertfordshire


Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust are planning to deliver 3 separate events ahead of the Carers Week 10 -16 June.

  • 4 June at Waverley Road St Albans AL3 5TK (6.30 pm to 9.30 pm) for Community Mental Health Service (Adults)

  • 7 June at The Colonnades Beaconsfield Road Hatfield AL10 8YE. The 10 am to 1 pm session for CATT/RAID Services

  • 7 June at The Colonnades Beaconsfield Road Hatfield AL10 8YE. The 2 pm to 5 pm session for CAMHS Services

Click here for the flyer to find out more

Shaping the Future: Keeping Connected

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2019 is going to be a very busy year for us at Herts County Council and we would like your thoughts on how we can continue to improve services in a number of areas,

1. Breaks for carers

2. Carers support

3. Community meals (formerly meals on wheels)

4. Older people’s lunch club

In order to include the views of people who use these services (or may be affected by them in the future) we would like to invite members of the public, carers and representative groups to attend an event to hear about the current services and to consider in round table discussions how they think they can best be delivered in future. The events will be held on 2 separate dates so please select only one event.

On both occasions the event will commence with coffee and registration from 10am, with the sessions from 10.30 to 1pm followed by a light sandwich lunch. We will have forms available at the events so that members of the public and carers will be able to apply for reimbursement of travel costs and replacement care.

To reserve a place at one of the events please book here:

16th May, The View, Panshanger Golf Course, Old Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL7 2ED

20th May, Stanborough Centre, 609 St Albans Rd, Watford WD25 9JL

Alternatively if you are not confident using an electronic booking system please contact our support team on 01438 845016 who will take your booking over the phone.

Please let us know if you have particular needs or dietary requirements:

Self-harm and suicide questionnaire Herts Safeguarding Board


Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP) and Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB), they are very keen to ensure that the voice of service users is included in the Learning Hub and have asked Viewpoint to help facilitate meaningful service user involvement.

To access the questionnaire please click here

The closing date for responses is Monday 13th May 2019; please send your responses to info@hertsviewpoint.co.uk or Freepost RTUT-BUKL-JBZB, Viewpoint, Unit 28, Weltech Business Centre, Ridgeway, Welwyn Garden City. AL7 2AA.

Also, Ruth Fennemore (Development and Commissioning Manager) Family Services Commissioning Children's Services would like service user (SU) representative(s) to attend one or more of the local forums to join in the group table discussions at the end which will focus on the attached questions. To enable meaningful SU rep(s) involvement / engagement I have asked Ruth to complete a Viewpoint Involvement Summary form. If you are interested in this involvement opportunity, please get back to Leslie on leslie@hertsviewpoint.co.uk

NSUN Bulletin Tuesday 23 April 2019

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Welcome to the Tuesday 23 April 2019 edition of our weekly ebulletin.

This week's edition features some important involvement and influencing opportunities.

Four years ago NSUN and partners published the 4Pi National Involvement Standards. It is now widely referred to and used by organisations and groups across the country, and internationally.

More recently the Win-Win Alliance (Shaping Our Lives, Disability Rights UK, Change and NSUN) produced some guidance outlining the simple, practical things you can do to provide inclusive and accessible involvement activities. You can read and download the Co-production guidance and tips papers here.

If you don't receive this bulletin directly from us but would like to, you can become a member and sign up for it here.

Remember to  email us any news or information that you would like to share.

Previous bulletins can be viewed here.

Donations to NSUN are gratefully received for this free service.

You can donate directly here.

We have a variety of ways you can support NSUN, including a few that will not cost you an extra penny, such as:

Shopping with the Giving Machine

Shopping with Smile Amazon 

The Big Give

Click here to read more

NSUN Bulletin Monday 15 April 2019

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NSUN Bulletin Monday 15 April 2019

Table of Contents

  • NSUN News

  • Selected blogs and articles

  • Do you want to be employed as a co-researcher on a project that aims to tackle ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness?

  • Book: Illness as a Metaphor

  • Dear GP zine - call for submissions by 21st April!

  • Passionate about PeerFest?

  • Gig Buddies for Good Mental Health - Brighton & Hove

  • SUN Network - Cambridgeshire

  • Lifecraft in Newmarket

  • Positive Mental Health Group - Birmingham

  • The Bridge Collective - Exeter

  • Exploring Mindfulness and Voices

  • User-led Women's Mental Health Network - turn up the volume!

  • Let's Talk exhibition

  • In the news

  • Dates for your calendar

  • GOV.UK news


This week's edition features some of the 'user-led' networks and groups from around the country that are running local activities and events. You can find out what groups are in your area on our website by searching the directory.

April is National Stress Awareness Month. Running since 1992, it aims to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. The Stress Management Society says that 'despite this running for 20 years we have got a long way to go. According to the Mental health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.'

If you don't receive this bulletin directly from us but would like to, you can become a member and sign up for it here

Remember to  email us any news or information that you would like to share.

Previous bulletins can be viewed here.

Donations to NSUN are gratefully received for this free service.

You can donate directly here.

We have a variety of ways you can support NSUN, including a few that will not cost you an extra penny, such as:

Shopping with the Giving Machine

Shopping with Smile Amazon 

The Big Give

NSUN News  

Groups that applied to the National Lottery Community Fund Leaders with Lived Experience pilot programme heard the outcome of their applications 4 April.

Only 15-20 grants of between £20,000 and £50,000 were available but over 660 applications were received. As this is a pilot programme, it's hoped that the demand and the success of those who are awarded a grant leads to a full programme of grants in the future.

Obviously there are a lot of disappointed applicants and we know that quite a few of them are members of NSUN. We're hoping there'll be some mental health user-led groups and initiatives that have been successful but until the list of grants awarded are published we're not sure what the range of groups and work are.

When a funding opportunity arises that seems to speak directly to your cause it feels even more disappointing than usual when you're unsuccessful. We do know that grants like these are needed more now than ever.

Groups and organisations in our membership who aren't providers of services are finding it almost impossible to attract funding and are being told that they're too political, too radical, not professional enough and in some cases too professional. How we describe ourselves is becoming more complicated due to varied expectations and the use and adoption of particular language and terms by other organisations, thus making it harder to communicate the distinction and uniqueness of 'user-led' groups.

Co-producution, peer support and participation is everyone's business and in many respects that's what we've been lobbying for over the years. It's difficult when we can't reconcile the practice we experience with the language though.

NSUN recognises that the language of rights, self-advocacy, leadership and community activism cuts through this but we also need to look at clearly defining user and peer led initiatives.

We need to make sure that we can continue to pressure for change, the right change, the change that benefits our communities, not disadvantage them further. For this to happen we need powerful communities and the infrastructure and initiatives that help us come together. We need to continue to highlight the challenges and inequalities that individuals and groups are facing within our communities, but we also need to celebrate and promote those that continue to do what they do against all the odds. We also need to reclaim and reframe some of the language being used and adopted.

Let's hope there are more and not fewer opportunities such as the Leaders with Lived Experience fund. You can find out how to apply to the National Lottery Community Fund here.

The Value of User Led Groups - 2019 campaign UPDATE

 We are looking for more groups to complete the survey 

 If you're a user-led group we want to hear:

  • What does your group do?

  • What are your successes?

  • What are your challenges?

  • Are you self-funded or do you get support - if so, from where?

  • How hard is it to get funding in the current climate?

  • Do you have any views about government funding for mental health?

We want to gather as much information as possible before we meet with other groups and organisations 21 May. Visit our website for further updates on the campaign. Complete the survey or email info@nsun.org.uk.

Co-production guidance and tips

The Win-Win Alliance (Shaping Our Lives, Disability Rights UK, Change and NSUN) have produced some guidance outlining the simple, practical things you can do to provide inclusive and accessible involvement activities. You can read and download the Co-production guidance and tips papers here.


A short video and the Soap Boxes from our Members' Event in October 2018 is now available. You can also browse our Annual Report 2017-2018 here.

You can view the Principles of Peer Support Charter here.

Selected blogs and articles 

The impact of racism on mental health

Alison Faulkner's briefing paper summarising the evidence on the impact of racism on mental health, produced by the Synergi Collaborative Centre

They have produced four briefings to date – this one  The impact of racism on mental health (PDF)  and three others:

  • Ethnic inequalities in UK mental health systems

  • The importance of participatory methods to research and system change

  • Ethnicity, severe mental illness and categories

Synergi Briefing Papers provide summaries of the evidence and formulate a foundation for their work by reflecting the approach they are taking to their work and underlying values. 

Do you want to be employed as a co-researcher on a project that aims to tackle ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness? 


  • have lived experience of severe mental distress?

  • identify as African, Caribbean, South Asian or mixed heritage?

  • have interest in advancing our understanding of

  • ethnic inequalities and severe mental distress?

  • want the potential to make a difference in mental health services for ethnic minority people?

Do you want to be employed as a co-researcher on a project that aims to tackle ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness?

Synergi Collaborative Centre is recruiting 4 co-researchers on a casual basis to work with academic researchers based at the University of Manchester on a qualitative research project exploring the life stories of ethnic minority people - those with severe mental distress and those who work with them.

What does the post involve?

  • undertaking intensive training in research and qualitative lifestory interviewing & analysis leading to accreditation with the Open College Network

  • conducting in-depth one-to-one life story interviews

  • helping facilitate focus groups with different groups of stakeholders

  • co-analysing and disseminating the findings

  • regular support and supervision throughout the research process

Salary: £19.40/hour [Travel related to the post will be paid]

Closing date: Monday 6 May 2019
For more information please contact: maria.haarmans@manchester.ac.uk
0161 306 6943

Book: Illness as a Metaphor 

'A masterful focus on those who wander the margins'.

Man Thinking.jpg

Diary of a Malayali Madman is a collection of novellas written by one of India’s premiere writers, N Prabhakaran, and translated from the Malayalam language by Jayasree Kalathil.

The book explores the inner worlds of ordinary people in small town northern Kerala, and is reviewed here by the feminist historian, J Devika.

Read the full review and order the book here.

Dear GP zine - call for submissions by 21st April!  

Dear GP zine will be a collection of satirical clinic letters written 
evaluating sessions and assessing mental health professionals.

  • How accurate are your letters from mental health professionals?

  • Ever been copied into one that made you turn "emotionally labile" with rage?

  • Do you want to call out your professional's behaviour and analyse insignificant details about them too?

Then Dear GP zine wants to hear from you by 21st April

#dear_gp want submissions from users of mental health services and carers in the form of satirical clinic letters, usually sent to GPs,  reviewing your mental health professional.

Perhaps you have noticed that your mental health professional has "overvalued beliefs" they're unwilling to let go of. Perhaps your professional needs a full risk assessment and exploration of protective factors. Now's the time to let your GP know!

Also welcomed - Art made from clinic letters, notes, patient information leaflets, meds packet inserts - and whatever you can find!

Send submissions to DearGPLetters@gmail.com
Or DM on Twitter @dear_gp
Hashtag is #DearGP 

Passionate about PeerFest? 

Passionate about peer support and want to get involved in Peerfest19? 

Pre-Fest and Pitch-Fest.

You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Shape this national event with your ideas, energy and passion.

  • Get help and support from us to develop your pitch for Peerfest19.

Event 1 - Pre-Fest on 2nd May

To bring together 40+ groups from across the country to generate ideas and shape the vision for Peerfest19.

What will I get from the day?

  • The opportunity to energise and inspire on what a peer support celebration should be about

  • A safe space for you to bounce ideas around the room and collaborate with others

  • Support and guidance from the National Planning team if you choose to prepare a pitch for our Pitch-Fest Event 2 on 15th May

  • Details on how to prepare a pitch application for Pitch-Fest

Apply for a place at Pre-Fest here.

Event 2 - Pitch-Fest on 15th May

A day for you to pitch your ideas for Peerfest19. You can pitch to run the whole event or just a slice. We want the day to feel like a community, not a competition.

What will happen on the day?

  • You will set up your pitch in the event hall

  • You will have the chance to create partnerships throughout the pitch time

  • At the end of the day, a judging panel from the National Planning Team will announce which pitch or pitches will go forward to deliver Peerfest19

  • Applications to to pitch at Pitch-Fest will open on 3rd May, after Pre-Fest

Apply for a pitch at Pitch-Fest here.

Peerfest19 will be celebrated sometime between July and December 2019. The date and how to book a place will be announced here - so keep a look out for updates.

Any questions about Peerfest19? Contact the peer support team at peerfest@mind.org.uk. To get a flavour of our Peerfest celebrations click on the links below, to see what we get up to each year.

Peerfest 2018  Peerfest 2017 | Peerfest 2016 | Previous Peerfests

 Gig Buddies for Good Mental Health - Brighton & Hove 

Gig Buddies for Good Mental Health (or GBMH) covers Brighton & Hove and the immediate surrounding area was launched 10 April. It matches adults experiencing mental health challenges with a volunteer who has similar interests, to go to events together that they both love.

The project is run by Synergy Creative Community CIC, and is in partnership with local charity Stay Up Late, who created the original Gig Buddies model for adults with Learning Disabilities. Stay Up Late's Gig Buddies project has been so successful we would now like to bring Gig Buddies to a wider audience of people who would benefit from the activities on offer.

You can find out more about the Gig Buddies model, and the work of our partner organisation Stay Up Late here.

If you would like to become a gig buddy volunteer or participant, or refer someone you think would benefit, please get in touch using the details below.


GBMH, Synergy Creative Community

c/o Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG

Phone: 07877 574212

SUN Network - Cambridgeshire 

The SUN Network exists to make sure that everyone in Cambridgeshire has equitable access to high quality Mental health and/or Drug & Alcohol interventions and services at the time when it is needed.

They want to be the strongest voice around how mental health services should look across Cambridgeshire and that is the COLLECTIVE voice of their members. Join as a member and help improve mental health services and 'get the latest mental health, drug and alcohol news, involvement opportunities, training opportunities and chances to share your story!'

Visit the SUN Network website.

Lifecraft in Newmarket 

Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Rachel Hood, Mayor of Newmarket attended the launch of Lifecraft's Newmarket Hub 5 April.


Lifecraft has received funding to open an outreach hub in Newmarket:

  • Wednesdays: 12pm-4pm

  • Thursdays: 11.15am – 3.30pm

The next session will be 17th April, followed by 1st, 15th and 29th May 2019.

Find out about all of Lifecrafts groups and activities here.

Positive Mental Health Group - Birmingham 

Positive Mental Health Group - monthly networking meeting dates for 2018.

The group is open to anyone with an interest in promoting a greater awareness of mental health issues across the communities of Birmingham and Solihull.

Share information, news & views with statutory agencies, voluntary sector organisations, user groups - and individual users/carers/staff. Join one of the biggest mental health networking meetings in the Midlands, every month! Just turn up - no need to book.

Meetings include guest speakers, information table, light refreshments & a chance to chat and catch up.

Upcoming dates:

Tuesday 30th April – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 28th May – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 25th June – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 30th July – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 27th August – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 24th September – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 29th October – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 26th November – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday 17th December – from 2.30pm to 4.30pm

ALL MEETINGS ARE HELD AT - Cafe, 38 - 40 Holloway Circus, Birmingham city centre B1 1EQ

Just a short walk from all city centre rail stations and bus stops. The cafe is located next to Birmingham LGBT Health & Wellbeing Centre, opposite the Chinese pagoda traffic island and the Radisson hotel.

Buses X61 and 63 stop at HF1 outside the cafe. The journey is just two stops from the Rotunda/Bullring centre, board buses outside the Boots store.

PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) at BSMHFT can offer information on this group and other voluntary or user groups within Birmingham and Solihull - Phone 0800 953 0045

More information here.

The Bridge Collective - Exeter 

The Bridge Collective describe themselves as 'building a democratic community of mutual support run by people who have experiences, beliefs, and feelings that have sometimes been labelled as mental illness.'

They celebrated their 12 year anniversary 4 April.

You can find out what’s on here (pdf – poster download)

They have a range of groups and activities that include:

  • Music sessions

  • Art groups

  • Expert by Experience monthly meetings

  • Newsletter working space

  • Walks

Exploring Mindfulness and Voices 

Date: Friday 3rd May

Time: 10am - 4.30pm

Venue: Brockway Room, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square , WC1R 4RL London

Costs: £12 for unwaged, self-funded £50-£100, private and statutory £125

Trainer: Andy Phee


Using mindfulness practice to support others and ourselves

A day of practice, exploration and reflection, suitable for hearing voices group facilitators, mental health workers and people living with voices or distressing beliefs.

WORKSHOP CONTENT: The workshop includes mindfulness practices throughout the day and interactive exercises in pairs and small groups. We aim to explore:

  • Grounding and promoting safety

  • Mindfulness practices in everyday life

  • The breath and the body in mindfulness practice

  • Mindfulness meditation practices and adaptions

  • Mindful Movement

  • Mindful listening and being with others mindfully

  • Additionally, there will be space to discuss

  • Why mindfulness can be helpful

  • When mindfulness may and may not be helpful

  • Trauma sensitive mindfulness

  • The current evidence base for mindfulness and voice hearing and paranoia

  • Materials to support mindfulness practice such as guided recordings

  • Mindfulness and other approaches and therapies.

  • Starting a mindfulness practice and practising together in groups


Andy Phee. Andy's background was in community mental health nursing. He facilitated a Hearing Voices Group in Camden for many years. More recently since training to teach mindfulness, he has been facilitating mindfulness groups for people experiencing distressing voices and paranoia. He has been practising meditation and mindfulness for 20 years.


  • £12 Unwaged

  • £50 Self-funding part-time earners, and students

  • £100 Self-funding full-time earners, and voluntary sector organisations

  • £125 Private and statutory organisations (including NHS)

Small Print: The full fee will be chargeable if you cancel less than 7 days before the event. 

Book your place here.

For more information on booking, please contact: Akiko Hart

Mind in Camden, Barnes House, 9-15 Camden Rd, London, NW1 9LQ

020 7241 8978 | ahart@mindincamden.org.uk

User-led Women's Mental Health Network - turn up the volume! 

The Women’s Mental Health Network (WMHN) is the latest project from Wish, a women’s user-led mental health charity.

Mental Health Network Logo.png

A partnership of voluntary organisations working across sectors, the WMHN aims to provide a user-led, campaigning platform to give women with mental health needs a voice, and drive forward change.

The network’s focus is to improve women’s experience of using statutory services in a range of settings, such as hospitals, prisons, drugs and alcohol, housing, social services, by influencing them to become more gender-specific.

We are currently consulting with women who have experience of the mental health and/or criminal justice system, to find out what changes in service provision they would like to see.

Please complete the survey to help shape the network.

If you would like this questionnaire to be sent to you in a different format or language please email womensmhnetwork@gmail.com. 

Let's Talk exhibition 

A photo series created by photographer Charlie Clift and artist Kate Forrester aims to make mental health issues visible.

Let’s Talk is a project dedicated to visualising what’s going on inside someone’s mind, featuring people who have struggled with their mental health with their inner thoughts painted across their face.

The pictures will be shown to the public in Guildhall Yard, London, from 12 May to 22 May

Read more here and visit the Let's Talk campaign page here.

In the news 

The Guardian

Can going to therapy become as straightforward as going to the gym? At Self Space, Jodie Cariss offers flexibility, online bookings and the chance to change therapist mid-treatment. But does it work? Stuart Jeffries tries it out.

Feature: My working week -'A woman wants to die. As a social worker, I help her see that life matters'. My job as a mental health social worker involves supporting people in crisis and advocating for others

BBC News

UWE Bristol students 'sought help' before deaths. A report into the death of 14 students who had taken their own lives found eight had already sought help for mental health issues. The University of the West of England (UWE) report stated the deaths were mostly among white male students whose average age was 21. Read the full story here.


Judges given new sentencing guidance for criminals with mental illnesses and learning difficulties. Criminals with mental illnesses and learning difficulties are to be sentenced according to new guidelines aiming to determine their level of responsibility for offences. Campaigners hailed a “big step” towards consistency in courts across England and Wales, but magistrates warned of a “lack of appropriate options” outside of imprisonment. Read more here.

Rights Info

Postcode lottery on children's mental health services: A study by the Children’s Commissioner has found that spending on child mental health services has fallen in more than a third of areas in England.The report revealed that while spending on services, such as school counsellors and drop-in centres, had risen  by 17 per cent overall, the rise only occurred in certain local areas. Read the full story here.

Disability News Service

Autistic authors’ guide maps out route to quality care. A new guide – written solely by autistic people – aims to show care providers, commissioners and inspectors how to provide “quality care” for other autistic people. An Independent Guide to Quality Care for Autistic People has been written by members of the National Autistic Taskforce (NAT) and has a “heavy emphasis” on developing choice and control for service-users.

Read the full article here.

The mother of Jodie Whitling, the disabled woman who took her own life after repeated safeguarding failings by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has branded DWP’s responsepublished last week, to the parliamentary petition set up in her daughter’s name “a joke”. Read the full article here 

Dates for your calendar 

29 April in London: one day course on the impact of welfare reforms - For more information and to book a place please call 020 7354 6433 or email training@centralcare.co.uk

03 May in York: 'A Disorder for Everyone!' - book your place please click here

12 May internationally: Emerging Proud Day - Click here for more information

 13-19 May Mental Health Awareness Week Download the resources pack and add your own event to the activity map, please click here.

 03 June in London Creative Strategies for Peer support Engagement interactive workshop. Click here for more information.

08 June in Manchester: Extreme experiences - mental illnesses or danger gifts? 

Please email catonneil1009@gmail.com with any questions.

This is an ISPS UK event in association with Asylum Magazine and CCrAMHP

17 June in London: I is for insult, questionning ''borderline personality disorder'' - for more information please click here

01 to 05 July in England: National Co-production Week - For more information please click here

14 to 16 July in Norfolk: Sacred Space Weekend Retreat for mental health professionals with lived experience - Limited spaces; Shared Room: £249, Single Room £299, Fully inclusive of all meals - Email Katie at: mendthegap@hotmail.com - Find out more about the outstanding retreat venue in the beautiful Norfolk Broads here.

3-5 September in Nottingham: Refocus on Recovery recovery research conference. Alison Faulkner and David Crepaz-Keay will be keynote speakers. You can see the full list of speakers hereRegister here.

GOV.UK news 

Implementing the NHS Long Term Plan - events

NHS England and NHS Improvement are running two national events aimed at people who work in and use NHS services. Participants will hear directly from NHS leaders about the proposals and how they aim to improve the planning and delivery of care. There will also be group discussions so that people can explore the plans in more detail.


London: 3 April 2019

Leeds: 16 April 2019.


If you are interested in attending please email england.legislation@nhs.net to find out how to book a place.


The NHS Long Term Plan included suggested legislative changes to help implement the Plan faster and more effectively. These are set out in further details and now NHS staff, partner organisations and interested members of the public have the opportunity to give their views on our proposals.


You can read more information about the proposals on the NHS Long Term Plan website and then complete an online survey to share your views. The deadline for responses is 25th April 2019.


New Youth Charter to support young people across the country

The Youth Charter will reaffirm Government’s commitment to helping young people succeed and the Minister for Sport and Civil Society will work with sector to develop this work. 

'The charter will reaffirm Government’s commitment to give young people a strong voice on the issues they care about such as combating serious violence and knife crime, addressing mental and physical health challenges and concerns about the environment and climate change.'

Read more here.

New projects to strengthen families and keep children out of care

£84m for projects that support families, marking 30th anniversary of the Children Act

 Mental health and wellbeing support for NHS staff: government pledges overhaul

Plans to give staff immediate access to dedicated mental health support will be considered as part of the upcoming workforce implementation plan.


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Hertfordshire Community Pharmacy Opening Times- Easter


In preparation for Easter weekend East and North and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Groups have shared the opening hours for Community Pharmacy.

Please click the links for both sides of the county:

East and North Herts

Herts Valley

Scroll through to see timetable for the Good Friday 19th April, Sunday 21st April and Easter Monday 22nd April.

 Any questions please let us know and we will put you in touch with the appropriate professional.

 This message has been sent from HCPA to support care providers in being aware what is happening across the health and social care system)




CPS Thames and Chiltern Recruiting Volunteers


Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Thames and Chiltern Recruiting Volunteers to Join Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel

Are you situated in any of the following counties?

Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire or Oxfordshire? Are you interested in making a difference to your community? Do you have a passion for fairness and justice?

Do you represent any of these communities: Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME), Disabled, Faith, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT), Older People, Women, Young People? Would you like to help us improve the way that we deliver our prosecution services? Do you have some time, experience and knowledge that would support our business in dealing with crime and disorder? Then apply to join the CPS Thames and Chiltern Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel

For more details please click this link