About us and our activities
People who use mental health services are all too often excluded by society at large, and can suffer twice over-once from the problem itself and over again from the general public’s ignorance and discriminatory attitudes. Mental health services in the UK are under-funded and over-stretched, but the whole topic is frequently not acknowledged or recognised.
LAUNCHPAD works to redress the balance, and offers the chance for anyone who uses mental health services in Newcastle to have their voice heard by the people who run these services. We endeavour to improve mental health services for all, and to promote the views and opinions of service users, all in a friendly , safe environment.
Mental Health Service User Involvement
Well, it’s what we do at Launchpad! That is to say, we are all (staff included) people who use mental health services in and around Newcastle upon Tyne, and we work to ensure that the voice of the service user is heard in all the decision-making bodies that affect mental health.
People who use services are ‘experts by experience’, and our knowledge and insight are invaluable for improving the mental health system. We try to put across service user views to bodies as diverse as the Strategic Health Authority, the Primary Care Trust, the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (NTW), the city council, social services, the police, voluntary organisations, charities, and MPs, to name just a few. There are as many service user points of view as there are service users, so we convey as wide a range of opinions and outlooks as possible. We collaborate widely, and act as a base for regional and sub-regional user & carer networks, like the NTWSU&C network.
Getting things done
In order to accurately represent the great breadth and depth of mental health service user opinion, we run focus groups, do a lot of outreach work, work with in-patient units, produce the service users’ guide to day services, and we constantly seek out the views of otherwise hard-to-reach groups. We also campaign against the stigma that all too often is attached to having a mental health problem, strive to improve the lot of the service user (for example, leading on MIND’s Ward Watch in-patient conditions initiative), produce a well-regarded magazine, “ON THE GRAPEVINE” and have a number of local and national media appearances to our credit.
Also at LAUNCHPAD…
Busy bees that we are, there is more, more, more at LP. We are the NEWCASTLE MENTAL HEALTH USER FORUM, and run a PRIMARY CARE MH USER PANEL too. Also watch out for our COMMUNITY LECTURES at a whole host of venues.
Every other Friday (again, from 11a.m.) we have our depression and general mental health SELF-HELP & DISCUSSION GROUP. In a supportive and friendly atmosphere, participants use a semi-structured, stepped approach to managing their mental distress. There is also our amiable, free-form, women’s group, BLISSFUL, which meets up most Saturday lunchtime/ afternoons. Just give us a bell on 0191 2330382 if this sounds like it might be your cup of tea/coffee/whatever.
Once a month, together with our good friends at the GATESHEAD MH USER FORUM, we run a mental health group, PRIDE IN MIND, for the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities.
We also have an interest in RESEARCH and can offer training in MH research.
Furthermore, we assist with a SOCIAL ANXIETY group, and run various SELF MANAGEMENT programmes (for mental health); call us for details. We also collect as much information as possible about all types of mental health problems and issues. Even if we can’t directly help, then we’ll know someone who can!