Mid May mental health and health news,views opinions etc

A bumper crop of items (well over twenty, and some of those themselves contain umpteen nuggets) so let’s crack on, in no particular order, other than that in which your correspondent types them.

You usual fistful of NSUN updates can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.
Then there’s an National Involvement Partnership/NIP (of which NSUN and others, inc. ourselves are a part) up date here. And another part of the NIP is the Social Perspectives Network (SPN) whose latest newsletter can be downloaded here.

Couple of attachments now.
One is for the inaugural meeting of the public, service user and carer steering group for the Shared Decision Making and Depression in Primary Care project that will take place on the 3rd June (1-4pm at the Great North Museum: Hancock). Click here to register and book your place. Alternatively, please contact Alison Etherington: Tel 0191 222 7382 Email:alison.etherington@ncl.ac.uk

The next is for a new monthly self injury group, that meets on a Saturday morning, and the poster is attached. Do contact your correspondent (details in the signature at the bottom of this email) for further details. Next meeting is on Saturday the 8th of June, 10am to noon at Crisis Skylight in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Okay, want some reading material to take you through the long, bank Holiday weekend? Why not try the attached report (BIHR MH Guide.pdf), a new guide to mental health advocacy and human rights from the British Institute for Human Rights.

If writing’s your thing, more than reading (though of course, it’s not like they’re mutually exclusive: that would make life a bit awkward,no?) how about getting involved with this (for which there’s an attachment attached, for if it weren’t attached it wouldn’t be an attachment. Forgive me, it’s late…)

In collaboration with the Hearing the Voice project at Durham University, StepAway Magazine seeks to publish a special issue dedicated to the creative exploration of inner speech and voice-hearing experiences within the context of walking in the city. The issue will present a collection of walking narratives by both voice-hearers and writers who creatively imagine hearing voices.

To accompany a commissioned piece by Iain Sinclair, we welcome submissions of poetry, prose and non-fiction from writers of any background. Ten submissions will be chosen for publication online and in print. Submissions can be as long as a 1000-word essay or story, or as short as a 17-syllable haiku poem. We will examine each submission with great care. We understand that this is a sensitive subject and we will protect your privacy should you request us not to publish your full name.

All submissions should be contained within the body of an email. No attachments please. Simultaneous submissions are not accepted.

After familiarising yourself with Hearing the Voice and previous editions of StepAway Magazine, please email your submission, a short press-ready biography (should you wish to be publically identified as the author), contact details and a statement confirming that the piece has not been published elsewhere, to the editor, Darren Carlaw: hearingthevoice

Now for those splendid charming folk at the DWP, with their buddies, atos. Some investigative work by familiar faces into the enigmatically mysterious "Mental Function Champions". A whistleblowing doctor says that the WCA tests are biased against applicants, deliberately so.
A whole host of leading doctors speak out against the whole process,too.
And, in one respect at least, it looks like the WCA process has been legally determined as unfair and prejudiced against those with mental health problems*.The Department for Work and Pensions has said it will appeal the decision. Ah, isn’t that good of them.

(* do note that the claimants were principally supported by the Mental Health Resistance Network: some large corporatised organisations/charities are loudly trying to claim the biggest slice of the credit for this success, which is really rather naughty. But not in the same league of bad as the DWP and IDS,obviously)

Now, it is a long-established protocol (check Erskine May) that Members of Parliament not allowed to call each other liars in the House of Commons, However none of the rest of us are bound by such counter-factual conventions. Which somehow leads us to Iain Duncan Smith, who’s been found to have repeatedly misrepresented statistics, misreported findings, and engaged in character assassination of the vulnerable and marginalised. But you know, the whole Work programme’s going so well, isn’t it? And Universal credit too? Why, Welfare Reform is wonderful and saving money,surely?

So where do we turn for light relief? The stories about the wrangles over DSM5, together with the woeful reporting by some media outlets on it all (no links, because of the shoddiness of too much of the aforeseaid coverage. This reposted piece is decent,though).

Let’s find something cheerier: A year of mental health payment by results: the social workers’ verdict. Ooh, heck, that doesn’t look too grand either…so let’s turn to Community Treatment Orders. Er, looks like they fail to reduce psychiatric readmissions for people with psychosis. What about persoanlisation in mental health. Slow progress to say the least, but here is an opportunity (via national MIND) for a service user or two to relate their experiences. One of those who pushed heavily for personalisation (and has been dismayed by both the manner and mechanisms used for implementation) was Simon Duffy (did you see that smooth segue…did you?) . Downloadable here is his report on the impact of the cuts etc and a way forward for welfare (entitled A fair society). You know one that might help people rather than beat up on them? Um, not too cheery, so we now come to the last attachment the report from the Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing. And it’s a pretty damning document too, highlighting ‘significant problems’ in joint working between social workers, NHS staff and police forces.

Ho,hum. Here’s hoping things will pick up,


Alisdair Cameron
LAUNCHPAD Team Leader,
NTWSU&C n/wk co-chair (with Mish Loraine)

(for network business: ntwsuc@gmail.com)

Offices 210 and 211,
Holy Jesus Hospital,
City Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne,

Tel 0191 2330382 (personal mobile 07736074213)

E-mail launchpadncl@aol.com
or alisdairscameron@gmail.com

Information Leaflet_Steering Group_SDM and Depression Project_3_06_2013.doc

SIG draft poster.pdf

BIHR MH Guide.pdf.pdf

Voicewalks Flyer (FINAL VERSION).pdf


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