Mid January 2014 mental health and health and social care news, views, opinions, events etc

Your first discursive,recursive mailout of blather and bunkum for the year is here. Well, obviously, as you’ve read this far. Fear not, as it isn’t a gargantuan effort, since your correspondent’s compiling muscles need to warm up again,what with being out of practice for s-o-o-o-o long.

Righty-ho, so obviously the big, big mental health news this week has been all about "parity of esteem".
Everyone’s talking about it, in fact they talk of nothing else on the highways and byways, in the hamlets and metropolises of our fair region. Actually (and some of us have been banging on for decades about this) what it means is having mental health given the same respect and status as physical health receives.Not as good or spendable as equality of funding, but hey it’s a start.Of sorts, though what parity of esteem would look like were we to reach it is a moot point..
So, how better to demonstrate a commitment to parity than to get the biggest and meanest of the nation’s political heavyweights to lead the way? And so it came to pass that we got Nick Clegg announcing the Government’s intentions, its direction of travel if you so wish (but if you do so wish, then you might want to take a good hard look at yourself, and your life, and how it ever came to this) in a press conference wholly taken over by other matters involving a dodgy peer of his acquaintance. Nick Clegg,eh. that’s your actual parity of esteem right there, that is.

Ahem, moving on, and we come to some of our pals at NSUN and their mailouts,all three for the year so far, lovely stuff, here,here,and here

Now,then, Mental Health: Developing service user/survivor ideas on social approaches. Sound like something you might be interested in (and do note the estimable Mary Nettle is involved)? Well, the attached ("project information") might be worth a wee peek. Views and interviewees wanted, if you please.

Women who use self injury: Naomi Salisbury from Bristol Crisis Service for Women is running an extensive consultation and am trying to contact as many service user and support organisations as possible with the aim of establishing a national peer/volunteer-run helpline and other services for women who use self injury. So maybe drop her a line, eh? Naomi Salisbury – Development Worker Support Services,Bristol Crisis Service for Women,PO Box 654, Bristol BS99 1XH
phone: 0117 927 9600 naomi.bcsw :www.selfinjurysupport.org.uk

Those of you with an eye on the welfare and benefits picture (not a pretty one…) might recall the news that the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling which found that the process used to decide whether hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) discriminates against people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and autism.
Great news.
But wait, what’s this? Oh, just that it’s emerged that straight away, the DWP sent out a memo to all staff pouring scorn on the decision by declaring that nothing would change and that it was ‘Business as usual’ as far as they were concerned. Harumph.

This segues neatly to a good, rational and balanced (no idea what it’s doing here,then) analysis from the always informative Rich Watts on whether or not the DWP should be disbanded. (Ans: probably,yes).

And now we’ll finish off with some cartoons, some cuddly Winnie-the-Pooh action.The Hundred Acre Wood could use a therapist. Or, alternatively, society could stand to think a little bit more about whether, in our efforts to understand mental illness and get help for people who need it, we’re leaning a bit too far towards medicalising difference.

Until the next time, assuming there is one, but do send in items that might suit being sent out to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people in and around mental health in the North East. Who promptly glimpse the wordy witterings and use the delete button.


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

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

Tel 0191 2330382 (personal mobile 07736074213)

E-mail launchpadncl

or alisdairscameron

project information.doc

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