Self-advocacy training at CoolTan Arts

Dear All,

Self Advocacy Training is intended for individuals with mental distress. The Training is designed to help people who need to develop self confidence, advocacy skills, awareness and knowledge about services available to them e.g. Debt Management, Self Esteem and Mental health Act, & more. It is free for everyone regardless of whether they have a personal budget or personal health budget. The dates for July is attached.

If the individual is with a CMHT then we require that the Care Coordinator fills in a referral form and sends it to Emma Zvesper

We are working towards accreditation and hopefully the Self Advocacy course will become a qualification but this is in process and nothing is confirmed yet.

Please feel free to contact me for more information,

All the very best,

Michelle Savioz

Self-Advocacy Trainer and Project Administrator

CoolTan Arts believes mental wellbeing is enhanced by the power of creativity.

CoolTan Arts is a winner of the Mental Healthy, Mental Health Hero Awards as Creative Hero (Group)

CoolTan Arts runs the Largactyl Shuffle Walk every third Saturday of the month and a Sponsored Walk on 13th October 2012. Sign up now!


CoolTan Arts

Unit B, 237 Walworth Road
London SE17 1RL

Main Switchboard: 020 7701 2696
Funny Farm:

Twitter: @cooltan4
CoolTan Arts is a registered charity, reg. number 1064231, and company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, reg. number 3244552

Iain Duncan Smith finally admits over-stating benefit fraud

by Sunny Hundal

The DWP secretary Iain Duncan Smith finally admitted today that his department was “wagging their finger” and “stigmatising” people on benefits as committing fraud despite their innocence.

This belated semi-apology came only a few weeks after Lord Freud from the same department wrote to Churches apologising for exaggerating the extent of benefit fraud.

Earlier today, while answering questions from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, IDS said people were receiving overpayments through no fault of their own, and were were being characterised as “fraudsters”. (via Full Fact).

The truth is quite a lot of what we here politically term constantly as fraud is often complexity error, which is very easy for us to then say this is fraud and people feel quite stigmatised by that.

The truth is quite a lot is nothing to do with them, it’s the system itself.

It simply means they didn’t understand what they were meant to be doing and now they are apparently committing fraud and a lot of them didn’t know that was the case.

So we’re hoping that this will politically just tone some of this rhetoric down and stop basically accusing people of things which frankly is partly because of the system and nothing to do with them.

According to Full Fact, he also said that by moving to the Universal Credit system, such instances would be reduced.

But it has been repeatedly pointed out that the DWP itself frequently briefs newspapers with exaggerated statistics in order to push their line.

Iain Duncan Smith himself exaggerated statistics on housing benefit by claiming they came from the ONS, when in fact they came from a property website owned by the Daily Mail.

RT via

Andrew Lansley rap roundup

Since we’re posting about Andrew Lansley again today I thought you might like these, if you haven’t seen them before 🙂

Co-written by MC Nxtgen & Rob Gee

First, the original:

Then Big Society NHS do the Lansley Rap

Billy Bragg & MC NxtGen @ QEH, London

British Medical Association Calls For Andrew Lansley To Resign

Doctors have called for Andrew Lansley to resign, saying they have “no confidence” in the Health Secretary.

Medics went head to head with Lansley last week over the Government’s controversial pension reforms.

They took industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years to voice their anger at the proposals.

The BMA accused Mr Lansley of “breaching doctors’ trust” by tearing up the pension deal which was only agreed four years ago.

On Thursday, delegates at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual conference in Bournemouth agreed on a motion calling for Mr Lansley’s resignation.

Delegates at the conference voted on the motion “This meeting has no confidence in Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, and calls for him to resign”.

The motion won by a slight majority, with 158 delegates voting in favour and 124 against.

Dr Gary Marlowe, who presented the motion, told the conference: “I do not trust this man.”

Help make Chris Grayling mad

Here’s an opportunity for you to help make a minister wish he hadn’t interfered.

Back in March we wrote about the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) employment and support allowance appeals video (external link) on Youtube. The video was pulled after less than a week, on the orders of senior officials.

Independent benefits expert Neil Bateman (external link), discovered that the video was taken down after employment minister Chris Grayling emailed the ministry complaining about, amongst other things, the fact that it told claimants:

  • that they are twice as likely to win their appeal if they appear in person rather than having a paper hearing;
  • that the DWP doesn’t normally send a representative to the hearing;
  • to send additional evidence to the tribunal, when Grayling wants it sent to the DWP.

Yesterday, three months later, the video reappeared and, to their credit, after their initial panic MoJ officials seem to have left it unaltered. The video is actually reasonably informative and reassuring for people who have no previous experience of appeal tribunals.

Normally, however, MoJ videos get very little attention – one has had just two views and few of the 120 videos on the MoJ channel gets more than a few hundred views.

If Grayling hadn’t intervened this video would probably also have remained largely unseen. Now, however, we’re asking Benefits and Work newsletter readers to make it the most popular video the MoJ has ever produced. The current record holder has had 4,269 views and the ESA video currently stands at 1,063.

So, please, make Grayling mad by taking a look at the video and passing the link on to anyone you think might benefit: (external link)

11 July: now reposted here:

Richard Mabey on i player

Richard Mabey

The man described as “Britain’s greatest living nature writer”, Richard Mabey, talks to Claudia Hammond about “the lost years” of his depressive illness. The author of Food for Free, Flora Britannica and Nature Cure admits that a symptom of his clinical depression was that he lost his connection with the natural world.

Allotment “Young at Heart”

The Young at Heart Project in Barking and Dagenham works to improve the mental and physical health of socially isolated men by bringing them together for regular growing sessions down at the allotment.


Mental health professionals join Andy McGeeney in ancient woodland, Thorndon Park, in Essex, to learn about ecotherapy.

Lisa on Horticultural Therapy

After many years of illness, Lisa, a former mental health nurse, tells Claudia about the part making a garden played in her recovery.

“Green Therapy”: the evidence

Dr Rachel Bragg from the “Green Care Research Team” at the University of Essex describes the evidence behind nature-based therapies and argues they should be part of a “toolkit” of care for patients.

Producer: Fiona Hill.

Link here:

SIRS newsletter

Please find attached the latest newsletter from users of SIRS Lewisham (formerly COS).


Hear Us Well-being event 3rd July

Final programme here: 3rd July Program final.

All Welcome!

Letter from Stuart Bell

Dear colleague,

I am writing to let you know that I will be taking up the position of Chief Executive of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust this autumn and so I shall, after 13 years, be leaving SLaM.

It has been a great privilege to have had the opportunity to lead the Trust and to work with such a fantastic team. I’ve learnt so much and been inspired by so many people over the years – from our service users and carers, our partners and from all of you.

Needless to say, it has not been easy to make a decision which brings with it such a wrench and there is never a good time for such things. One must, however, take opportunities when they come along and I think this is the right time for me to take up a fresh set of responsibilities.

There is no doubt that all of us who work within the NHS, and within mental health services in particular, face challenging times ahead. That said, this is an organisation with great resilience and a track record throughout its long history for innovation and transition. I’m confident that the values we have shared and the commitment and skills of every one who works here will ensure that our endeavour goes from strength to strength.

I know that you may have questions about what the next steps might be, and the Board will have an opportunity at its meeting next week to discuss the necessary arrangements. In the meantime I wanted to write to you personally at the earliest opportunity to let you know about my decision.

I would like to thank you for all you have done to help me over the time that I have been Chief Executive and wish you all the best for the future.

Yours sincerely,


Stuart Bell CBE
Chief Executive

Urgent request re physical health needs outcome measures

The Physiotherapy Department at SLaM is presenting at the National CPMH (Chartered Physiotherapists in Mental Health) Study Day in London on Friday.

A belief of ours is that healthcare quality is socially constructed; or in other words, it is in the eye of the beholder.

As part of our talk we were looking at combining traditional outcome measures with measures that reflect individuals personal beliefs, attitudes and desires regarding their physical health. This includes everything from everyday activities to sport, how people perceive themselves to work.

Any input would be greatly appreciated and will be included in a talk that aims to change the perception of physiotherapists throughout the UK.

Please send any comments or feedback to by 5pm this Thursday (28th June).

Making An Exhibition of Myself

D Rosier: A selection of autobiographical works 2006-2012

At the SGDP, Institute of Psychiatry, SE5

Monday 9th July – Wednesday 26th September 9am-5pm

(closed weekends)

Private view: Wednesday 11th July, 5-7pm: All Welome!

Guided tours by appointment, 1-2-1 and groups 🙂 email

Map here: map

SMart open studio 29th June

Dear SMart Friend, 

We have the pleasure to invite you and your friends, to share with us, SMart volunteers and members, our OPEN STUDIO event organised by  The Courtauld institute of Art and SMart Network, 29th June at Somerset House, the Learning Centre. Please see attached invitation for details: SMart Magazine Media Kit1 

Also you will have the opportunity to  meet our members and volunteers, share their experiences.

Come along with your friends to have FUN and support our cause. We need YOU to be part of our exciting venture!

The re-launched of our SMart magazine is coming soon

We would like to feature in our publication the work of socially marginalised people, visual arts, creative writing, photography and other artistic disciplines. Also we would like to hear from  art projects working with homeless, mental health users, drug/alcohol addicts, refugees and in general socially marginalised and excluded people, that are facilitating their rehabilitation through art or creative activities.

If you know individuals or organisations that you think can be included in our  nation wide publication, please contact us or please pass our details.

We look forward to seeing you

SMart Team





Congratulations Jaime Bautista, Founder of SMart Network and Editor-in-chief, SMart Magazine. Recipient of the Boris Johnson Team London Award 2011. 

Work capability assessment: media opportunity via Mind

Are you able to share your story with a journalist to promote more positive coverage of mental health?

Mind’s Media team is responsible for challenging public perceptions about mental health and raising awareness about mental health issues.

Setting up media interviews with people who have experience of mental distress gives us the chance to present the real picture of what mental health problems are and increase public understanding. Arranging for a journalist to speak with someone with direct experience can be crucial in getting them to understand the issues.

We are fortunate to have a network of media volunteers who are happy to talk to the media about their experiences. However, sometimes we get requests that our existing pool of first-rate volunteers can’t meet.

Current opportunities

Have you been found fit for work?

A production company are making a documentary about the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which will be aired this summer on a national news channel. They are looking for media volunteers who have mental health problems but who have been found fit for work and are now waiting for their appeal to be heard.

This would be an opportunity to speak out about how you found the WCA and what impact being found fit for work and having to fight the decision is having on you.

Please note that they are looking for people who are willing to be identified – they won’t do anonymous filming.

If you’re interested in finding out more please email Vicki Prout in the Media Team with your name, contact details and a brief outline of your experiences.

The fine print

The opportunities posted here tend to be quite specific and have tight deadlines – that’s the nature of working with the media. If your experiences match one of our posts and you would like to get involved, please email the Mind Media team or call us on 020 8522 1743.

Find out more about becoming a media volunteer for Mind

Kindred Minds 5th User Consultation Event

Be involved!  Be the change and have your say at our next

Kindred Minds 5th

User Consultation Event

The time is now to be part of important changes happening at Southwark Mind.  As a BME Kindred Minds member we want your support to hear more of your thoughts, to hear the latest and have your say in the developments of Kindred Minds.

Tuesday 26th June 2012 at


@ Cambridge House, 1 Addington Square, London, SE5 0HF.

The new Southwark Mind Interim Director, Alan Cripps, will give an update on the current situation with Southwark Mind, a chance to ask questions and to hear the views of Kindred Minds members.

Also an update on  the Big Lottery’s position/views with the organisation’s and project transitions.

If you support Kindred Minds it is important you come along.

Drinks and Snacks will be available.

We will cover your travel expenses/car parking if you have access needs (i.e mobility restrictions) – it is important that this does not stop you from coming!

New address for posts for the blog

Oo er… we’ve gone all official!

Our new address to send posts for the blog is

This is repeated on the Want to Post? page of the blog.