South London feeder march to OCT20 TUC demo: a Future that Works

Assemble Imperial War Museum 10am.

Trade Unions and Save Our Services campaigns in Lambeth, Southwark & beyond are organising a rally & feeder march from the Imperial War Museum to join the hundreds of thousands assembling on Embankment. We had 5-10’000 join us at the last feeder march on March 26th 2011 so join us this time to build unity across South London and march for a future that works.

So far supported by:

Camberwell & Peckham Labour Party, London & South-East Region PCS, Lambeth UNISON, Lambeth NUT, Lambeth Save our Services, Lambeth College UCU, Bermondsey & Old Southwark Labour Party, Southwark Trades Union Council, Southwark Disabled People Against Cuts, Southwark Save Our Services campaign, Southwark Save Adult Learning cam­paign, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Fuel Poverty Action Group, Indo-American Refugee and Migrant Organisation (more expected).

‘Significant risk’ for mental health patients in custody

A coroner has warned there is a “significant risk” for mental health patients who come into contact with the police when they are in a crisis.

Last month an inquest decided officers at Brixton police station used “unsuitable” force in restraining musician Sean Rigg.

The 40-year-old paranoid schizophrenic died in police custody four years ago.

Coroner Andrew Harris has said he will publish his final recommendations later.

He has highlighted the key issues he will look at in his Rule 43 report:

  • Joint mental health protocols across London are not clear. He said he was not fully satisfied that the risks of failure of the various parties caring for mental health patients in a crisis will not be repeated.
  • The failure of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM) to undertake a mental health assessment.
  • He said he could not be sure that Metropolitan Police emergency call operators were adequately trained in mental health issues. He will recommend a force-wide review of training.
  • The lack of assessment of mental health issues the police officers who arrested Mr Rigg had.
  • Unsuitable force and length of restraint.
  • He said officers were too focussed on the risk of violence and not on the potential mental health issues.

“There remains a significant risk that similar deaths could occur,” Mr Harris said.

Sean Rigg’s sister Marcia said it was “imperative that things change”

However Mr Harris said police were putting in place better facilities at Brixton to handle mental health patients.

He also recognised assurances by SLAM that they were addressing clinical risk assessments properly.

Mr Harris added that he would not deal with issues being dealt with in two separate Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) reviews.

Final call

Mr Rigg was held after a claim he had attacked passers-by in Balham.

During the inquest, Southwark Coroner’s Court was told Mr Rigg, a karate expert, had not been taking his medication.

Returning a narrative verdict, jurors found police handling of the death had showed an “absence of leadership”.

Mr Rigg, who had a history of problems with the law, threatened staff at a hostel he was living in.

Staff there made four emergency calls to police over three hours but help did not arrive.

When they made their final call, he had left the hostel and was then reported to have attacked a young couple.

Within 10 minutes of the report, he was restrained by three police officers on the Weir Estate in Brixton.

Later that evening he collapsed at Brixton police station suffering from a heart arrhythmia, which was the medical cause of Mr Rigg’s death.

The court heard he had been physically fit before he died.

The jury found police restrained Mr Rigg in the prone position for eight minutes while he was being arrested, a length of time that “more than minimally” contributed to his death.

#RT via via Andrea

Ten mental health tips for parents

Submitted by Ziaul

In my personal experience the support from my parents has been essential to my recovery. Since my diagnosis of depression and a first episode of psychosis they have really been there for me. They visited me every day when I was admitted to hospital which helped me to stay optimistic and gave me something to look forward to every day while I was in there. Without my family I don’t think I would have recovered as quickly or be feeling as great as I do now.

I realise many parents may find it hard to discover that their child has a mental health issue as there is so much prejudice and stigma attached to it. However, many people with mental health issues go on to have satisfying and fulfilling lives.

This list is made up of tips that helped me personally, and although each case is an individual matter based on individual circumstances, I hope the following tips will help you to help your child.

1. Listen and try to be understanding – Listen to your child and don’t judge them. My own family told me I could talk to them about anything and having them there to talk to really helped me come to terms with what was going on in my own mind.

2. Show them affection – Try to tell them and show them how much you care. Since my diagnosis my parents have told me many times how much they love and care for me and this has made me feel wanted and loved. It has also helped me to feel a part of the family and I now know that I have somewhere and someplace to belong.

3. Research the condition – There are many different mental illnesses, read up on your child’s specific condition. This will help you better understand not only the condition but also what helps recovery and what can prevent relapses in the future. My dad purchased books to learn more about my condition and how to help. This made me feel like my parents were on my side and were doing all they could to help me. It also made me feel like I wasn’t going through it alone.

4. Don’t blame yourself – It is easy for a parent to blame themselves, somehow thinking they have caused the illness either through genetics or the environment they have raised their child in. This, however, in many circumstances, is not the case at all. The only thing you can do is be there for your child and help them.

5. Encourage social interaction with friends and family – My parents encouraged me to go out and meet people and also to maintain contacts. I found this extremely helpful. Also, the Early Intervention team set up regular social groups and I have made many friends through this and participated in a variety of fun activities. There are schemes such as Uthink which is run by Rethink Mental Illness as well as other youth groups run by various charities. The key thing though is to not rush your child into anything, it will take time.

6. Provide a peaceful and loving environment – A loving environment can be so helpful for your child’s recovery and wellbeing. My parents have provided me with a very calm and peaceful home environment since I left the hospital and purposely refrain from any arguing or conflicts, which I really appreciate and am massively grateful for. The whole mood and atmosphere of my household has improved and, not only me, but everyone is a lot happier and more cheerful.

7. Do activities together – When my sister comes to visit, she, my brother and I always do at least one activity together. Activities we’ve done together include going to the cinema, restaurants, the zoo, the sealife centre, amongst many other things. I have found that doing these activities has brought everyone in my family closer together and has caused us to bond so much more. Ask your child what they would like to do. Enjoy the time you spend together but understand that your child might take time before they start enjoying activities again.

8. Let them know they can talk to you anytime about anything – I have been fortunate in this respect as my family have been so understanding and just want me to stay well. They are always there for me when I need to talk to them, whether it’s to do with mental health issues or anything else. My dad doesn’t talk very much but he always listens to me about whatever I want to talk about and this has helped me to get things off my chest and feel relaxed. Your child may not want to talk at first, or may only say a few words, but always reassure them they can talk to you as little or as much as they want in their own time.

9. Know that recovery will occur over time and will not happen overnight – In my case the effects of psychosis, after taking medication for it, took four to five months to completely wear off. Also, I had been depressed for a much longer period of my life but the medication prescribed to me has been amazing and has completely lifted my mood. I stopped feeling depressed extremely quickly, within a matter of days. However, I have been told by several mental health professionals that medication does not work for everyone. Mental health issues can be extremely complex and recovery can take anything from a few days to months to years. In some cases, the illness may be lifelong but coping strategies and/or medication can be used to manage it.

10. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from mental health professionals – Please don’t be afraid to seek help or advice from mental health professionals. They have a vast amount of experience in dealing with people suffering from mental health issues and are an excellent source to get help and advice from. There are also support groups available for parents, guardians and carers to help deal with the whole situation, such as, carer support groups.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do to help your child suffering from mental health problems. There are many others things you can do but I hope these 10 tips will be a starting point when helping your child.

#RT via

Briefing from SLaM service user/carer advisory group – September 2012

Hello all,

to keep people informed about what this SLaM service user / carer advisory group is discussing, we have developed this short briefing sheet.  Please use it as you see fit to let people know about the work we are doing.

briefing – Sept 2012

Please get in touch if you would like any more information.

With best wises


Alice Glover
Patient & Public Involvement Lead
Mood Anxiety & Personality CAG and Psychological Medicine CAG
email: tel: 020 3228 0959

I Love Routine …

Maudsley on Radio 5 on iPlayer

The above is the link the Radio 5 programme that was broadcast from the Maudsley on Tuesday.

#RT via Bridget

£10bn Welfare Cut On Poorest Is Wrong Policy Aimed At Wrong Target, By Michael Meacher MP

Pace Andrew Mitchell, Osborne’s proposed £10bn benefit cut for poor families looks set to become the litmus test for the party conference season.   It is almost incredible that Osborne should be demanding this when (i) £18bn is already being sliced from benefits, (ii) no increase in taxes at all is being proposed to fill the gap, (iii) the very rich have made virtually no contribution whatever to meeting the bail-out costs, and (iv) extracting another £10bn from taxpayers is the wrong policy anyway, wherever the money comes from, and will be counter-productive.   Clegg is now trying to claw back, in vain one suspects, a bit of the credibility he has so recklessly squandered by demanding new taxes on the rich, in particular targeting the top 10%.   But Clegg is the last person who should be suggesting it if it is to be taken seriously.

We certainly do need new taxes on the rich – whether an annual wealth tax, capital gains tax at 40% (where Nigel Lawson left it before Gordon Brown lowered it to 18%), a financial transaction tax, a land value tax, to mention a few.   It is also true that, since the wealth owned by the top 10% is estimated at around £1 trillion, a once-only 4% levy would raise some £40bn, enough to turn the economy round by investment in house-building, infrastructure, and the foundation for a ‘green’ economy via the creation of 1-1.5 million jobs.   But what Clegg is probably proposing (if indeed he’s thought it through at all, which I doubt) is a 1% tax which might fill the £10bn black hole.

But the real argument against the latest Osborne ramp is that it won’t work, even if the £10bn were forthcoming,   We need to ask, what is the reason for this gap in the budget accounts?   It’s because tax receipts are falling faster than the budget deficit is being reduced, and this is happening because incomes are shrinking, thus also bringing down consumer spending and thence tax receipts as well as diminishing companies’ willingness to invest.   A policy of deliberately cutting incomes and therefore the aggregate level of demand is thus counter-productive.   It won’t work.   It won’t reduce the deficit, it will actually worsen it.

The obsessive fixation on cuts, and more cuts and more cuts – the favoured policy of both the right wing of the Tory party and the Blairite wing of the Labour party – is a monumental error, by far the biggest in recent macroeconomic history.   Making cuts at the nadir of a deep and prolonged recession is a self-perpetuating vicious spiral.   The time to make cuts is when the economy is recovering and not before, and even then a strong recovery is likely to bear down on any deficit far more effectively than any programme of cuts.

#RT via

Please help us shape the blog #2

Hello all,

Those fast fingered fellows at Fr3dom have updated our survey…

So here is take #2


We launched the SLaM TWIG Ops blog in January last year. Since then we’ve had nearly 10,000 hits, posted over 300 things, and been viewed in over 30 countries.

Now we are asking for your help now to improve what we do and how we do it. We would be very grateful for your thoughts, comments and suggestions.

We  won’t be closing this link for you to feedback, but to help us with our strategy right now we are asking for responses by Thursday 1st November please.

Please give us a few minutes of your time to help us make this resource work better and be more responsive to your ideas, needs and wishes; and as ever, please continue to send us interesting, informative and useful things to post!

Many thanks 🙂


Psychosis CAG focus group and content analysis work

Please find attached three project documents from consultations TWIG Ops did for the Psychosis CAG recently.

final coming in

final assessment

final care planning and treatment

The government’s plans to privatise and fragment our NHS are taking shape in Camberwell and Peckham

The government’s plans to privatise and fragment our NHS are taking shape in Camberwell and Peckham.Local doctors are forming a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the area. They’re going to get new powers to decide what health services you and your neighbours are able to access and who provides them. [1]Whether it’s treatment for diabetes, skin conditions, a broken arm or depression, profit-hungry companies like Virgin Care and Serco are circling, ready to bid for contracts by promising to slash costs.[2]The doctors on your local CCG will be under pressure from the government to hand out contracts to private companies. That could put vital services at risk. [3] But the last thing most doctors want is to carve up our NHS for private profit. Plus, the new CCG has a legal duty to listen to local people. [4]

So right now, we’ve got a big chance to ask local doctors to use their new powers to protect our NHS, not privatise it. Together, we can make sure they hear from hundreds of local people as they make these crucial decisions.

Can you add your name to the petition to your local CCG now?

Donations from 38 Degrees members have funded lawyers to prepare robust wording for CCGs to write into their constitutions – protecting our NHS from the worst risks of the government’s plans. [5]

If we can get in early, while CCGs are still being formed, we can give doctors a better choice – one based on sound legal advice and the interests of patients, not private companies.

38 Degrees members will be able to work together to persuade their local CCG to write these safeguards into their constitutions. The government and the private health industry probably won’t like it at all, but there’s little they can do to stop people power.

First things first. Can you add your name to the petition in Camberwell and Peckham?

Thanks for being involved,

Becky, Marie, Robin, Ian and the 38 Degrees team

PS: The website tool that links you up with your local CCG is new – you’re one of the first to test it. If you have any problems or questions, please let us know by emailing:

[1] GP Online: GP and CCG relations: what are the challenges?
[2] “Virgin Care…will take over integrated children’s services in the south-west in March 2013 and will run frontline services for three years. Critics have warned that such deals herald the breakup of the NHS, with private firms cherrypicking services.” Guardian: Virgin Care to take over children’s health services in Devon
GP Online: Services open to “any qualified provider” revealed by DH
[3] “…plans for a radical restructuring of the health service in England, which will give GPs control of much of the NHS’s £106bn annual budget, cut the number of health bodies, and introduce more competition into services” Guardian: NHS Reform Health bill passes vote
BBC: NHS – The shape of things to come
[4] Telegraph: Scrap NHS Bill, say doctors who will run reforms
Pulse: More GP commissioners withdraw support from health bill
[5] 38 Degrees blog: Top legal advice to save our NHS

Kindred Minds ‘Talkshop’ Launch

NEW Black and minority ethnic Men only debating Group,

who have experiences of mental distress.

News, views and talk about life and its issues

Saturday 22nd Sept 2012: 6.30-8.30pm

arrive 6pm at the cafe

at Inspire, The Crypt, St Peters Church , Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HH

with guest speaker Sidney Millin talking about personal experiences and journey of recovery

For further information, call 020 7358 7030 or email

Protect your local NHS

The government’s plans to privatise and break up our NHS are starting to take shape across England. Our NHS is precious and worth protecting.

Put in your postcode to find your local doctors and sign a petition to them.

There comes a time…

Hello 🙂

We got a spike in hits to the post “free yourself from negative people ” so I thought I’d post this.

Do you want more like this? We will be doing  a proper survey re the blog soon, but any views to help shape this resource in the meantime are very welcome. You can comment via any post or page here, or you can privately email us at

Also please repost any post you like via your social networking sites, to help us spread the message!

Printable pdf here: there comes a time

Kate Hoey MP urges caution on hospital super-merger plan

Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey has appealed for caution on plans for a super-merger between Guys’ and St Thomas’ Hospitals, King’s College Hospital and local mental heath services.

The MP was speaking at the annual public meeting of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust held on Wednesday evening at St Thomas’ Hospital.

This summer King’s Health Partners – the umbrella group for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London – said that the organisations could merge as soon as 2014.

“All five of the members of Parliament across Southwark and Lambeth have written to the [trust] chief executives expressing our concern not just at the way this has been handled but also asking for some very careful consideration as to whether a merger … is really the way forward to achieve what we all want to see,” Kate Hoey told the public meeting.

“I’m not interested in being the world’s most famous international academic centre of excellence. I’m interested in what is happening to the people I represent in Lambeth and the people other members of Parliament represent in Lambeth and Southwark.

“I would urge a little bit of caution … this is not something that should be rushed into.

“It is not something that should be led by the academics … this should be led by the hospitals and you have to engage with the community.”

She added: “The community has not been involved in any way whatsoever.”

To applause, Ms Hoey concluded: “On behalf of all the other MPs, we will not allow this merger to happen unless we are absolutely clear that it is really going to benefit the people we represent and the wider interests of the National Health Service.”

Sir Hugh Taylor, chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust replied: “None of this is going to happen in haste. We’ve a long way to go until a concrete decision is taken to go in this direction.

“We’ve effectively manoeuvred ourselves into a position where all the King’s Health Partners – the local trusts and the university – see, as we set out in the strategic outline case, potential benefits of doing this but I recognise that these have got to be articulated much more crisply and explicitly in terms of benefits to local patients.”

He added: “Kate’s words of caution are well taken. They are echoed in the council of governors and they are echoed in our board. We are not running headlong into this with our eyes closed but we do see potential benefits.”

The Vauxhall Labour MP also questioned hospital bosses about their plans to hand over the running of the outpatient pharmacy service to Sainsbury’s, describing the move as “the thin end of the wedge”.

Sir Hugh said: “I think it is important to remind colleagues that local pharmacy services in the NHS have been provided by retail providers and pharmacists since the inception of the NHS. There’s nothing new about organisations outside the NHS providing pharmacy services.

“The reasons we have made this decision are partly financial. We expect to make, between ourselves and the commissioners, a saving of around £3 million as a result of doing this because of the different treatment for VAT purposes of local pharmacy providers and hospital pharmacy providers.”

He said patients would also benefit from longer pharmacy opening hours and a wider range of services as a result of the new arrangements.

#RT via

Comment on designs for a campaign about medications

The communications department of NHS SE London are developing a campaign to improve the way that people manage their medications across Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich

This campaign will cover medication for long term physical & mental health conditions, although they are prioritising diabetes & asthma.

The campaign will include the production of written information and will be backed up by pharmacists attending groups to talk about medication.

They are looking for some people with experience of using mental health services to

look at and comment on some draft designs for publicity/information which will be used in the campaign.  This work would suit someone who:

  • has good understanding of plain English
  • can review & comment on the information within a 2 week period
  • has used/is using medication for their mental health

This is a voluntary opportunity – for more information contact:  Catherine Nestor:

Email:       Tel: 020 3049 4201