Psychology Service User Involvement Award: call for nominations – deadline extended

A reminder to complete your nomination forms for the PSUIG award. The deadline for nominations has been extended to Monday, 5th November. Details below and nomination form attached.

The Psychology Service User Involvement Group (PSUIG) is pleased to announce that nominations for the 2012 PSUIG award are now open. The award was set up to recognise and reward examples of best practice related to service user involvement within psychology services in the Trust.

The winner of the award will receive a £200 prize to spend on improving their service, in addition to a framed certificate. The award will be presented at the Trust Psychology Conference on Monday the 26th of November, 2012.

If you know of a psychologist (or psychology service) who has contributed to service user involvement that deserves recognition, fill in and return the attached (brief) nomination form (we also accept self nominations).

Best wishes,

Joe Oliver (PSUIG Chair)
PSUIG Award Nomination Form 2012

Service user/carer advisory group for mental health services covering emergency access/complex care and clinical neurosciences

Hello everyone,

here is the October briefing sheet from the service user & carer advisory group for the psychological medicine Clinical Academic Group.  Please circulate as appropriate.

The Psychological Medicine Clinical Academic Group runs services across the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). The services include emergency access services (such as home treatment services, a&e psychiatric liaison), complex care services (such as eating disorders, chronic fatigue, mother & baby services) and neurosciences services (such as brain injury). Advisory group members have experience of services either as service users or family members/carers. We work with the senior managers to keep the  views of service users & carers at the heart of all service developments and improvements. To make sure that people know what we are discussing in our meetings, we have developed this short briefing sheet:

1. Five service user/carer consultants were present at the October meeting. Also present were the Patient & Public Involvement Lead, an Assistant Psychologist from the Lishman Unit for brain injury and a Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist . Apologies were received from two service user/carer consultants.

2. We agreed a brief evaluation form for their meetings which will help us to measure how productive the meetings are and what it is like to attend them. We will use this form in conjunction with a brief review of the group to see what has been achieved over the last year.

3. Members of our group have reviewed some reports on patient satisfaction questionnaires. The reviews were discussed at the ‘audit committee’ and it has been agreed to do some focussed work on how choices are presented about medication.

4. Staff from the Lishman Unit fed back about their progress – service users have helped to update an information pack, the carers group has now met 3 times and they are exploring how to develop more formal roles for ex service users and carers in the unit. Staff sought advice from the advisory group on how to build on the interest from carers in being involved in the running of their support group. One member of our group continues to support the unit in this work outside the meeting. Another advisory group member has attended the unit to talk to patients about service user involvement opportunities.

5. When hearing about feedback from Triage wards, we highlighted the importance of clear mechanisms for receiving and acting on the feedback at a service level.

6. The carers representative highlighted an issue facing carers who live in a different geographical location from their loved one. This can result in withdrawal of support for the carer, despite their continuing caring role. We also noted the large amount of helpful information available for carers and discussed how this information could be presented without ‘overloading’ carers.

7. We heard that service users and carers from Croydon have been involved in developing a set of `quality indicators’ to measure how effectively the different parts of the service are working together.

8. One of our group members will be attending a focus group in Lewisham which will inform the development of a plan to change how community mental health services are provided. She will feedback at the next meeting.

9. We have been invited to comment on the draft Patient & Public Involvement Strategy which has been developed following meetings of the Trustwide Involvement Group earlier in the year.

10. The next meeting will be in November and will be held at the Dragon Café.

Views and comments from SLaM service users and carers on any of the above issues, as well as feedback on how you would like the Psychological Medicine Service User & Carer Advisory Group to develop its strategic work with SLaM, are welcome. Please contact Alice Glover, Patient & Public Involvement Lead on 0203 228 3633 or email

Printable version here: briefing – October 2012


For the first time EVER Hear Us will be

1.    Publishing our popular Quarterly Newsletter “In Our Shoes” in colour

2.    Increasing our circulation to 2500 copies

Thanks to funding by SLaM charitable funds.

Our newsletter reaches service users, Carers, Care coordinators and other staff, resource centres, public libraries, Croydon council, other mental health services, and members of the public.

We would appreciate YOUR input.

If you would like to

  • Promote your service
  • Tell us how you have involved service users in your work/service
  • Are doing something special for the xmas period
  • Or anything else you would like us to publish (to reach the masses!)

We want to hear from you

By email: or post

All articles are published anonymously (unless you tell us otherwise)

Please get your articles etc to me by early November for printing in the next edition of ‘In Our Shoes’

With thanks


Jane White


 Hear Us

Orchard House

15a Purley Road

South Croydon


Tel: 020 8681 6888

Part time job opportunity: Lambeth MIND

Lambeth Mind is recruiting for an Information Service  Assistant to cover maternity leave.

The post is for an initial period of 12 months to 30th November 2013.

Attached is a document which lists details of the post the Job Description and Person Specification.

Information Service Assistant JD Oct 2012_ for temp position

To apply for this opportunity please send the following to

A CV including details of two referees.

A cover letter of no more than one side of A4 detailing why you want the post and what skills and attributes you can bring to the post.

Closing date for applications is 13th  November at noon

Interviews will be held on 22nd November

‘The Manual Oracle’ Creative Writing Workshop

The Manual Oracle is a project exploring the crossover between self-consciousness, strategic thinking and paranoia. It is a stage adaptation of a book of maxims written in the seventeenth century, intended to guide ambitious noblemen in the Court of Spain. As part of the project, a creative writing workshop is being offered by the artistic director, Phoebe von Held, together with Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams, two writers on the project. This workshop will be based on the project’s themes, and will look at how these might play out in our lives today.

The workshop is aimed at NHS mental health service users, including those who have experienced anxiety, paranoia or suspicious thinking. It’s free of charge and will be held over two afternoon sessions:

Session 1:  We’ll be introducing the themes of ‘The Manual Oracle’ project. We’ll then look at some contemporary writing which deals with similar themes, which we’ll explore through discussion and writing exercises. We’ll set an optional writing assignment at the end of the assignment which you can work on at home.

Session 2: This will be in the form of a writers’ workshop, where you’ll have an opportunity to receive feedback on your assignment, or on any other piece of writing you wish to submit, in a supportive group environment.

The two workshop sessions will take place on Wed 21 Nov, 2.30-5.00 pm (Session 1) and Wed 30 Jan 2013, 2.30-5.00 pm (Session 2), at the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry in Denmark Hill, London SE5.

Phoebe von Held is a theatre director, writer and designer whose work has previously been produced by The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. Natasha Soobramanien is a writer whose first novel ‘Genie and Paul’ was published by Myriad Editions in Aug 2012. Luke William’s debut novel ‘The Echo Chamber’ was published by Hamish Hamilton in May 2011.

To find out more about The Manual Oracle project see:

To register for the workshop please contact:

Speech on mental health to the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Ed Miliband

#RT via Bridget

Celebrating Friendship – Today @ The Dragon Cafe…

Remembering those who matter in our struggles through life.   You are invited to bring your own poems and songs on this theme;

Performance at 6.30 by Thomas Tobias…followed by a discussion.

11 am Hooray for Hamlet! 2 pm Writing Works, 3 pm Boxing, 4 pm Tai Chi & Book-Works 4.30 Photo-Works, 5 pm Mindfulness (Changed from 5.30 pm).

For last wek’s Dragon Radio No. 4….check out

Responding to feedback #2


We’ve had feedback that people would like more comments from subscribers and also a wish for a chatroom, neither of which are within my control, so I thought I’d try posing a question to see if this can generate some feedback / conversations.

The clocks are about to change this weekend. What are your strategies for coping with the winter season and the changes in the light?

If you think this a rubbish idea altogether, or if you have a better question, please comment here too!

NB Don’t forget to check the box to email you comments, so we can get a proper to and fro going… It pops up when you start to put a comment in the reply box.

Best wishes,

D 🙂

Maudsley Debate: The Law’s Drugs Problem: The Challenge of Legal Highs, 15th November 2012

46th Maudsley Debate

The Law’s Drugs Problem: The Challenge of Legal Highs

Maudsley Debates – Battle of Ideas Satellite Events 2012

Thursday 15th November, 6pm to 8pm (refreshments served from 5.30pm)

Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry Main Building, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF

Few would claim existing drug policies have prevented the widespread use of illicit drugs. On the contrary, many believe prohibition has actually encouraged profiteering and increased the harm caused by drug use. Plenty of politicians have openly declared that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and that policy should be shaped by pragmatic concerns rather than moralistic zeal. Policymakers’ historic failure to manage psychoactive substances is especially troubling because they now face new challenges in the form of so-called legal highs.

Drugs with names like Mexxy, Dimethocaine, 5-IAI, Silver Bullet, and many more are not covered by existing legislation, but have similar effects to those that are. The number of legal drugs available seems to be growing rapidly, and the harm caused by them is rising accordingly. The UK government has made it clear that doing nothing is not an option. Simply asking what should be done, however, forces us to confront the failure of policies meant to deal with more familiar substances like cannabis, crack and heroin.

If all new highs become are simply banned by being brought under the purview of the ageing Misuse of Drugs Act, will they be controlled any better than they are now? If criminalising drug use has been seen to fail, should the challenge of legal highs be seen as an opportunity rather than a crisis? A chance to make a much-needed distinction between substance abuse and the relatively harmless recreational use of drugs, legal or otherwise?

Tobacco, alcohol, medicines and even food can all cause harm and provide profit for black marketeers, but in none of these cases are consumers automatically at risk of arrest as with cannabis or heroin. This year the All Party Parliamentary Policy Group for Drug Policy Reform launched an inquiry into how alternative methods of regulation might control new drugs, perhaps licensing them on the model of tobacco and alcohol.

Nevertheless, there are big fears that letting go of the simple stick of criminal punishment might unleash a popular appetite for drugs, with the implication that the death toll will rise. Is this true, and if so, why are so many people so keen to pop animal tranquilisers and plant food for kicks? If the licensing model is too risky, how can we avoid the failure of our old ‘war on drugs’? Is banning legal highs the only option? Or should the law back off?

This is a Satellite Event taking place as part of Battle of Ideas 2012 produced in collaboration with the Institute of Ideas. The format has been adapted especially so there will be no motion, no vote, more speakers.


Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, consultant psychiatrist and chair, Faculty of Addictions, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, GP; author, The Tyranny of Health: doctors and the regulation of lifestyle and Defeating Austism: a damaging delusion

Tim Hollis, chief constable, Humberside Police; chair, ACPO Drugs Committee

Alexander Linklater, books editor, Ax:son Johnson Foundation (Sweden); freelance journalist; books reviewer, Observer; scriptwriter

Molly Meacher, chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform; former Chair, East London NHS Foundation Trust

Chair: David Bowden, coordinator, UK Battle Satellites; poetry editor, Culture Wars; TV columnist, spiked

More about the Maudsley Debates

More about the Battle of Ideas Festival

Please send any queries to

Stigma of mental ill health is ‘worse than the illness’

Sufferers are shunned, taunted and abused, claims an international study of the problem

It is the single biggest cause of disability in the Western world but many sufferers say the stigma attached to it is worse than the illness itself, according to researchers.

While celebrity sufferers who speak out about their depression are hailed as heroes, ordinary citizens are shunned, taunted and abused.

An international study of more than 1,000 sufferers in 35 countries has found that three quarters said they had been ostracised by other people leading them to avoid relationships, applying for jobs and contacting friends.

Discrimination is leading many to put off seeking treatment with a subsequent worsening of their condition.

Drugs and psychotherapy can help 60-80 per cent of people with depression but only half get treatment and only 10 per cent receive treatment that is effective – at the right dose, for long enough and with the right kind of therapy.

The international study published in The Lancet found that levels of discrimination were similar to those for schizophrenia revealed in a similar study three years ago.

Professor Graham Thornicroft, head of health service and population research at the Institute of Psychiatry said: “We have a major problem here. Non-disclosure is an extra barrier – it means people don’t seek treatment and don’t get help.”

While public confessions of depression by well known people including the tennis champion Serena Williams, the US actress Kir-sten Dunst and chat-show host Stephen Fry were increasing, abuse of sufferers was also widespread.

The Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Bondevik, attracted worldwide approval when he relinquished power for three weeks to his deputy in 1998 while he recovered from an episode of depression. He was subsequently re-elected.

In contrast, Professor Thornicroft described the case of a woman who had dog faeces posted through her door because neighbours wanted her out and another in which police halted an interview with a man whose flat had been burgled when they learnt that he had been in psychiatric hospital.

“Our findings show discrimination is widespread and almost certainly acts as a barrier to an active social life and having a fair chance to get and keep a job,” he said.

The Government’s Time to Change campaign launched in 2008 aimed at reducing discrimination against people with mental illness had proved to have had a “modest but significant” impact, he added.

In a separate study, researchers have found that the 2008 economic crash led to a deterioration in the mental health of men – but not women.

Anxiety and depression increased markedly among men in the three years following the crash, but women escaped largely unscathed.

Rising unemployment and falling income are not to blame, the researchers say. Instead, job insecurity is thought to be the cause.

Mental ill health among men rose from 13.7 per cent in 2008 to 16.4 per cent in 2009 before falling back to 15.5 per cent in 2010, according to the study published in the journal BMJ Open.

Men derive much of their social status from their occupation and are still the main wage earners in most families. They are becoming more mentally unstable because of the fear of losing their jobs in the recession.

The authors from the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glas-gow, say that while women’s mental health appeared to change little in the period it may have deteriorated since due to job cuts in the public sector.

#RT via Bridget

BBC Three documentary

From the team that brought you the sensitive and insightful series, Tourettes: Let Me Entertain You, Leopard Films is now developing a new documentary for BBC THREE about relationships and mental health.

We would like to explore the challenges of dealing with mental health difficulties in a relationship and are looking to speak to people and carers aged 16 to 34 who have experience of mental health problems in a relationship, either because they are suffering from mental illness, or because their partner is.  Do you know someone who has an experience of mental illness in a relationship? If so, please pass this on to them or contact us  on 020 7704 3300 or by email

Any conversions will be in the strictest of confidence and there is obviously no obligation to take part in the programme if you decide it is not for you.  We look forward to hearing your stories.

Lewisham mental health & wellbeing stakeholders day – December 7th 2012

“Staying Well in a Changing World”

Friday 7th December 2012  10am–4pm (registration from 9.30am)

Civic Suite, Catford

  • § information
  • § workshops
  • § updates
  • § feedback
  • § opinions

There is no charge to attend the event but booking is essential

For more information or to book a place please contact Joan Laronde:

Tel: 020 3228 0950


Hackney doctors go out on a limb to fight government’s NHS reform plans

A campaign to fight the coalition government’s NHS reform plans gathered momentum this week, as doctors from City and Hackney announced they will be the first in the country to write safeguards against privatisation into their constitution.

The Community Pledge:

 1. City & Hackney’s community opposes NHS privatisation – because private companies value profits more highly than patient care.

2. We will support our City and Hackney doctors and our Clinical Commissioning Group in every way possible to ensure our local health services remain democratically accountable to our local community, equally available to all of City and Hackney’s community, and free at the point of use.

3. We ask our local council committees dealing with health issues to support them also.

4. We ask the Labour party nationally to stand by their promise to repeal the Health & Social Care Act on entering office.

5. In view of the privatisation initiatives carried out by the last Labour government, we ask the Labour party nationally to demonstrate their commitment to the NHS as a public service by immediately constructing, publicising and carrying out their strategy for reclaiming the NHS from private companies.

City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has joined forces with national campaign group 38 Degrees to create what they hope will become a model constitution for the rest of the country.

Nearly 200 people crammed into Abney Hall in Stoke Newington Church Street on Tuesday night to support the campaign, and listen to speakers from hear from speakers including Cllr Jonathan McShane and Becky Jarvis from 38 Degrees, which has over a million members.

“I’m here to thank City and Hackney CCG for being totally great actually,” she said.

“They are very brave. Hackney is the first to adopt some of the constitution suggestions our lawyers have drawn up.”

The meeting was organised by Hackney Coalition to save the NHS, which was formed in 2010 to fight the Health and Social Care Act.

Bronwen Handyside who chaired the meeting said: “The Act was passed by the coalition government, which opens the door absolutely wholesale to a tidal wave of the privatisation of NHS services.

“We know private companies are more concerned with profit than looking after patients.

“Although the Act has been passed, the way the act is implemented locally relies on local democratic decisions, this is where the CCG comes in and can play an active role – we can influence whether private companies are brought in to replace the NHS in our local areas.

“If our local communities speak out loud and clear to our local doctors who are organised into what is called a CCG, saying that we reject private companies taking over our health service, the CCG will have to carry out our wishes.”

Hoxton GP Dr Adam Forman, representing the GP’s union, the British Medical Association, added: “This constitution is probably as good as it gets anywhere in the country and it’s a remarkable achievement.”

“The central point of the Conservative coalition plan for the health service is the magic word “any qualified provider”, which means any private company should be able to come in and offer to buy services.

“As part of our campaign we should say we will not accept this phrase, the only phrase we will accept is a “Hackney qualified provider”, an organisation that has a track record in local provision, a commitment to the local population, a commitment to working with other local services and the Homerton as our secondary care hospital.

“Then I think we will get a lot further than just saying we want a pledge to keep privatisation out, this is our way of doing it.”

Journalist Andrew Robertson spoke about his investigation into members of the House of Lords who have links with private healthcare companies.

He believes this is a conflict of interest, and should have meant they should have become exempt from voting in support of the Health and Social Care Act.

Dr Clare Highton, the joint chair of the new CCG welcomed the support of local patients, and urged them to become involved in patient organisations so that they can have a say in how services are run.

The audience voted unanimously to support the pledge drawn up by the Hackney Coalition to Save The NHS.

Responding to feedback from the survey

Hello and many thanks if you’ve left feedback via our survey.

One comment we received was about the difficulty of finding older posts, so I’ve added a handy search function: I hope it works well for you 🙂

Best wishes,


Changes to mental health services in Lewisham

We would like your ideas  and views to help us plan some changes to Mental  Health Services.

In future, there will be less money  available for mental health services.  We are developing a plan to make  services as good as they can be.  There will be meetings for people using  the 3 community mental health teams in Lewisham and one for carers.  The meetings will be facilitated by  people with experience of using mental  health services or of caring for  someone who uses them.   The feedback we get from these  meetings will help us come up with a  concrete plan which we will then  consult more widely on.

Please see attached poster for details: October 2012 lewisham consultation final poster. If you would like paper copies of the publicity, please let me know.

Best wishes,


Alice Glover

Patient & Public Involvement LeadMood Anxiety & Personality CAG and Psychological Medicine CAG
email: tel: 020 3228 0959
113 Denmark Hill |The Maudsley Hospital | Denmark Hill | London | SE5 8AZ