Talkshop Mission Statement

The Talkshop project is charged with reducing the social exclusion that is affecting many Black men who are using mental health services. The aim is to have members come together regularly with the view of identifying shared challenges and exploring solutions together as Black men with a lived experience of mental health problems. Amongst other benefits this approach promotes group cohesion, personal development and social inclusion.

Talkshop is for men from the Black and minority ethnic communities, who have experienced mental distress.

Saturdays, 6.30-8.30pm
at Inspire, The Crypt, St Peters Church, Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HH

Positive Steps – Charity Walk in Lloyd Park – Saturday 25th May 2013

I am writing let you know that we are holding a 15km walk in May in Lloyd Park. This will raise much needed funds for Mind in Croydon in these difficult times, but don’t worry there is no requirement to get sponsorship (although it would be great if you do)!

Ronnie Corbett is coming to officially start the walk at 10am and we have lots of other fun activities throughout the day including a Crystal Palace Football Club coach teaching people ball skills (we are yet to confirm if there will be any players present).

Also, we are holding a ‘Living Library’ on a double-decker bus at the event and also on Croydon High Street on Tuesday 21st of May.  Our Living Library project challenges stereotypes by allowing the general public to speak to people with diagnosed mental health conditions.

Here’s a link to the information:

We would appreciate if you could forward this around to your friends, family and colleagues.  Please let me know if you would like a poster to display.

Any distance you can manage walking would be great as the route is three times around the park and you are not obliged to complete the entire 15km.

We are also in need of volunteers if you know anyone who would like to get involved in this capacity.

Register for the walk now using the link above or if you don’t want to walk please feel free come along and support us!

If you would like any further information please let me know.

Many thanks.

Annie Grimwade

Information and Design Coordinator

Mind in Croydon

26 Pampisford Road, Purley, Surrey CR8 2NE
General Office: 020 8668 2210
Fax Number: 020 8763 2084

Follow us on Twitter @MindinCroydon Find us on Facebook ‘Mind inCroydon’

Would you like to take part in a group discussion about genetic testing and clozapine?

My name is Ben Spencer and I am a psychiatry registrar at the Institute of Psychiatry working on a research project that is looking into people’s views of genetic testing in clozapine.

Schizophrenia is a common illness that can affect how people tolerate stress, and their experience of the world.  Some people who have schizophrenia do not get better on standard medication, and treatment with clozapine is offered.  Clozapine can affect the immune system and so people who take it have to have regular blood tests, and sometimes get side effects.

At the moment, researchers are looking into whether it might be possible to use a genetic test to predict if people with schizophrenia would benefit from clozapine, or would get side effects.  This research may mean that people would have to have blood tests less often when they are treated with clozapine.

No one has looked into people’s views on this, and I am keen to find out what people think.  To do this I have written a questionnaire about it to give to people.  I need to find out though if it’s asking the questions that service users think are important.

I am looking for people who have experience of mental health services, and who would like to look at a questionnaire we have written to find out about people’s views and attend a focus group discussion on it.  Ideally if you have knowledge or experience of clozapine or psychosis.

If you wanted to take part I would send you an information sheet about the study, and a copy of the questionnaire for you to complete in your own time.  I would also send you a feedback form so you can write about your experiences of it.

Then I would invite you to come along to a focus group to discuss with other similar people you thoughts on the questionnaire itself (is it too long, short, too simple).  Also at this group we would discuss the research itself and the issues or questions you think we should be asking.

You would be given your travel costs (up to a maximum of £10) to attend the focus group, and a £10 Marks and Spencer’s gift voucher for your involvement.

Please note the focus group session will take place on Wednesday  22/05/2013 in Brixton.

Please get in touch if you are interested in being involved in this project by emailing :  with your name, phone number, and address to post the study information to.

The deadline to respond by is Wednesday 15/05/2013.

Mental Health and the mortality gap: what is responsible and who is to act?

Date:               Thursday 16 May 2013

Time:              Lecture at 18.30, followed by a drinks reception

Venue:           Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill

Price:              Free

RSVP:            Book online, email or call 020 7848 3053

This unique event will bring together academics from the IoP and clinical professionals from South London and Maudsley (SLaM) to discuss the challenges and solutions surrounding the physical health of mental health patients.

Research shows that people with mental health disorders are more likely to have an increased risk of physical health problems and to lose significantly greater years of life (“mortality gap”) as compared to the average population. Despite this, according to a recent publication by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) there is a ‘long-standing and continuing lack of parity between mental and physical health’. With NHS and local authorities currently operating in a climate of significant structural change, it’s time to bridge the gap.

Join us during Mental Health Awareness Week 2013 for a dynamic discussion in which a panel of experts will discuss how to improve the morbidity and mortality rate of mental health sufferers.

This discussion will be chaired by Professor Shitij Kapur, Deputy Vice Principal (Health Schools) & Dean of Institute of Psychiatry who will be joined by a panel of experts including Dr Fiona Gaughran, Lead Consultant in the Psychosis Service at SLaM and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the IoP and Dr Rob Stewart, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Clinical Informatics.

Following the lecture there will be a drinks reception in the newly-opened Education Hub where you will have the opportunity to network.

One CPD point is available for this event subject to peer approval.  Certificates of attendance will be made available on request.


Bromley Mind launches new community mental health service in Lewisham

Mental health charity, Bromley Mind, is pleased to announce the launch of a new service, Mind Peer Support in Lewisham.  This service will provide activities, connections, opportunities and skills for anyone with a mental health problem living in Lewisham and develop community led groups to meet local needs.

Mind Peer Support in Lewisham is supported by the London Borough of Lewisham’s Communities that Care fund and the service currently provides a weekly reading and creative writing group every Tuesday from 2pm to 4pm at Lee Green Community Centre.   Mind Peer Support in Lewisham is seeking more volunteers to help launch more groups.

Ben Taylor, Chief Executive of Bromley Mind said “It is amazing to see what can be done when people come together to find the local solutions to local needs. We are continuously inspired by the dedication of our Peer Support Volunteers.  We welcome more people to join us so that together we can provide more opportunities for individuals to access mental health support in Lewisham”.

In the current difficult economic climate, local mental health services are consistently under threat or change.  Mind Peer Support in Lewisham will provide a community led alternative for people seeking support and activities to lead fulfilling lives. This service sees anyone with a mental health problem develop skills as capable community leaders using their experience of mental health problems to support others.

Jim, one of the Peer Support Volunteers said, “Through becoming involved in Mind’s Peer Support in Lewisham and setting up the WordCraft Group, I have been supported to access skills that I never realised I had and regain the confidence my mental health problem took away from me.”

Mind Peer Support in Lewisham provides full training and support to individuals to set up a mental health activity group of their choice in Lewisham. Training sessions will commence on the, 29th April, and in early June.

For more information please contact Megan Jamison on 07850 639811 or

#RT via SLaM e-News

Man Jailed After Comments Made In Atos Assessment

A Nottingham man has now been held in custody for two weeks after he was accused of “threatening behaviour” due to comments he allegedly made during his Atos benefits assessment.

Steve Topley is a 49 year old father with multiple serious health problems who was required to attend a Work Capability Assessment with the notorious IT firm Atos – the company responsible for stripping benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people.  During the process Mr Topley made some comments about someone not present at the assessment.  His family say these comments were misunderstood and were in response to questions from the assessor about his personal life.

These comments led to Atos staff calling the police and Mr Topley was asked to attend Queens Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham.  When he refused to do so he was arrested.  At QMC he was de-arrested and received a mental health assessment but no reason was found to detain him under the mental health act.  He was then re-arrested and taken in handcuffs to Nottingham police station where he was later charged.

He has now been refused bail twice in closed courts which his family were not permitted to attend.  His sister Gina Topley, who says the family are being kept in the dark about the legal process, has said:

“My brother has not been given any opportunity to speak and give his side of the story to a judge and he was not offered an appropriate adult to accompany him when he was arrested.”

His family have not been allowed to visit him in prison and have raised concerns that his medication may not be being administered properly.  Mr Topley will face another appearance in a closed court tomorrow (Friday 26th April) and there are major fears that he will be remanded once again pending psychiatric reports.

His family and supporters have called a demonstration outside the court tomorrow calling for his immediate release.

Meet outside Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 26th April from 9.30-11.00am – please help spread the word.  For more details and the  latest news visit:

reposeted from Johnnyvoidwordpress –  twitter @johnnyvoid

Why I’m stepping down as a GP over NHS ‘reforms’

The framework for wholesale privatisation of the organisation, supply, finance and distribution of our healthcare is now in place.

By Paul Hobday

It’s been an amazing privilege working as a family doctor. I am trusted with the long-term care and health of sometimes four generations, and I have tried to help with their most intimate and complex problems, sometimes shared only with me. It’s the best job in medicine, and the NHS was the best place to practice.

So why am I retiring early? Because for several years I’ve fought the dismantling of the founding principles of Bevan’s NHS and on 1 April I lost. That was the day the main provisions of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into effect. On Wednesday night, a last-gasp attempt in the House of Lords to annul the part pushing competitive tendering sadly failed.

The democratic and legal basis of the English NHS and the secretary of state’s duty to provide comprehensive health services have now gone, and the framework that allows for wholesale privatisation of the planning, organisation, supply, finance and distribution of our health care is now in place. Since 1948, we GPs have been our patient’s advocate, championing the care we judge is needed clinically.

Everyone necessary for that care co-operated for the good of the patient – they didn’t compete for the benefit of shareholders. Sadly, patients are now right to be suspicious of motives concerning decisions made about them, which until recently, almost uniquely in the world, have been purely in their best clinical interest. Most politicians understand little about general practice, have no idea about the importance of continuity of care and blame GPs for a rise in hospital work, even though this is a direct result of their policies.

I believe patient choice is an illusion as I am restricted in terms of where I can refer and what treatments I can use. GPs are now expected tocollude with rationing, are sent incomprehensible financial spreadsheets telling us our “activity levels” are too high and in some areas areprevented from speaking out about this, despite the government’s weasel words about duty of candour after Mid Staffs. Practices are already being solicited by private companies touting for business, often connected to members of my own profession. But the lie that GPs are now in control of the money will soon be exposed. Most services are to go out to tender, which will paralyse decision-making.

Now your doctor, the hospital, your specialist or the employing company has a financial incentive built into the clinical decision-making – even whether or not you are seen at all. Your referral may be to a related company, with both profiting from your care – so was that operation, procedure or investigation really in your best clinical interest? Or you may be told a service is now no longer available. The jargon used is that “we are not commissioned for that”. But you can pay. The elephant in the consulting room is the ethical implication of private medicine. In my 30 years as an NHS GP, some of the most disastrously treated patients are those who elected for private care. Decisions were made about them for the wrong reasons, namely profit. Patients are rarely aware of this.

The politicians who drive this unnecessary revolution claim the NHS is not being privatised because it is still free at the point of use. This is duplicitous as the two are not connected. They are ignorant or dismissive of the founding principles of the NHS which include it being universal and comprehensive – both of which have gone. The NHS logo appears on all sorts of private company buildings and notepaper which is one reason patients haven’t noticed the change yet. Just leaving “free at the point of use” under an NHS kitemark doesn’t constitute a national health service. It’s now one small step to insurance companies picking up the bill (but obviously profiting from it) rather than the state. An Americanised system run by many US companies. The end of a “60-year-old mistake”, asJeremy Hunt once co-authored.

I am proud to have been an NHS GP. I believe the way a society delivers its healthcare defines the values and nature of that society. In the US, healthcare is not primarily about looking after the nation’s health but a huge multi-company, money-making machine which makes some people extremely rich but neglects millions of its citizens. We are being dragged into that machine and I want no part in it.

The politicians responsible for this must live with their consciences, as it is the greatest failure of democracy in my lifetime.

#RT via