SLaM Recovery College – Autumn/Winter Term

In July of this year, as part of the continuing development of the SLaM Recovery College, they ran what turned out to be a highly successful pilot scheme of eleven courses at the Ortus Learning Centre. The feedback they got, from those who attended as students (service users, carers and staff) as well as those who developed and delivered the courses, was fantastic.

They still have a lot to do before the college is launched next year – such as recruiting staff and trainers – but the next milestone in their development is this expanded programme of courses, running from mid-October through to mid-December.

View this document on Scribd

PDF version here: SLaM Recovery College Pilot Scheme Timetable

Disabled People Making History – 23 September 2013

An audio blog by Matthew of the event at Lambeth Accord on 23 September 2013.

This event was organised by Disability Advice Service Lambeth.

The evening included short presentations on local disability history projects.

It also included presentations by Lambeth Mencap, Carers Hub Lambeth and the Allfie Project.

This blog is really interesting – it relates some of the history behind how organisations such as Mencap started.

Atos to lose monopoly after ‘flawed and unacceptable’ disability benefit assessments

More than 40 per cent of the reports carried out on disability benefit claimants by the back-to-work assessor Atos are flawed and unacceptable, according to an audit commissioned by the Government.

Following months of complaints about allegedly unfair and slapdash decisions made by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions  audited around 400 of the company’s written reports into disability claimants, grading them A to C. Of these, 41 per cent came back with a C, meaning they were unacceptable and did not meet the required standard.

The lowest grade does not necessarily mean the decision was wrong, but that a serious error or omission occurred, such as no evidence to justify the recommendations, or inconsistencies in the evidence provided.

The findings mean the company will be stripped of its monopoly on deciding whether people with disabilities are fit to work. The DWP said the poor quality of the company’s written reports were “contractually unacceptable” and announced on Monday it would be inviting other companies to bid for fresh regional contracts by summer 2014 to help reduce waiting times. Liam Byrne, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “This is a direct consequence of three years of appalling contract management by Iain Duncan Smith.”

More than 600,000 of the 1.8 million assessments carried out by Atos since 2009 have been the subject of an appeal, at a cost of £60m. Around 30 per cent of the appeals succeeded. Mark Hoban, minister for Employment, said: “Where our audits identify any drop in quality, we act decisively … It’s vital we continue to improve the service to claimants, which is why we are introducing new providers to increase capacity.”

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said: “It’s about time the Government told Atos to smarten up its act. But, it’s also strikingly clear to disabled people that the whole £112m per-year system is broken.”

A spokeswoman for Atos said: “Our priority is the quality of our work and, following the recent audit, we quickly put in place a plan to improve the quality of written reports.”


Four in ten news and autumn programme

Hello everyone,

Four in Ten Poster 2013

Our new autumn programme is a veritable mix of queer Four in Ten-ness! Oct to Dec 2013 Programme

We finally move to a new venue space at InSpire at the Crypt, St Peters Church in Liverpool Grove, just off Walworth Road by Iceland. See the special map attached! Move to InSpire

With a health and wellbeing theme, our grant from Camberwell Community Council has been put to good use. We have two exciting tutors coming to the group. Maria from Singing for Health is helping us to use our voice to tell our stories with an interesting mix of body percussion and sound! Tae is working with us on a drama project which will help us find new and different ways to express our feelings.

Billy has been working with the group over the last few weeks on a photography project, so over the next few weeks we will be deciding which photos will be used in our photography exhibition!

We also have a great theatre trip lined up for October. Tickets will be limited, so get in touch if you want to come!

Bye for now, and pop down and see us at our new venue!

Speak soon Peter

Peter Vittles

4 in 10 Project Coordinator

(Tuesday, Thursday and Friday)

The Metro Centre Ltd

N106 Westminster Business Square

1-45 Durham Street


SE11 5JH

Tel : 020 8305 5000

Mob: 07711 376 258

Fax: 020 8305 5001

PSUIG Newsletter Issue 5: Autumn 2013

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Psychology Service User Involvement Group (PSUIG) Newsletter.

PSUIG aims to promote high quality, recovery focused user involvement in psychology services throughout the Trust. This newsletter has been developed to keep you up-to-date with innovative involvement activities and projects taking place within the Trust. In each edition we will showcase a project that represents an inspiring example of service user involvement, in addition to other related activities taking place around the Trust.

If you would like to contribute to future newsletters, please email either:

Jeffy Wong (, Matt Richardson ( or Emma Harding (

PSUIG NewsletterIssue 5 Autumn 2013

Mental Patient Fancy Dress Costume

mental patient fancy dress costume

For those who have not heard or read any news today, this is Rethink’s response to this et al:

Mon 30 Sept @ The Dragon Cafe – 1st Birthday!

WHello all,

Well here’s the final programme for The Dragon Cafe Year 1!

Its been an amazing year and thank you all for your support.

Hope that some of you can make it along next Monday and here’s to Nov 4th and hopefully some good news.

All the very best


Declan McGill

Communications Manager

Mental Fight Club
‘Our Business is to Create’

30 September 2013

Kindred Minds Conference 3rd October 2013: reminder

We are delighted to invite you to our London-wide Kindred Minds Conference. Please see Poster attached and circulate onto your networks. Bookings required, all are welcome.

‘Still We Rise’

Building On Our Strengths

Kindred Minds London-Wide Conference


On Thursday 3 October 2013


10.30am – 4.30pm

Venue:  Employment Academy, 29 Peckham Road,


(next to Peckham Town Hall)


London, SE5 8UA

Map :



Jayasree Kalathil – Research Consultant, Survivor Research


Jacqui Dyer- Black and Minority Ethnic Survivor Consultant, Time to Change


      ‘Kindred Minds on the Couch’


   Music and Dance performances    



        Kindred Poetry Performers to mark Poetry Day


   World Dance workshop by Ariella



There will be an exhibition of KM past years presentations, film clips, poetry performances, complementary therapies and hot finger buffet


This is a Free Conference


All are welcome.

Please let us know you are coming for catering reasons.


For any enquiries please contact us:


Office: Cambridge House, 1 Addington Square, London, SE5 0HF

Tel: 020 7358 7029 / 07809 701 434
Current Kindred MInds Activities:

Kindred Minds PAN – LONDON WIDE CONFERENCE – ‘Still We Rise – Building on Our Strengths’  3rd October 10.30 – 4.30 with entertainment at the Employment Academy, Peckham –   


Kindred Minds PoP-In fortnightly drop-in space @ Cambridge House 4-6pm on:. April 11th and 25th, May 9th and 23rd, June 6th and 20th, July 4th and 18th, August 1st, 15th, 29th, September 12th and 26th, October 10th, 24th, November 7th and 21st.

Kindred Minds Women’s Group 12-2pm @ Cambridge 27th Sept, 25th Oct, 29th Nov 13


Kindred Minds Talkshop, a BME Men’s monthly discussion group meal out on the 18th Sept, 16th Oct, 13th Nov arrive 6pm for 6.30start til 8.30pm @ Inspire, The Crypt, St.Peter’s Church, Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HH

Crossing Culture Events – Salsa Friday 23rd August 2-4pm @ Cambridge House – different monthly activities til Nov

We run workshops/training at your community groups has our outreach programme – contact us for more details – recently visited Dragon Cafe to run Amulet Workshop


Kindred Minds Members Committee consist of 8 BME members. If you’d like to be more actively involved in Kindred MInds please contact us for more information.

Flyer here: Kindred Minds Conference

Carers and social enterprise

Southwark Carers are running two events for the carers this week, including a workshop about social enterprise.

This week, Southwark Carers have two events for the carers in the borough.

On Friday 27th September, Carers’ Outing starts at 11:00 (in Southwark Carers’ offices on Camberwell Road) or 12:00 at South Bank Centre, where the Real Food festival is taking place. There will be street food to sample, demonstrations by top chefs, the Sheep Show featuring live animals, hand-made chocolates, artisan cheeses and much more.

Also on Friday 27th September, at 13:00, you can take part in the Social Entrprise workshop, which will help you learn the skills to start your own business. The workshop will take place at Southwark Carers, 54 Camberwell Road SE5 0EN.

New Free Workshops at CoolTan Arts

CoolTan are starting a new series of 12 week creative workshops from 1st October onwards. Workshops are free and open to adults 18+ with experience of mental distress (self-defined).

If you are interested in exploring your creative side, in a fun, friendly and relaxed environment, get in touch for more info!

Film – Tuesdays, 11am – 1pm, from 1st October onwards – Learn about film-making and editing.

Art – Tuesdays, 11am – 1pm, from 1st October onwards – Get creative through painting and drawing.

Digital Arts – Thursdays, 11am – 1pm, from 3rd October onwards – Interested in learning Photoshop? Find out how to improve your images.

Trips and Exhibitions group – Fridays, 2pm – 4pm, from 8th November onwards – Research and plan trips to see current London art exhibitions.

I.T – Fridays, 11am – 1pm
, from 4th October onwards – Learn new computer skills or brush up on old ones.

Workshops will last for two hours. You will need to provide a deposit of £5/£10 to reserve your place, returnable after the workshop.

Further 12 weeks sessions will start from the 13th January 2014 and the 12th May 2014.

To book a place please contact Sara Kelly at CoolTan Arts on 020 7701 2696 or email

Workshops take place at CoolTan Arts, Third Floor, 224-236 Walworth Road, SE17 1JE.

World Alzheimer’s Day – 21st September 2013

It is World Alzheimer’s Day today – 21st September 2013.

An audio blog by Matthew to remind us what an important day it is. Great blog about events happening around the world today and for the whole of September (World Alzheimer’s Month). Useful links to websites for extra information.

21 Habits Of Supremely Happy People

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that while 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us.

In his 2004 Ted Talk, Seligman describes three different kinds of happy lives: The pleasant life, in which you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can, the life of engagement, where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure and themeaningful life, which “consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are.”

After exploring what accounts for ultimate satisfaction, Seligman says he was surprised. The pursuit of pleasure, research determined, has hardly any contribution to a lasting fulfillment. Instead, pleasure is “the whipped cream and the cherry” that adds a certain sweetness to satisfactory lives founded by the simultaneous pursuit of meaning and engagement.

And while it might sound like a big feat to to tackle great concepts like meaning andengagement (pleasure sounded much more doable), happy people have habits you can introduce into your everyday life that may add to the bigger picture of bliss. Joyful folk have certain inclinations that add to their pursuit of meaning — and motivate them along the way.

They surround themselves with other happy people.
cosby show
Joy is contagious. Researchers of the Framingham Heart Study who investigated the spread of happiness over 20 years found that those who are surrounded by happy people “are more likely to become happy in the future.” This is reason enough to dump the Debbie Downers and spend more time with uplifting people.

They smile when they mean it.
Even if you’re not feeling so chipper, cultivating a happy thought — and then smiling about it — could up your happiness levels and make you more productive, according to a study published in the Academy of Management Journal. It’s important to be genuine with your grin: The study revealed that faking a smile while experiencing negative emotions could actually worsen your mood.

They cultivate resilience.
penny heads up
According to psychologist Peter Kramer, resilience, not happiness, is the opposite of depression: Happy people know how to bounce back from failure. Resilience is like a padding for the inevitable hardship human beings are bound to face. As the Japanese proverb goes, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

They try to be happy. 
Yep — it’s as simple as it sounds: just trying to be happy can boost your emotional well-being, according to two studies recently published in The Journal of Positive Psychology. Those who actively tried to feel happier in the studies reported the highest level of positive moods, making a case for thinking yourself happy.

They are mindful of the good.
It’s important to celebrate great, hard-earned accomplishments, but happy people give attention to their smaller victories, too. “When we take time to notice the things that go right — it means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day,” Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. told The Huffington Post in May. “That can help with our moods.” And, as Frank Ghinassi, Ph.D. explains, being mindful of the things that do go your way (even something as simple as the barista getting your coffee order right) can make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment throughout the day.

They appreciate simple pleasures.

A meticulously swirled ice cream cone. An boundlessly waggy dog. Happy people take the time to appreciate these easy-to-come-by pleasures. Finding meaning in the little things, and practicing gratitude for all that you do have is associated with a sense of overall gladness.

They devote some of their time to giving.
Even though there are only 24 hours in a day, positive people fill some of that time doing good for others, which in return, does some good for the do-gooders themselves. A long-term research project called Americans’ Changing Lives found a bevy of benefits associated with altruism: “Volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression,” reported Peggy Thoits, the leader of one of the studies.

Givers also experience what researchers call “the helper’s high,” a euphoric state experienced by those engaged in charitable acts. “This is probably a literal “high,” similar to a drug-induced high,” writes Christine L. Carter, Ph.D. “The act of making a financial donation triggers the reward center in our brains that is responsible for dopamine-mediated euphoria.”

They let themselves lose track of time. (And sometimes they can’t help it.)
When you’re immersed in an activity that is simultaneously challenging, invigorating and meaningful, you experience a joyful state called “flow.” Happy people seek this sensation of getting “caught up” or “carried away,” which diminishes self-consciousness and promotes the feelings associated with success. As explained by, “In order for a Flow state to occur, you must see the activity as voluntary, enjoyable (intrinsically motivating), and it must require skill and be challenging (but not too challenging) with clear goals towards success.”

They nix the small talk for deeper conversation.
Nothing wrong with shootin’ the you-know-what every now and then, but sitting down to talk about what makes you tick is a prime practice for feeling good about life.A study published in Psychological Science found that those who take part in more substantive conversation and less trivial chit chat experienced more feelings of satisfaction.

“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings,” is one of the top five regrets of the dying — a sentiment that hints at the fact that people wish they’d spent less time talking about the weather and more time delving into what it is that makes their heart swell.

They spend money on other people.
monty hall
Maybe money does buy happiness. A study published in Science found that spending money on other people has a more direct impact on happiness than spending money on oneself.

They make a point to listen.
“When you listen you open up your ability to take in more knowledge versus blocking the world with your words or your distracting thoughts,” writes David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism. “You are also demonstrating confidence and respect for others. Knowledge and confidence is proof that you are secure and positive with yourself thus radiating positive energy.” Good listening is a skill that strengthens relationships and leads to more satisfying experiences. A good listener may walk away from a conversation feeling as if their presence served a purpose, an experience that isclosely connected with increased well-being.

They uphold in-person connections.
It’s quick and convenient to text, FaceTime and tweet at your buddies. But spending the money on a flight to see your favorite person across the country has weight when it comes to your well-being. “There’s a deep need to have a sense of belonging that comes with having personal interactions with friends,” says John Cacioppo, Ph.D., the director of the Center of Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Social media, while it keeps us in touch, doesn’t allow us to physically touch, which harvests the warm-and-fuzzies and even decreases feelings of anxiety.

They look on the bright side.

Optimism touts plenty of health benefits, including less stressa better tolerance for pain and, as HuffPost Healthy Living recently reported, longevity among those with heart disease. When you choose to see the silver lining, you’re also choosing health and happiness.

Seligman summed up perhaps the greatest characteristic of the optimist in one of his most acclaimed books, Learned Optimism:

The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: Circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder.

Via via Graham

Psychological medicine service user and carer advisory group – summary of discussions September meeting

Hello all,

The departments that manage the services at South London & Maudsely NHS Foundation Trust have ‘advisory groups’ where service users and carers come together to advise on and discuss developments.   The Psychological Medicine department advisory group produces a brief summary of their discussions.  The purpose  is to let interested people know what is being discussed.  Please circulate as appropriate.

With 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

The Psychological Medicine Clinical Academic Group (CAG) 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:

Five people with experience of using services or being a family member/carer were present at the September meeting.  Also present were the Patient & Public Involvement Lead, the Clinical Governance Project officer, the Southwark Home Treatment Manager and the Clinical Service Lead for Croydon Services.  Apologies were received from 2 service user consultants and one staff member.

We heard how staff at the brain injury unit were responding to feedback from patients by increasing activities on the ward and ensuring there is good internet access. They are exploring how to develop peer support in the unit, and will be evaluating the success of the carers support group.

Taking forward the work on policing and mental health, 2 members of the group have worked with the clinical governance officer to develop a set of questions which could be used to gauge people’s experience of the police when brought to hospital in a crisis.  Our next steps will be to prioritise the questions, and develop a firmer project proposal giving careful thought to how we will ask the questions, using focus groups and questionnaires.   We heard that the current training for police on mental health has little,if any, service user involvement and felt that this was an area for improvement.

Staff from the home treatment service gave examples of how teams are using the patient satisfaction questionnaires to improve services. Examples included developing clearer written plans for people using the service, improving information about the service and developing information to be given at discharge.

Members of the advisory group gave updates on the focussed work they have been doing on triage wards and the mother and baby unit.  Improvement action plans have been developed which are monitored through the management meetings. The advisory group was pleased to see the high level of completed actions from the mother and baby unit and disappointed that more progress had not been made by the triage wards.  The group is interested to hear what the barriers to progress are in this service area.

We heard about the SLaM’s equality priorities relating to patient experience. We heard that some groups of people are less likely to give positive feedback about their experience of services. We were invited to be part of a panel assessing good practice in addressing these areas.

One of our carers representatives fed back about the well attended ‘Empowering Family & Carers Event’. Carers will be raising concerns about staff guidance on confidentiality which does not adequately cover maintaining the confidentiality of the carer.

A group member highlighted the work on developing the single health & social care assessment and the forthcoming workshop to gain wider feedback

Members from the 3 adult mental health advisory groups will be coming together for a briefing on proposed changes to services and proposed changes to involvement structures within the trust.

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 0959  or email

PDF version here: briefing – Sept 2013 – doc

CoolTan Arts AGM – 17th September 2013

An audio blog by Matthew of CoolTan Arts AGM held on the 17th September 2013.

NSUN: New Trustees to join the Board

The Board of Trustees of NSUN currently consists of twelve members from a variety of backgrounds who develop the organisation’s strategy to meet agreed objectives. We are looking for Trustees who identify as people with lived experience of mental health conditions and who are from a variety of backgrounds.

We are particularly looking for people who have the following skills and experience:

  • Financial management
  • Managing user-led organisations
  • Human resources
  • Involvement and influencing

The Board of Trustees meets six times a year. In addition, Trustees may be asked to serve on sub-committees, which involves attending additional meetings throughout the year.

The post is voluntary but expenses are paid.

Some previous Trustee or voluntary experience would be advantageous but not essential.

Applicants should be willing to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and the appointment is subject to satisfactory references.

  • Application form and guidance for applications: please visit here
  • Closing date for applications: 30 September
  • All applicants will be contacted on: 4 October
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview week starting 9 October.

To apply please complete the application form and return to NSUN either by email or post to 27 – 29 Vauxhall Grove, London SW8 1SY by 30 September.