Internal Course for SLaM – for all staff working with family members and carers

Carers & Family Members : Making involvement more effective Description Aim: To raise awareness of the issues that affect family members to better the experience for all – staff, carers and service users

After completing this course you should:

* Understand the importance of identifying a carer or family member at the earliest opportunity

* Know how to apply the principles of carer involvement using the Triangle Of Care model

* Increase your knowledge of legislation influencing carers rights * Have completed a Carers Needs Assessment

* Have role-played talking to a distressed carer using empathy

* Know how you will ensure that the essential role and expertise of carers is recognised and respected when you return to work Pre-training Requirement: It is strongly recommended that before attending this course you first complete the Family & Carers eLearning package.

Target Audience All staff working with family members and carers Dates Available 16-Jul-2013 @ Croydon Training Centre, Bethlem Hospital

To book email: training_bookings@slam.nhs.uk

Application form: INTERNAL_TRAINING


Significant statement from DWP re permitted work and workfare

Please see the attached letter from Mark Hoban MP, Minister for Employment, to Joan Ruddock MP, following our letter to her of 5th December.

ESA Response from the DWP

The key paragraph is the last one:

“There is already guidance to support advisers and providers to identify work-related activity which is reasonable to the individual’s circumstances. We will strengthen this to make it clear that work experience and work placements are not recommended for claimants undertaking permitted work, given that they are already engaged in meaningful activity.”

I hope you agree that this is very good news for people working on the Involvement Register.

We recommend that you take a copy of this letter to any work-focussed interviews.


Have you been involved in challenging or developing alternatives to the psychiatric system?

Could you meet for a short interview with me to talk about your experiences?

My name is Jonathan Buhagiar and I am a trainee clinical psychologist at the University of East London. I am running a project exploring the experiences of people who have had contact with mental health services and are now involved (or used to be involved) in activities to challenge or develop alternatives to the psychiatric system.

Examples of such activities might include demonstrating or campaigning, involvement in an activism group¸ teaching or training or even developing a new service. In essence, I’d like to hear from anyone involved in activities to challenge the psychiatric system in some way!

I’d like to learn about how people’s life experiences informed their journeys into becoming involved in such activities and what sustains them in their activities. I hope to use this learning to raise awareness about people’s experiences of the mental health system and about the activities you’re involved in, which could be useful for others who have had similar experiences.

If you decide to take part, I’d like to meet you for a short interview (about an hour). This would be whenever and wherever is most convenient and comfortable for you (I am happy to travel outside of London). The content of our conversations would remain totally anonymous and I would reimburse you for any travel expenses you might incur in meeting up with me.

I would like for the interviews to be completed in the next month or so. If you’re interested in taking part and/or would like to find out more about the project then please email me at psyactivism@hotmail.co.uk or call me on 020 8223 4174 and I’ll get back to you to talk about it further.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Buhagiar


New Involvement Poster

Please see our lovely new A4 poster here: Slam twig poster

Written, designed and made by Service Users.

Please feel free to print out and put up.

We can supply small amounts of these, printed in full colour, for stalls, information packs etc: please get in touch if you would like us to send you some: help us spread the word about the value of Involvement :-).


SUC development money award November 2011

At the beginning of the month we offered £50 development money to a service user working in involvement, to assist them in carrying out their work for the Trust. We received one application, from Gill Ashwood.

Gill asked for the money to buy a printer.

Gill works as a volunteer receptionist at 111 Denmark Hill 2 days a week. She also worked in a paid capacity as the interim facilitator for a Service User Group, as well as being active in her own SUG. She is also a key member working on the Recruitment and Selection Training project.

She also works with SUITE on combating stigma and service user perspectives, and is working with a member of SLaM staff on their dissertation.

Congratulations, Gill!


PSUIG Service User involvement award 2011

TWIG Ops was delighted to be invited to consider applications for PSUIG’s second annual psychology service user involvement award.

A panel comprising 3 service users, one of whom is also a carer, and one member of SLaM staff, who is also an ex-service user, considered 8 applications.

Despite significant advances in user involvement in SLaM in recent years we found real variance in the quality of applications, and we found that many applications conflated “participation” with “involvement”, in part or in whole.

In our judging, we have tried to remain true to the real ethos of service user involvement, which we believe was our remit.

We marked against 4 prescribed criteria:

  • the extent to which the project contributed to service improvement
  • the degree to which service users were involved in all aspects of the project
  • the method and robustness of methodology by which the project was evaluated, and
  • the degree of innovation of the project and the degree to which service users were involved in a creative way.

We recommend that in future years service users are also involved in drawing up the criteria, as some of the criteria we found confusing, particularly the last one. For this exercise, we referred back to the title of the award, which was about service user involvement.

We marked each application out of 10 against each of these 4 criteria.

We awarded the 8 applications overall marks of between 4 and 39 out of 40. Confidential detailed feedback from the panel to each application is available via Joe Oliver.

For us, two applications stood out, and they scored 37 and 39 marks respectively.

Both demonstrated a real commitment to involvement through a continuous loop of feedback and service changes and improvements, and both demonstrated where feedback had already led to changes in provision. Both included qualitative and quantative feedback and had robust methods for on-going evaluation of, and acting on this on-going feedback.

Both demonstrated a fundamental understanding of and commitment to involving service users in service provision.

What tipped the balance for us was that one project’s starting point was to run a focus group asking their service users what was important to them in its service and the other first developed a pilot project.

We therefore highly commend the National and Specialist CAMHS project “coping with unusual experiences for children study”, which has embedded a high level of service user and carer involvement in the design of feedback and continuous improvement into its therapeutic process, as well as providing a completely new service which could change the lives of many young people, potentially diverting them away from a lifetime of revolving door engagement with secondary services.

The winning application demonstrated an entire involvement pathway which used ex-service users of its services as peer supporters to encourage early engagement of first time users of the service, from initial referral, through treatment, to becoming a peer supporter, supporting new service users through the treatment process and well beyond. The project also demonstrated good use of exploiting new technologies to encourage engagement with their services, and to support other lifestyle changes and engagements, which would significantly benefit this group of service users (and thence the Trust).

We thought that this project involved service users from its inception, and also gave a real legacy that service users, following discharge, could have a meaningful and key role (paid and as volunteers) in supporting others through the process of treatment and well beyond the specific treatments that the Trust offers, for a client group with significant engagement issues.

We see this as real empowerment: the highest form of service user involvement.

We are delighted to award the 2011 Psychology Service User Involvement award to the Beresford project.