latest Lambeth & Southwark wellbeing e-bulletin

Dear All,
This is our last Public Health Lambeth & Southwark wellbeing e-bulletin of the year.

We take this opportunity to wish you a very relaxing season holiday and trust that the new year brings  peace and harmony to you and colleagues!!!!

 We invite you to visit our blog and check out interesting items such as :
* City bridge Trust growing Localities Awards  (deadline 31 january, 2014)
* Results on public attitudes towards mental illness- positive move!
* One in 10 health and wellbeings boards ignoring mental health
* ‘Our children desereve better: prevention pays’ the Chief medical officer’s annual report-
* Storm training for workers in Southwark and Lambeth
* New app helps users find a happy place
much more…

do not forget to keep me informed of your good work that you need to share with others so I can publish it on the blog.

please, visit:

Best wishes,

Anamaria Florin, MRSH
Mental Wellbeing Officer
Lambeth and Southwark Public Health


Call To Halt Fitness-For-Work Test For Disabled People As Court Upholds Ruling

This article titled “Call to halt fitness-for-work test for disabled people as court upholds ruling” was written by Amelia Gentleman, for on Thursday 5th December 2013 12.28 UTC

The fitness-for-work test used to determine whether hundreds of thousands of disabled people are eligible to claim sickness benefits puts people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and autism at a disadvantage, the court of appeal has found, upholding an earlier ruling that had been challenged by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Three charities – Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society – welcomed the judgment and called for the government to stop using the “flawed assessment” immediately until this problem was fixed.

“The judges in the original ruling independently confirmed what our members and supporters have been saying for years – the system is unfair for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and is failing the very people it is meant to be supporting,” the three charities said in a statement after the ruling on Wednesday.

“It’s fantastic that the court of appeal has upheld this judgment … It would be irresponsible for the DWP to carry on using these flawed assessments as they are. They must halt the mass reassessment of people receiving incapacity benefit immediately, until the process is fixed.”

Two anonymous claimants initiated a judicial review into the fairness of the work capability assessment (WCA) earlier this year; this review will continue unless the government launches a further appeal.

The DWP said “significant improvements” were being made to WCA and that the court’s decision would not trigger a pause in assessments.

“It is a complicated judgment on an appeal against an interim judgment by the upper tribunal, with no effect on day-to-day business, which continues as usual,” a spokesman said.


Will you ask the NHS to value mental health?

We’re a member of the We Need To Talk coalition, a group of charities, professional organisations, Royal Colleges and service providers who believe in the effectiveness of psychological therapies.Today we published We still need to talk, a report which tells us that a third of people with the most severe mental illness are not offered talking therapy by the NHS. Yet evidence shows that when people do get help, it improves their health and helps make recovery possible – it can also help prevent people from developing psychosis in the first place.

Take action now – tell the NHS how important our mental health is

One in five people with severe mental illness are waiting more than a year to get psychological therapies. We would rightly never accept this state of affairs for people with physical health problems – it should be no different for people with mental illness.

We want the NHS to offer a full range of evidence-based psychological therapies to anyone who needs it within 28 days of anyone requesting a referral.

Our brilliant colleagues at Mind are putting pressure on MPs and Government Ministers. But David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the NHS, also has a crucial role to play in making this happen. The NHS has already agreed to introduce waiting times but we’re really worried it isn’t happening quickly enough. If we collectively act we have a much greater chance of making this change happen.

Will you ask David Nicholson to lead the way so that people with severe mental illness have access to the help they need, when they need it? By taking this action you are making it clear that our mental health is important to the NHS.

Thank you so much for your support.

Best wishes,

Charlotte Wetton, Senior Campaigns Officer.

Research shows that cats can have a positive impact on your mental health

They provide a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners and help reduce anxiety and stress. This concept has also been referred to as ‘purr therapy.’

Cats are not just great company, low maintenance and independent; they are also very good for you. Our head of research and ex-veterinarian Dr Eva Chylarova says “Looking after a pet can bring structure to your day, reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and act as a link to other people.”

The benefits of cat ownership on wellbeing

In 2011 we surveyed more than 600 people as part of our collaborative study with Cats Protection. Half of those people described themselves as having a mental health problem. The results highlighted some of the benefits of feline ownership:

  • 87% of cat owners feel that the animals have a positive impact on their wellbeing
  • 76% find that coping with everyday life is easier thanks to the animals
  • Stroking a cat is a calming and helpful activity.

One of the survey participants, 33 year-old Jacqui Walker said:

“I have suffered from SAD for many years and last winter it was so bad that I was signed off work and was put on anti-depressants. I was really struggling with life and felt like I had nothing to look forward to.

“This all changed the day that I met Timothy who I adopted from Cats Protection. Less than six weeks after he moved in I was able to return to work full time. Even my doctor was surprised with the change in me. As I said to him, maybe he should have prescribed me a cat instead of Prozac!”

Cat cafés?

The benefits of cats on wellbeing are becoming increasingly accepted in society with cat cafés cropping up in several major cities, including Le Café des Chats in Paris, France and Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London, England.

These cafés are home to up to a dozen friendly felines who weave between the café tables and curl up in customers’ laps, acting as a form of ‘purr therapy’ to the general public.

Myths about cat ownership and mental health

Recent stories of the link between ‘cat ladies’ and self-harm have been misunderstood. The reports are based on a study in Denmark which showed that women who had antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii), a parasite which can be caught from cat faeces, were more likely to go on to self-harm.

However, it is important to note that, although there appeared to be an association, this study did not prove that T.gondii infection was causing women to self-harm. There may have been various mental health, medical, personal or social causes which this study did not explore. In addition the study was specifically looking at the association between self-harm and the parasite itself, rather than those women who owned cats.

The parasite, although commonly found in cat faeces, can also be caught from unwashed vegetables, undercooked meat and contaminated water. In most people with the infection there are minimal or no symptoms, although pregnant women and people with impaired immunity do need to continue to exercise sensible precautions. Therefore it is having good hygiene which is key to preventing infection.

Not a cat fan?

Cats are not the only animal that can offer a great form of companionship.Other pets can also act as a form of therapy for a range of mental health problems and learning difficulties including depressionADHD, loneliness andAutistic Spectrum Disorder.

Via via Bridget

WE’RE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS to help break down mental health stigma

WE’RE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS to help break down mental health stigma

at the Time to Change Village

Shopping Centre, Lewisham, SE13 7HB

Saturday 26 October 2013

The Time to Change Village – ‘Lewisham-on-Sea’ is a ‘pop-up’ space where

people can learn the truth about mental health in an engaging and fun way!

Village volunteers will challenge stereotypes of mental illness by talking to the

public about their lived experiences of mental health problems. Come and join

us and be part of the social movement to end mental health discrimination!

In your role as a volunteer, we ask you to give up a few hours of your time to

come to the Village and share your experiences. We will provide training in

advance of the day and travel expenses up to £15.

Sign up now:

Or find out more:

07876 500062 (voicemail and text)

Flyer here: TtC LEWISHAM Poster

People with mental health problems are widely seen as the most discriminated-against group in Britain, according to new research from YouGov

Following a week where backlash over ‘mental patient’- and ‘psycho ward’-themed fancy dress costumes sold in supermarkets led to the costumes being pulled from stores, a YouGov survey on discrimination in Britain reveals that people with mental health problems are seen as the most marginalised, with gypsies, transsexuals and immigrants also high on the list.

In total two-thirds (67%) of British adults say people with mental health problems are discriminated against, including 30% who say these people suffer ‘a lot’ of discrimination – the highest of any group.

The mentally ill are more widely seen as discriminated against than gypsies and travellers (62%), transsexuals (62%), immigrants (58%), Muslims (57%) or disabled people (57%).


Around half  see gays and lesbians (50%), elderly people (50%), black people (48%) and Asian people (47%) as victims of discrimination.

Discrimination is seen as less common when it comes to Jews (34%), women (34%), working class people (32%), white people (30%), people with ginger hair (26%), Christians (25%) and, last of all, atheists (10%).

Campaigners for mental health charities have said the costumes only served to further stigmatise mental illness.

Image: Getty

See the full poll results

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: