Sutton Carers Centre

Do you have a family member, friend, relative or neighbour to whom you give unpaid care and support, due to their physical or mental illness, disability or substance misuse issue? Would they struggle to cope, or be unable to manage without you? If so, you are a Carer, and if you live or work in the London Borough of Sutton, we are here for you. We can provide you with the advice, information, time out and support to help you in your caring role and make sure that you stay healthy and well too.

Support and services offered:

  • Advice, information and support
  • Help to complete Benefit forms
  • Referrals to other agencies
  • Confidential counselling service for Carers
  • Complementary Therapies including reflexology and massage
  • Mental Health Carers project
  • Young Carers project
  • Young Carers AYCES project (Mental Health and Substance Misuse)
  • Support for former Carers
  • Outreach service to help in the identification of ‘hidden’ Carers, and to raise awareness of our services
  • Coffee morning drop-in for Carers
  • Training for Carers
  • Assistance in accessing funds
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Carers’ newsletters: ‘The Benhill Bugle’, ‘The Mental Health Carers Bulletin’, and the Young Carers ‘Cool News’

Don’t tell me the mental health system isn’t in crisis – I’ve been in it

Vulnerable people like me are being put at risk by cuts to essential services, and I’ve already given up trying to get support

The mental health system is in crisis. It’s a car crash waiting to happen.

That’s according to Prof Sue Bailey, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, in an interview earlier this week. Her comments came a day before the British Medical Association’s annual meeting, where delegates were told that cuts to mental health services are resulting in avoidable deaths and suicides. Sadly, neither of these stories told me anything I didn’t already know. I’ve seen at first-hand how the mental health system is failing vulnerable people. For many of us dealing with mental illness, the car crash has already happened.

In fact, my experiences of mental health care were so bad that a few years ago I completely gave up on trying to get support. I’d been going through a period of severe anxiety and had waited for months to see a therapist. But after a few sessions, she told me she was being transferred. I’d have to go back on the waiting list and start all over again.

The whole experience made my anxiety worse, so I decided I’d be better off looking after myself. That can be a real challenge because I have a long-term and serious mental illness, schizoaffective disorder. Sometimes I struggle and need support, but like many people with mental health issues, I find it difficult to ask for help. That’s partly because of the stigma around mental illness, but it’s also because I’m afraid of going back into the mental health system.

It’s been the same story since I first tried to get help when I was 17. I was feeling suicidal, but the waiting lists were so long that I didn’t get the therapy I needed. If I’d had a serious physical illness, I’d have been treated within 18 weeks, but there are no maximum waiting times for mental illness, so people can wait for years to get support. Many people miss out altogether.

My mental health gradually got worse, until eventually I reached crisis point and had a breakdown. I was taken to A&E after being found walking down the middle of a busy dual carriageway. There were no beds available, so they just sent me away with a handful of Valium.

After that I gave up hope, and decided to end my own life. Luckily for me, a stranger stopped me and talked me out of it. He gave me a simple message of hope – that I could get better. I’d never been told that before, and it changed everything for me.

From that day, things started to improve, and earlier this year I launched a campaign to find the good Samaritan who’d helped me. My search was made into a documentary, Finding Mike. Since then I’ve been inundated with messages from people who’ve been through the same kind of thing. It really brought home to me how much we’re all affected by mental health issues. All of us know someone who’s faced mental illness. But too often people tell me they’ve been let down by the system.

The fact is that not enough money is spent on care. Mental health accounts for around 23% of the disease burden in the UK, but gets just 13% of the NHS budget. Worse still, spending on mental health has been slashed even further over the past few years.

It is not just people with mental illness that have been let down. I know many doctors and nurses who feel incredibly frustrated that they can’t provide the care they want to because of the cuts.

We can improve the system, but the government needs to listen to the patients, carers and organisations who know the system best.

Research by the charity Rethink Mental Illness shows that early intervention services – which help people from the moment they become ill – make a huge difference in helping patients recover, and also save the NHS money. With the right treatment, people can get better. But instead of getting much-needed investment, these services are facing major cuts. It means that millions of people are suffering because they can’t get support, and each day 16 people in the UK take their own lives.

That’s why we must keep putting pressure on the government until it takes real action to give people with mental illness the care that we deserve. At the moment I’m going through another period of anxiety, and I should feel that I can get the support I need. It’s not right that people like me so often go through this alone.

Via Bridget via

Borough Market traders donate unsold produce to Dragon Cafe

A new food waste initiative at Borough Market will benefit the Dragon Cafe, the weekly creative space for those going through mental illness and recovery.

Unsold bread, fruit and vegetables from Borough Market are collected by FoodSave, with the help of Plan Zheroes, at the end of Saturday trading and donated to the Dragon Cafe.

Borough Market was linked up with Dragon Cafe by the FoodSave project which offers free support to small and medium sized food businesses in London to help them reduce food waste.

The development of the scheme has been supported by Plan Zheroes, which finds, supports and inspires food businesses that are willing to donate their surplus food to local charities.

A weekly open creative space for all – with an emphasis on those going through mental illness and recovery – the Dragon Cafe relaunched its weekly sessions in February this year with the backing of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

Open every Monday from 12 noon to 8.30pm, the Dragon Cafe provides a safe, stimulating and creative space for more than 200 people each week in the crypt of St George the MartyrChurch in Borough High Street.

Borough Market is committed to inspiring people about food, creativity and sustainability – whether it’s our 100 per cent landfill free policy or collecting coffee grounds from our restaurants to use in our Market Hall garden,” said Keith Davis, the market’s managing director.

“Working with FoodSave, we are proud to be doing our bit to reduce as much food waste as possible, before using surplus food to feed people in need.”

The Borough Market traders involved to date are the Bread Ahead Bakery, Karaway Bakery, Olivier’s Bakery, Ted’s Veg and Paul Wheeler (Fresh Supplies) Ltd.

Charlotte Jarman, FoodSave project officer at Sustain, said: “We are very excited to be working with such an iconic London food destination as Borough Market to divert surplus food to good causes such as the Dragon Cafe.

“Let’s hope that this move inspires other markets around the capital to set up similar schemes.”






Go on…..push the button or visit the Hear Us website: (and scroll to the bottom of the page)

As part of the Time to Change, Time to Talk campaign to show that it’s the little things which make a big difference, over 1,000 activities are taking place up and down the country tomorrow to get people talking about mental health. There are a number of activities taking part in Croydon tomorrow, so if you have time:

1. Between 11am and 2pm, pop down to the MIND building in Altyre Road, (near East Croydon station) for tea, homemade cake and a conversation about mental health.

2. Between 2pm and 4.30pm: borrow a book from our Living Library, with MIND in Croydon and Hear Us, at Croydon Library, Katherine Street (Clock tower)

Please click here to view the poster.

We can offer tea, coffee, and cake, while having a chat about mental health with someone who has lived experience

We will also be on Twitter all day encouraging you to talk about mental health so please get online and start a conversation. Don’t forget to use #TimetoTalk.

For more information about ways to get involved including tips and hints about starting your own ‘mental health conversation’, please visit the Time to Change Website, You will find materials to download and lots more………including a competition called:  how to  “have a conversation to win a conversation”

With Kind regards

Jane White (Hear Us)


Anxiety 2014: Call for performing arts and international collaborative & research residency proposals

FYI- please visit the Anxiety 2014: arts and mental health festival website for details on the call for proposals and details about the festival coming soon:

Anxiety 2014 is a new London wide arts festival exploring the spaces between the concepts of anxiety and the ways they are lived, perceived and represented by artists, individuals and communities. The festival runs throughout June 2014 spanning venues and spaces across the city, from grass-roots community centres to London’s leading cultural and academic organisations.

Anxiety 2014 is curated by the Mental Health Foundation and core funded by the Maudsley Charity. Since 1949 the Mental Health Foundation has been committed to reducing the suffering caused by mental illness and to helping everyone lead healthier lives by carrying out research and developing practical solutions.

Curatorial Team: Festival Director: Errol Francis, Film Curator: Jonathan Keane, Learning and Community Involvement Curator: Anna B. Sexton, Visual Arts Curator: Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz, Festival Intern: Scarlett Spiro-Beazley

Anxiety Arts Festival London 2014: Call for Performing Arts Proposals

Deadline for submissions is 12.00 midday on Wednesday 29 January 2014

Bethlem – Gasworks – Anxiety 2014 : Collaborative and Research focused Residency

Call now open for artists of any ‘non-visa’* nationality not currently living and working in the UK. 

Best wishes

Helen Shearn
Head of Arts Strategy

“People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing.”

How to end the stigma and talk about mental health:

Come and join us for a free drama workshop!

Have you had experience of mental distress or mental illness or supported someone who has?

We would like to invite you to join us for a fun, free workshop that uses drama to build confidence, meet others and explore our experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

This is a great opportunity to experience how drama skills can be an engaging, relaxing way of exploring ourselves and to feel more confident communicating with others.

Whether you have had no experience of acting before or are a budding performer – everyone is welcome!

Refreshments: Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided

Omnibus Theatre will also be making a contribution to travel expenses.

Date: Monday 25th November 2013

Time: 2pm – 4pm

Venue:  Omnibus Theatre

1 Northside Clapham Common (The Old Library)

Tube: Clapham Common (5 mins walk).

Buses: 35, 37, 88, 137, 155, 255, 322, 345, 417

For more information or to confirm your attendance please contact: Lauren (Woyzeck Outreach Coordinator) | 0207 498 4699