Social Media

You may have heard that in a few weeks’ time the SLaM TWIG Ops social media accounts will be moving to a new home. The accounts will be here for a while yet but once they’re gone you’ll be able to continue following news and views about South London and Maudsley (SLaM) and its services at @maudsleynhs and They are moving to become part of SLaM’s thriving online community – alongside more than 8,000 service users, patients, staff and the public. You can continue to send your information, updates and opinions to a contact who will share your posting with this wider audience and of course you’ll be able to make posts yourself if you are already on twitter or facebook. We hope that TWIG Ops followers will join us, create debate and help to raise awareness of mental health issues locally and beyond.

The TWIG Ops team will be working with us to help with the transition phase and will also make some improvements to our website that will provide new information and resources for anyone who wants to get involved with the Trust and find out about local events run by other organisations, news and issues relating to mental health. The TWIG Ops team will keep you updated and will post here with updates during the transition.

Best wishes

Sarah Crack

Head of Communications and Media SLaM


Future of our social media: August update

Dear all,

Last month we told you about SLaM’s plan’s to pull funding from our social media on 30th September here:

Thank you to all of you who wrote in to SLaM, asking for a reconsideration.

Later last month we updated you on the new date of 8th September here:

We were called to a meeting earlier this week, at 2 days notice, which two of our team were able to make. The notes of that meeting are here: Notes of Meeting to discuss SLaM Blog. You’ll note that there was no dialogue: it was simply a meeting for SLaM to tell us of their latest decisions, lead by by the Trust Director for Patient and Public Involvement.

At that meeting, we were told of the latest plan: that there would be a cut of 50% in our funding from 8th September, which would stop altogether on 30th October. In addition we were asked to provide advice to the SLaM Comms team on setting up new, SLaM run platforms, within this new 50% funding level.

SLaM seem to fundamentally not “get” the reasons for the need for an independent service user and carer led voice, or to understand why so many of it’s current and former patients are fearful of engagement with Trust-led initiatives. We have done all we can to explain this, time and time again, and we’re incredibly sorry that we’ve not been heard, on your behalf.

Your social media team have been unable to find a way to continue our services in anything like their current forms until that date, with these cuts, so this is to let you know that the blog will stop taking postings on 8th September. Our Facebook and Twitter presence may continue until the end of October.

On a personal note, may I take this opportunity to say that for me it has been a very great pleasure to have worked with you over the last three and a half years, and to have been part of this growing community which we have helped to link up :-). I am incredibly sorry to see the blog and our other platforms go, and can’t see how new platforms, run by the Trust, can replace them, when so many people are so suspicious of their health provider, based on their own direct experience :-(.

With best wishes,


Blog Adminstrator

Are British students too stigmatised to speak out on mental health?

After University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day recently, we review the Priory’s shocking survey statistics

The survey, which collated information from 18 universities, found that one in four students with mental health issues were not comfortable talking about their problems to friends.  Though the awareness day yesterday received plenty of media attention and support through social media from people all round the world, the societal stigma which plagues those who suffer with mental health problems will not be alleviated overnight.

The survey suggests that almost half of those who opened up about their illness have experienced a negative response – half of the first years who completed the survey said that they had been treated differently by peers after revealing their struggle with mental health issues.  Worryingly enough, 16% of the country’s students genuinely believed that they had lost friends and acquaintances as a result of admitting to their mental health problems.  This contradicts entirely from the experience of friends, as 75% of the respondents who noted that they had a friend with mental health problems did, in fact believe that they were being supportive.

Though universities nationwide are doing more every year to support students suffering from mental health issues, 86.5% of those surveyed who had been diagnosed with a mental health problem claimed that they didn’t think that schools and universities provided them with adequate support or doing enough to help them.  Dr David Kingsley, Consultant Adolescent Psychiatrist at Priory’s Cheadle Royal Hospital noted that “mental health problems are surprisingly common in students, including depression, self-harm, anxiety disorders and eating disorders”, and that university was a potential trigger – “as this is often the first time that they have been away from home, they can feel isolated and unable to access support for their difficulties”.  Even if the support is there, the social stigma of admitting to having mental health difficulties can be enough to dissuade students from seeking the support they need. Dr Kingsley went on to suggest that “it is important […] that universities and colleges help other students to understand mental health issues better, so that students can access the support they need from their peers and their difficulties aren’t compounded by an experience of misunderstanding or prejudice from their friends”.

For the full report visit:

Facebook & Tweets – Help Dragon Cafe Promote Our Relaunch – Mon 17 Feb 2014

Connect with The Dragon Cafe on Facebook and Twitter.

  Help Us Promote Our Relaunch on Mon 17 Feb 2014 with your Facebook and Tweets


We’re looking forward to seeing you in person when we re-open, but you can keep up to date with what’s going on and help to spread the word about The Dragon Cafe to your social media networks by joining us online – Like us on Facebook and Follow us if you’re on Twitter. We love creative collaborations so here’s a great way to share what you are doing too!

While we often seriously explore weighty matters around mental health at the Cafe we do also like to enjoy ourselves and have a laugh.

Check out the brilliant Dr Stewart comedy set from The Dragon Cafe on our Facebook and why not click Like while you’re there!

See you on Monday 17th February! 


Why the Sun is so wrong to use violence and fear to start a debate about the mental health system

There are good days and bad days in this job. Monday wasn’t a good one when I saw the Sun’s headline claiming 1200 people had been killed by ‘mental patients’ in the last ten years.

After so much improvement in the way the media reports mental illness in recent years, it felt like a huge step back to the bad old days of headlines like ‘Bonkers Bruno locked up’. In this world of sensationalist reporting, violence is the only prism through which mental illness is viewed.

This is not in any way, to downplay the terrible tragedy of a young life lost. Or indeed the urgent need to address failings in the system which so often play a part in incidents of this nature. And I’m not saying that murders involving people with mental illness should not be reported, of course they should. What I am saying is that they should be reported responsibly and in a way which does reinforce the stereotype that equates mental illness with violence.

While of course there are cases where people with mental illness commit serious acts of violence, we must keep the real risk in perspective. Ninety-five per cent of murders are committed by people who do not have a mental illness. In the vast majority of those 5 per cent of cases, there are other factors at play such as alcohol or drug misuse.

When the coverage of an issue is as crude and sensationalist as it was on Monday, everyone with a mental health diagnosis suffers.  It has been moving to see the reaction from people with mental illness themselves. Many have taken to social media to explain how this kind of reporting compounds the social isolation which mental illness can cause.

As one mental health blogger, Ceri, put it:  “Feeling exposed, vulnerable, persecuted, threatened and fearful, thinking that everyone knows you are evil, is a common part of the paranoid symptoms I and others experience. Having it shouted in the headlines that all this is really true, that you really are dangerous to others, and everyone knows, is a sick joke.”

The Sun may argue that they are only highlighting this issue because services are failing and something needs to be done. While I agree that mental health services badly need to improve, I would argue that coverage of this kind is not the place to start the argument.

We need to start with the enormous human suffering which can be caused by mental illness when decent treatment isn’t available. We should be talking about how people with serious mental illness are being let down by the NHS and social care system. We should be talking about the many thousands of lives lost every year to suicide.

I’d like to see the Sun run a headline highlighting the 30,000 people with mental health problems who are dying needlessly every year from preventable physical health problems. Or a front page splash about the excellent reportproduced this week by Victim Support and Mind which shows that people with mental illness are three times more likely to be the victims of crime.

Last year our Schizophrenia Commission highlighted the way in which we are systematically letting down the 300,000 people in England who have schizophrenia or psychosis and their families.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  We can do so much more to improve the lives of people with severe mental illness.  Schizophrenia and other conditions do not need to be diagnoses of despair and fear.

A constant focus on a small number of cases involving violence reinforce fear and despair. Instead we need to see a wider debate about the individual and societal costs of mental illness and what can be done about it. A debate prompted by compassion, not fear.


Newsletter – Psychology Service User Involvement Group

A must read for active service users wanting to find out more about involvement opportunities

This is the second edition of Psychology Service User Involvement Group (PSUIG) Newsletter. The 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 on interesting involvement activities and projects taking place within the Trust.

View the graphical newsletter as a PDF now! CLICK HERE: PSUIG Newsletter Spring 2012 April.

In this Edition

  • Page 2) PSUIG award 2011
    (by Graham Hadley)
  • Page 4) Heartsounds Uganda
    (by Rashid Male)
  • Page 6) Service User Event – Report
    (by Jean Cozens)
  • Page 7) PSUIG “Promoting Involvement Training”
    (by Carmine De Rosa)

Getting involved in a community team for mood, anxiety & personality disorder.

Paid Involvement Work

This is an opportunity open to individuals on the involvement register, currently involved in service improvement or user involvement work as a service user consultant for South London & Maudsley.

Payments for this work will be at meetings rate PB – (£10 Per hour)

We are looking for a service user consultant to work with the South Southwark community team for mood anxiety & personality disorders. South Southwark MAP team are looking to develop involvement opportunities for people who use services. Starting with a one -off social gathering, we hope to get peoples views and develop a regular opportunity for people to meet up and also get involved in improving services. We would like service user consultants to be involved in the planning and development of the social gathering and whatever involvement activity comes from it.

This work would suit someone who has:
· experience of using services for mood, anxiety & depression
· experience of helping to develop service user involvement activities
· the ability to work positively and collaboratively with both staff and service users
· the ability to draw on personal experience, but also to think strategically, putting aside personal interests or issues.
· the ability to inspire others – energy & enthusiasm

  • You would be working alongside staff to develop the opportunities, and will start with attending planning meetings (number & frequency to be arranged).

    If you are interested in this work, please reply to Alice Glover with a brief paragraph about why you think you fit the criteria above. If more than one person shows interest, your response will be looked at alongside any others so that the service user consultant with the most relevant experience & abilities can be taken on.

    Deadline to register an interest – Friday 30th March.

    Alice Glover

    Patient & Public Involvement Lead – Mood Anxiety & Personality CAG and Psychological Medicine CAG

    Email: Tel: 020 3228 0959