We posted last month that funding would cease for our social media on 30th September: https://slamtwigops.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/funding-will-cease-for-our-social-media-in-less-than-3-months/
One of subscribers wrote in to the Trust as we requested, and Sarah Crack, from SLaM Comms, replied to them, copied to us. In Sarah’s email she said that the funding would now cease on Monday 8th September, almost a month earlier than we were told last month. We’re also concerned that a decision made by the Involvement team is being communicated to a third party, and by another bit of the organisation.
We wrote expressing our concern at this to SLaM on Monday 21st July, and on Thursday 24th July this new date was confirmed by Ray Johannsen-Chapman in the attached letter.
We still can’t understand why they are closing our media before they have replacements in place.
SLaM has contested some of our posts, including us posting articles from the Guardian newspaper. We feel that this is over-cautious. All of us working in the variety of social media try to be very careful what we share with you and it would be good to know how you think we are doing. We don’t seek to take up an adversarial position with the Trust and we believe that everything that we post or send to you via our other social media is in the public interest.
Here are some excerpts from some of the emails we’ve received. It would be great if you could add your voice to them, and / or explore other avenues of funding for us to continue our work.
I’ve read that funding of the SLaM Involvement Forums’ online presence is due to stop in the near future.
I use your social media in several ways;
– as a member of SLaM and a former service user I continue to value my recovery and now I am no longer under services a large part of this is online. Whilst it is true that there is a vast amount of online information, blogs and social media around mental health I like things to be from a trusted and reliable source like SLaM (oh the joys of having paranoia in your diagnosisJ)
– In my work role I send in details of events and activities that are coming up which I know reach people we would otherwise not come into contact with
– I hear about events which I may not be aware of and pass them onto our service users and disseminate them across my networks. I’m sure I’m not alone in doing this and this must extend the reach of the SLaM social media platforms far beyond the number of subscribers and visits.
People with a MH diagnosis are far less likely to use computers for a variety of reasons and I feel this decision moves them further from integration into the online community
I would be interested to know why, in an age where the power and importance of social media is growing by the day, funding has been taken from this resource.
I am writing to register my disappointment that the social media project SLAM TWIG Operations has had their funding cut.
In times where mental health services users’ benefits and services are being taken away, SLAM TWIGS was a beacon of light that gave hope through sharing opportunities and providing connections in a disconnecting world.
I, as a SLAM service user, found it invaluable in my recovery to move forward and not get lost in recovery’s no man land, where you pushed out of services with no signposts to help you on your way. SLAM TWIG provided some of those signposts.
Please reconsider your action.
I was very disappointed to find out that funding was to cease for the South London Involvement Forum.
I was directed towards the Forum earlier this year. I find their weekly digest full of useful information and details of all sorts of activities around the boroughs.
In particular I find their reports on the Hear Us meetings excellent. There must be an awful lot of effort put into them. I am not always able to attend the entire meeting and need the Forums detailed reports to find out what I missed and to clarify areas I did not understand.
I believe SLaM should be publicising the Forum as a resource rather than removing its funding. I find it far more useful than the displays of leaflets and posters around SLaM properties which can often be out of date.
I am a SLaM service user and member of the Involvement Register. I am writing to beg you to reconsider your decision to cut the funding from the service user blog. This is an invaluable form of social inclusion and involvement that myself and others benefit from everyday. If I am unable to get out of the house due to worsening of my condition, the blog keeps me informed and makes me feel connected to the community. When I am able to get involved, it offers me news and opportunities for bits of work, and also info about local groups, charities and advice. Mainly it is run by service users for service users so our views are represented and taken seriously.
I can’t believe the small amount it takes to run these services is deemed to be unnecessary. It will take away a valuable service and take away yet another small thing that improves the quality of my life.
I hope you take this view into account
Quite a shock about the possibility of having the funding discontinued for all of your great reporting online.
I particularly look forward to Matthew’s video analysis, for example.
I really appreciate receiving these regular email news bulletins from you, to inform me and keep me up to date with opportunities in ‘our’ community, and if at all possible would use a modest amount of my income to support you financially in the future to help you continue your good work.
This is a deserving cause alright.
Hoping to hear some better news..
I was really upset to see that the well established social media activities relating to TWIG are to cease. I know from the recent SLAM magazine that a larger social media body exists but I do not have a relationship with those postings and feel reluctant to form one.
D Rosier is a trusted, effective service user involvement expert and her judgment regarding the posts on TWIG which balance opportunities in work and education and socially as well as useful information regarding benefit changes and activities that highlight how people with lived experience of mental distress feel about their treatment.
On 3rd July our current SLaM funder announced that they will cease to fund our media platforms at the end of September.
This news saddens us, because we all know that without the blog, Facebook and Twitter there would be limited space for those who use the mental health services to get their views heard, and hear other people’s stories.
Without our social media it would be difficult to support voluntary communities’ campaigns and let people know what these communities are doing.
Although some of will always strive to do social media in one form or another, we would prefer the involvement accounts to continue in their current shape rather than them disappearing.
If our social media is no longer funded, most of this work will be under threat or stop altogether on 30th September.
We all believe that it is really important to have service user and carer independent media. There are many benefits to SLaM: it is good PR for them to facilitate our platforms; staff can use it to signpost their clients to community resources and opportunities etc.
D manages the blog, which has nearly 300 subscribers, and on top of that the blog gets about 100 hits a day (i.e. from non-subscribers).
Bridget and Matthew co-run Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Soundcloud (for audio blogs). They try to post items that are not only about involvement work with SLaM but also things that they feel will be of interest to the service users and carers who follow us – such as local community events, support groups, news items etc.
They also try to engage with service users and carers who follow us to foster a community spirit. SLaM staff are encouraged to signpost service users and carers to our social media sites for extra support and a wealth of information. This is becoming more and more important as there are unfortunately significant cuts happening in the NHS both with physical and mental care.
Within Matthew’s social media role on the South London Involvement Forum, he works hard helping to run its Facebook, twitter and YouTube account. He also physically goes out to attend and support mental health communities in South London.
Our Facebook page currently has over 100 ‘Likes’ and we have over 800 followers on Twitter. Matthew does excellent video blogs that we post on YouTube. His blog for “Depression Awareness Day” was picked up by a major website, Psych Central, in USA and placed on their website.
We only have a short time to persuade SLaM to change its mind, or to come up with an alternative funding solution. Can you help us with any of these things? Do you have money or access to funds that could contribute to this?
If you value the blog, our Facebook page and / or our tweets, you can help now by writing to SLaM to tell them how it is of use to you and asking them to reconsider their decision to withdraw our funding (about £500 per month).
Please write to our current funder, Zoe at Zoe.Reed@slam.nhs.uk and SLaM Head of Communications, Sarah at Sarah.Crack@slam.nhs.uk. You may wish to copy it to the Chief Executive, Matthew Patrick at Matthew.Patrick@slam.nhs.uk.
Please send us a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org. We suggest you don’t use our SLaM address as the Trust can of course shut down our access to this at any moment.
Please share this widely.
We will also be posting on Facebook and twitter, and we would be grateful if you could share these also.
Abi, Bridget, D and Matthew
Your SLIF Communications team