A new mental health project will help school pupils in London to deal with their problems and worries after receiving a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s £75m HeadStart programme.
The development funding means that pupils in Lewisham will take part in a pilot project in the new school year. The local partnership will use this pilot to work up long term plans that could benefit from a multi-million pound share of HeadStart funding.
A previous YouGov survey for the Big Lottery Fundrevealed that 45 per cent of children aged 10-14 have reported being unable to sleep because of stress or worry, with fifty nine per cent saying they feel worried or sad at least once a week. However, only around 25 per cent of young people needing treatment for mental health problems actually receive it and usually only once they reach 18.
The HeadStart programme aims to develop ways of dealing with mental health issues before they become deep-rooted problems. Focussing primarily on schools, the HeadStart partners will offer a range of approaches, including peer mentoring, mental health ‘first aid’ training, online portals and special resilience lessons helping pupils aged 10-14 feel they have support at in the classroom as well as at home and tackling the stigma that can often surround the issues of mental health.
Lyn Cole, Deputy England Director of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We know that around three young people in every classroom suffer from a clinically diagnosable mental health disorder and this is a desperately sad situation. HeadStart is all about catching our young people before they fall into a trap of mental and emotional turmoil that may affect them all though their lives. This development funding means that children in Lewisham will play an important role in helping other young people get emotional support at a key stage in their lives.”
Councillor Paul Maslin, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Lewisham Council, said: “We are very excited to be part of this pilot project. Making the journey from teenager to adulthood is an important stage in young people’s lives and some will find it easier than others. So it’s important that where we can, we build mental and emotional resilience in those young people who may find the journey more difficult. I look forward to seeing the results of this project and how the involvement of young people in Lewisham has contributed to this important initiative.”
Community Engagement Officer
Voluntary Action Lewisham
St. Laurence Community Centre
31 – 37 Bromley Road
Catford, London SE6 2TS
Approximately half of people who take their own life have previously made a suicide attempt. People who survive are therefore at high risk of ending their own life later.
A new project, led by Dr Rina Dutta at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King’s College London, will aim to predict who is most at risk, and when, by analysing data from electronic medical records. Identifying warning signs may then allow healthcare professionals to intervene before a serious suicide attempt is made.
The project, called e-HOST-IT (Electronic health records to predict HOspitalised Suicide attempts: Targeting Information Technology), is being led by Dr Dutta, from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the IoP at King’s. The funding was awarded by the Academy of Medical Sciences, as a Clinician Scientist Fellowship.
Dr Dutta will use data from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s anonymised electronic mental health records system, CRIS, developed by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.
Dr Rina Dutta says: “What we know about why people make suicide attempts lags behind our understanding of other life-threatening problems. One reason is stigma. Studying risk factors in detail has also been difficult, because health records have been handwritten and kept in paper files. Predicting who is most at risk and when is the riskiest time is a huge challenge.”
She adds: “The NHS aims to be paperless by 2018. Now is the ideal time to see whether warning signs of a serious suicide attempt could be picked up early using anonymised electronic medical records. These warning markers could be changes in symptoms, behaviours or healthcare service use, which happen before a suicide attempt.”
With help from Mind, Dr Dutta has actively involved patients in the design and planning of the research to ensure it is patient-centred. The aim of the project is that the information be used to help health professionals personalise care for people most at risk. The long-term goal is that as professionals use the electronic records system in their day-to-day work, they will be directly alerted to high risk times for their patients. Finally, Dr Dutta also aims to develop prevention strategies and self-management tools by feedback of patterns indicating risk to individual patients.
Last year Status Employment ran the Moving Forward Project funded by Maudsley Charity. The project uses drama and trapeze workshops to raise the self-esteem and confidence of people suffering from mental illnesses.
In December, those who had completed the course devised a theatrical performance to share their ideas, thoughts and feelings and celebrate their achievements. Matthew McKenzie, who works in the Psychological Medicine Clinical Academic Group and is a carer, wrote a review of the night.
What’s The Point! Theatre Company
“They Don’t Look Ill…”
“I was slightly excited that I was going to watch a play for free, although had I noticed how well done the play was, I probably would have easily paid to view the performance. As a carer, sometimes I can be biased to what my mother is going through. My mother suffers from difficult mental health and this play at least highlighted mental health awareness and educated me on what I thought I may have known about mental wellbeing. I can only hope they continue to make more performances such as these. Society is badly lacking in awareness.
Some of my favourite scenes:
The upset daughter given hope:
The scene showed how difficult it is for a carer to talk to their loved one, especially younger people, who are not sure how to communicate their distress. It showed how trying to find out what the problem of someone suffering mental distress is like walking on eggshells.
The breaking plasticine film:
We were shown a video of different hands moulding plasticine figures, while different people talk as voice overs about the difficultly of mental illness. Some plasticine figures are stretched to breaking point, while other figures are shown doing an action like keeping fit. I kept thinking that perhaps the figure was a metaphor for failing to fight the illness.
The smiling fake boxes scene:
Every so often, the actors would come out with boxes on their heads with a smiling face drawn on the box. At first I was wondering why this was so and the scene seems strangely haunting as it reminded you that looking at a person who is suffering from mental difficulties, you just cannot fully tell what act they are putting on to hide their pain.
The play came to an end and each of the actors came up on stage holding a lantern. Each lantern was lighted and you could see the words of hope and healing appear on the lanterns as the actors began to take a paper aeroplane and throw them towards the audience.
I picked up one of the paper planes only to see a word written on the plane when I opened the paper up. The word written on the paper plane was “serenity” and from now on, I will take the word as a memento of the play, so when things become difficult for me, I will remember the play and the word.”
Projects like this would not be possible without your generous support.
You can donate to SLaM today and ensure we continue to support people with mental health issues, raise awareness and keep working to reduce stigma.
“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.”Posted: January 7, 2014
How to end the stigma and talk about mental health: http://on.ted.com/bwg5
People with mental health problems are widely seen as the most discriminated-against group in Britain, according to new research from YouGovPosted: October 6, 2013
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.