A few of us met at the Gregson centre on Thursday 6 June to think about what might be involved in setting up a mental health support project that was more in line with the alternative perspectives we discuss during CCrAMHP meetings; and/or how we can use such ideas to influence existing services.
Discussion was quite wide-ranging but a few thoughts began to take shape:
– Setting up an alternative service and/or reshaping current services are major undertakings and cannot happen overnight. Small steps are probably the way to start.
– Some (but not all) people who currently attend CCrAMHP and enjoy discussing ideas also have an interest in doing more practical things – drawing on the ideas that we discuss in meetings. Some people who don’t (and wouldn’t want to) attend meetings might be interested in being involved in more activity based sessions. Any more ambitious plans – eg for alternatives to current services – are more likely to emerge organically, if we create some space for that, than to be the result of formal planning.
– We could begin by meeting away from the Friends Meeting House for the August meeting (which will be on Monday 19 August). Gill Dougherty has offered that we can use her house and all bring some food to share. Future ideas might include: a visit to Christina’s allotment with a view to exploring the idea of an allotment project; a trip to Arnside on the train and a walk there. Other ideas. . . ? We can encourage people who might not normally be drawn to CCrAMHP meetings to join in with these activities.
– We are a large and diverse group. It is unlikely that everyone with an interest in this broad issue will be motivated to get involved in one particular type of project/activity. What CCrAMHP can do is to put small subgroups of people in touch with others who share their interests and provide a sounding board for new ideas.
– The Bridge Collective in Exeter:
offers an example of an alternative project – Tamasin knows it well.
It might be interesting for a few of us to go down and visit at some point. It might also be good to explore links, more locally, with Transition City Lancaster:
and to arrange a visit to Evolving Minds (a mental health group coordinated by Rufus May in Hebden Bridge).
– We talked a bit about our own thoughts/dreams about alternative approaches to mental health support and thought that might be a good topic for a CCrAMHP meeting – say, the September one.
– Discussion list: We talked about how we might use the newly established CCrAMHP discussion list to explore the practical application of ideas discussed during meetings ie share ideas about small things that we might change as a result of what we learn. We thought it would be useful to post a brief summary on it of each meeting, so people unable to get along can keep in touch with what is happening.
We will be carrying on discussion about this on the discussion list, and at future meetings. Do get in touch if you would like to contribute.