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Sick! Festival

SICK! Festival is the first festival in the UK dedicated to revealing and debating our most urgent physical, mental and social challenges – and is expanding in 2015 into venues across Brighton and Manchester.

SICK! Festival was launched in 2013 as the first festival of its kind in the UK dedicated to exploring the medical, mental and social challenges of life and death and how we survive them (or don’t). SICK! presents an outstanding international, cross art-form programme featuring theatre, dance, film, public installations and debates in venues across Brighton & Hove, Manchester and Salford.

The festival seeks out new ways of talking about and dealing with the bad times that are unflinching, informed, irreverent and humane. It is a reflection on those experiences that are most personal to us, but which somehow connect us all as individuals with bodies, minds and lives that sometimes go wrong.

SICK! Festival is delivered in partnership with leading arts organisations, medical and academic institutions, charities and community groups.

Manchester programme of events

Mick McKeown’s session

It is often the relationships between the providers of services and people on the receiving end which are at the heart of people’s experiences of the mental health system.  As we have discussed in the past, both service users and carers, on the one hand, and workers, on the other, can feel alienated by current approaches to delivering services.  Mick McKeown is a Reader in the School of Health at the University of Central Lancaster and active in the Trades Union movement.  He is interested in how alliances can be built between mental health workers and the psychiatric survivor movement, and the role of Trade Unions within that.  Mick has also thought and written a lot about the relationship between community-based groups such as CCrAMHP and Higher Education Institutions. Mick will share some of his ideas, as a starting point for discussion, which might include some thinking about the alliances that CCrAMHP might seek to make with other groups, institutions and initiatives.

Focus group – for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and an interest in improving services.

Are you?

  • Interested in contributing to new research on mental health?
  • Living in or within easy reach of Lancaster?
Are you?
  • An individual affected by schizophrenia and aged between 18
  • and 65? Or, a carer, friend or family member of someone who is?
The challenge
Many people diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar only use GP services for their mental health support. In future this will probably increase as secondary services are streamlined. Some GPs are very good supporting mental illness, but others are less so. Some people under GP-led mental health care don’t get good support, or make much progress with either their mental or physical health problems.
PARTNERS2 Research
This new research programme aims to develop better ways of supporting people with mental illness within GP practices. A new system could offer services to enable people with schizophrenia to lead longer, healthier and more satisfying lives.
How can you help?
We are currently looking for people to join focus group discussions on October 20th in Lancaster about what is important to people affected by schizophrenia. You will receive a gift voucher as a ’thank you’ for taking part in the focus group.
We are also looking for people to complete three online surveys over a 8-10 week period about how the success of new ways of providing care or supporting should be measured.
Interested?
If you are interested in participating in either the focus groups or online surveys or would like to find out more information please contact Tom Keeley at PARTNERS2@contacts.bham.ac.uk or 0121 414 8590. In an email please include a phone number and we will arrange a time for a conversation.

Flyer: Partners2FocusGroupLancashire (1)

Help improve services for people with mental illness in Lancashire

Do you?
  • Have a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder?
  • Support or care for a friend or family member who does?
 
Are you?
  • Interested in contributing to new research on mentalhealth support services?
  • Living in Lancashire?
Help improve services for people with mental illness.  Opportunities available in Lancashire!
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The problem? 
Many people diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder only use GP services for their mental health support. In future this will also probably increase as secondary services are streamlined. Some GPs are very good at supporting people with mental illnesses, but others are less so. Some people under GP-led mental health care don’t get good support, or make much progress with either their mental or physical health problems.
—-
Can the PARTNERS2 Research Programme develop a solution?
This new research programme aims to develop better ways of supporting people with severe mental illness within GP practices. A new system could offer services to enable people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to lead longer, healthier and more satisfying lives.
—-
How can you help? 
We are recruiting people who have personal experience of living with diagnoses of bipolar or schizophrenia (as service users or carers), and are interested in how mental health research is done, to form three local Lived Experience Advisory Panels. The Panels will work with university and service user researchers over the next four years to develop and test a better way of supporting people with severe mental illness . Panel members will share their experience and understanding to make the research more useful for people who need support to live with these diagnoses. Payment, training and support will be available.
—-
Interested?
If you want to find out more about joining the Panel, or what the work would involve, Ruth Sayers ( PIiR Coordinator for PARTNERS2) would like to hear from you.
Please email contact@mcpin.org for further information and about how to apply.
—-
Closing date: applications by 9th October for selection on 21st October.

Research project

A couple of CCrAMHP members have agreed to be interviewed by Susanne Martikke, from the Greater Manchester Coalition of Voluntary Organisations, as part of a larger research project which seeks to ‘better understand and capture the key elements of resilient community-university partnership, and to create future scenarios for effective community university partnership working’.  Jill and Will will be meeting with Susanne on 17 October. Further details of the research can be found here.

 

Putting CCrAMHP ideas in to action

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:
http://www.bridgecollective.org.uk/
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:
http://www.transitioncitylancaster.org/
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.

Building mental health support – meeting on 6 June

Some of us at CCrAMHP have been talking about what it might involve to set up a mental health support project that was more in line with the alternative perspectives we discuss during meetings.

We have no firm ideas as yet, but thought it might be good to get together any other interested people – to discuss what potential ideas we all have and see if we come up with anything we would like to explore further.

There is no particular agenda – just to start talking would be the first phase, and we can see what comes of it, stage by stage. Whatever the outcome we are likely to learn something interesting at each stage along the way!

If you are interested in joining us then please get in touch (just add a comment here) or come along to the Gregson Centre bar on Thursday 6 June at 7pm. 

Directions on this page: http://www.gregson.co.uk/

Christina, Jill and Tamasin