We’re well into 2023 now. I don’t know about you but for me, January both seemed to last a while and fly by at the same time, whereas I blinked and we’re at the end of February already. Let me catch you up with what’s been happening and what’s to come.
Towards the end of last year, we did so much co-production training and that seems to be continuing into this new year, which is great! The word is getting out about the training and feedback from attendees is really positive. We are always open to hearing all feedback, especially ways we could improve, as it helps us create the best training we can. We are very passionate about co-production and it’s great to see the attendees also share this passion.
We are having an in-person training week in June, delivering our co-production training along with addiction awareness trainings. You just pay £5 per training, the price of a hot meal, that will be paid forward to The Edge Café for those who need it. Each training course is 3 hours long, so that’s 3 hours of training for £5… Bargain! For more information about what is on and when, and how to book check out the image below or click here (please note all hyperlinks are written out at the end of this blog). To book on, simply contact Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org. (places are limited per organisation, no limit for those with lived experience)
We also have a few training dates available across the year if you’d like to book on our online course. For more information and to see the dates we have for co-production training, click here.
- Do you have lived experience of mental health and/or drug and alcohol challenges?
- Are you passionate about using your lived experience to help shape local services?
If you answered yes, then this opportunity might be for you.
We are starting a new involvement forum and are looking for 10-12 interested people, from across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, that have lived experience of mental health and/or drug and alcohol challenges to join. The forum will meet together every two months, starting in April, either online or in person (yet to be decided).
The purpose of the forum is:
- Learn more about how decisions are made by local support services (NHS, Councils and Charities)
- Have your say about how these services are delivered locally, to help make improvements
- Help raise local awareness of mental health and drug and alcohol support that is free for people, to use to save them waiting for a GP appointment
- Involve people in opportunities where they get to meet and work alongside the professional’s delivering services, to help them improve how services are being delivered
We can offer you training so that you feel confident to be involved and will help you to understand the ‘system’ of local mental health and drug and alcohol services. We will be paying people for their participation at each meeting.
Interested in joining or learning more about it? I would be more than happy to meet or chat with you, comment on this blog, text/call/WhatsApp 07907 472 024 or email email@example.com.
Other aspects of my work
The Personalised Care and Support Plan (PCSP) project is the main area that I work on at the moment. We’ve recently designed a compact version, and will have an easy read version on hand shortly should it be needed. With this compact version, we are starting a new phase of the project which is exciting. This means individuals will be able to choose which PCSP feels better for them, helpful depending on the style people prefer and hopefully helping them use it.
My colleague Rachel and I have recorded two podcasts for a series we are calling ‘Handing You the Microphone Podcast’. In these podcasts we hear from two individuals that have experiences of mental health challenges alongside visual impairments. We will be sharing these on our social media and website soon. It has been interesting learning more about visual impairments and blindness, and the links this has on someone’s mental health. If you’d be interested in sharing your story and taking part in this podcast, then please let us know. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or text/call/WhatsApp me on 07907 472 024.
Eating Disorder Awareness Week
It is Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) this week, February 27th – 5th March. We will be sharing resources, stories, and posts throughout this week as part of the awareness campaign. This year BEAT are focusing their EDAW campaign on eating disorders in men, to help raise awareness and to challenge unhelpful and incorrect stereotypes that prevent men from accessing support and speaking up, #HelpMenGetHelp. BEAT have a dedicated page on their website (here) about eating disorders in men, with helpful questions and answers, and an insightful video hearing from Aiden, Ian and Ben sharing some of their lived experience.
We spoke with Adam roughly a year ago and recorded his personal experience of an eating disorder, which you can watch here. It’s so important for us to enable a safe space for people to share their experiences when they are ready, as it helps conversations to happen, support to be given and received, and understanding to be developed.
Kim wrote a blog for us for EDAW, talking about how yarn bombing helps her in her recovery. You can read Kim’s blog here and see some of the incredible work she has recently done. Keith also sent us some new carers frequently asked questions and answers for the Keep Your Head carers resource, which you can see here. We are always really grateful when people are able to get involved in our work and are passionate about helping others.
As you may know, I have experienced an eating disorder and while I am in recovery, I still experience challenges with my mental wellbeing. I recently came up with this little poem that reminds me change doesn’t happen overnight, but persistence and tenderness are key:
Little by little, step by step,
I am treating myself kindly,
To help reclaim my whole self-back.
I am learning to love my body, and not feel like it’s wrong.
So for now I will trust the process,
And appreciate the journey I am on.
I’ve started back at uni and in my final stretch before finishing my degree. The past 2 and a half – 3 years both felt like they have taken forever and whizzed past at the same time. It hasn’t been an easy journey, and I’ve had to keep going when I really felt like stopping, but I know I will be stronger and better for getting through it. I’m excited for what’s to come after uni and look forward to enjoying a little more me time.
I went for a walk recently to Grafham water. It was a beautiful day as you can see from the picture. It was nice to do some exercise while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. When there is lots going on for me I struggle to have a clear mind and often experience anxiety or worry. I struggle to be in the moment. Coming to somewhere like Grafham water and walking around really helps me to slow my mind down and breathe.
So, if you’ve ever feeling overwhelmed, try pausing, taking a second out of what you’re doing, and really take a deep slow breath in and out. Hopefully it helps you have a moment to yourself like it does for me.
‘If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?’ – Nanette Mathews
Take care and be kind,
Mental health engagement facilitator
Training week poster: https://www.sunnetwork.org.uk/dev/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Training-week-poster.pdf
Co-production training information and dates: https://www.sunnetwork.org.uk/training/co-production-training/
BEAT’s website – Do men get eating disorders? Dedicated page on men and eating disorders: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/get-information-and-support/about-eating-disorders/do-men-get-eating-disorders/
Lets talk about eating disorders – A personal experience from Adam, YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac02LjPg_aM&ab_channel=TheSUNNetwork
Kim’s yarn bombing blog for eating disorder awareness week: https://www.sunnetwork.org.uk/eating-disorder-awareness-week-kims-yarn-bombing/
Eating disorder carers frequently asked questions on the Keep Your Head website: https://www.keep-your-head.com/adults/MH/eating-disorders/caring-for-someone-with-an-eating-disorder