We’ve been busy!
After much discussion, we have decided to create an ebulletin that we can send out to you so you can keep up to date with all of the different involvement opportunities you can take part in. This month, the way the world operates has been affected by Coronavirus so the majority of opportunities are online.
An update from Lois – Executive Director
Hello. What a strange and uncertain time for us all. It seems very surreal how much life has been impacted for us all in the last couple of weeks.
The SUN Network team are all working from home and as we are a very sociable bunch, we are trying to stay in touch with one another and with you to help us maintain positive thinking and wellbeing.
Vickie is working hard to update www.keep-your-head.com with all the latest news from services on what they can currently offer in terms of support, so please do check it out.
I am doing more home cooking than I have previously been able to do, and also am taking a break to have a little walk in my garden. It’s so nice to feel the sun on your face and see the promise of Spring in the budding flowers.
Don’t forget you can still WhatsApp your feedback on your current experiences, or ask questions about services to 07712 358 172
An Update From Charlotte
We write the report and include service user quotes as the heart of the report to capture and highlight what the experience truly is. I use previous reports to compare our findings, and statistics to identify trends and patterns that service users are experiencing, what gaps and barriers there are and to highlight consistent and positive experiences also. This report is fed back to the PCMH managers so that they can improve the service so your voice matters.
I have recently completed a PCMH report with help from Lois, it was 6 months’ worth of feedback in one report so for my first report that was a big one. However, it is important to hear people’s experience and always strive to improve. The feedback I got was that it was a very good report.
If you have had an experience with the Primary Care Mental Health service and want to provide anonymous feedback on your experience please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call me on 07907 472 024. If you want to give feedback but worry about the cost of the call, you can WhatsApp me and I can call you back.
We planned to have an exciting crafting event in April following the success of our Not So Blue Monday event back in January. However, we are having to adapt to online working so are in talks with Crafts4smiles to see how to deliver a crafting workshop in an innovative new way. Watch this space.
Part of my role involves dual diagnosis/Co-occurring conditions, so I have been lucky enough to attend open AA/NA meetings across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Although I am not there to benefit from the meetings directly, the meetings I have been to were all open meetings and I have always been made to feel welcome regardless of my reason for being there. I get a great sense of community in these meetings, judgement is left outside the room and it feels like a safe space which allows people to explore whatever it may be that they are feeling. There can be stigma around AA meetings especially, as well as NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and CA (Cocaine Anonymous), as being heavily religious, however, based on my experience this is not the case. It is opening yourself up to the possibility that to get through addiction you need to acknowledge a higher sense, power or being to guide you, something other than yourself. Everyone can define their own higher reasons; it can be anything and does not have to be spiritual or religious.
An Update From Anne
The SUN Network are collaborating with Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT) on the exciting Peterborough pilot scheme where additional resources will be put in place to enhance mental health care and support in Primary Care (Around GP surgeries). We are holding co-production workshops where Peterborough residents can come along and input into the scheme helping to influence and shape the project as well as attend key strategic meetings. The Exemplar team are looking for ways to still involve service users via technology and they are keeping people up to date with Twitter @pboroMHExemplar They are also looking for your opinions on a new website that holds all mental health information for Peterborough and there is a YouTube video to watch of the proposed website https://youtu.be/HJVLOQ7Ebt4 and a survey link to have your say. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=ZK6E2LEyMEGkSUqmVcmjMLQiqgr43XRAmaA0QHqsrIpUNjFPOUJFV0QxUUsxSk42SkdRSlo5Rk5JNy4u
We are working with Rethink Carers interviewing individuals (service users and carers) to listen to their story of their journey over the course of the year, regarding their mental health and whether they are able to access support at the time that they need it. You can read our interim report here: https://www.sunnetwork.org.uk/dev/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/The-Winding-Road-Interim-Report-Dec-2019.pdf
I am personally running a few projects at the moment which I am very interested in.
Mental Health Employment Project – A project interviewing individuals who experience mental health challenges who are also receiving employment support. This is to gain information on what is helpful for people, what the barriers and gaps are for individuals and what sort of support they would like to see.
Perinatal Mental Health – Another project interviewing mums who have experience of mental health during their time of pregnancy and post birth. Listening to their stories and finding out what help was/was not available. What helped them through their challenging time and what they would like to see for the future of care and support for Perinatal mental health.
Healthwatch Health and Care forums – we have been attending each of the local forums to present to its members the numerous different services available for mental health within Cambridgeshire. Some of these are on hold, so we will let you know when we will next be attending. For up to date details of what services are currently offering, please go to: https://www.keep-your-head.com/adults/CP-MHS/how-can-i-help-myself/what-support-services-are-currently-offering
Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) disability workshop – The SUN Network took along 4 individuals who have experience of mental health to feed into the workshop which was looking at ways it could improve its services. It was great to get mental health on their radar.
If you are interested in participating in any of the projects and sharing your experiences, then please get in touch. email@example.com or call me on 07921 879318.
I look forward to hearing from you.
An Update From KC
I’ve been to visit my relatives in Texas this month, and am glad that they are all healthy and safe. As well as trying to keep my family here healthy and safe, I’ve been doing most of my work on the telephone—connecting with service users and asking them if they and their family are safe and healthy. Many are finding online recovery meetings helpful and when asked what kind of support they want for their mental health, so far I’m hearing that people want a way to connect and share and be heard.
Today I finished a report that represents a lot of work undertaken by my colleagues and a half a dozen others as well as service users and workers. Mostly it’s thanks to about fifty service users at our county Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Services, CGL, who gave their time and perspectives to help. We hope all the work that went into this project translates to an even better service for addiction recovery as we go forward.
This picture shows some of what I’ve been working on, with a selection of what’s on my computer screen.
I’ve been asking service users how they are taking care of themselves and if they are doing anything to help anyone else. Since I started asking the question, the situation for all of us has changed regarding isolating. But people are taking care of themselves in many creative ways and helping others, if nothing else, by keeping a safe distance and staying inside. But some are being more creative by ringing and checking others are okay in other ways. I see neighbours talking, but with the 2 metre distance in place. It feels good to connect, even if it’s by making do with the best option we can.
When I haven’t been on the phone, I’ve been communicating with other professionals and members of the addiction recovery communities, learning more about addiction and recovery and I’ve been finding out a lot about online meetings. The Edge Café moved their Monday and Tuesday recovery meetings to phone meetings. I am involved with them for now and I hope they continue to be useful for addiction recovery and unofficial mental health support. Talking real-time (live) with someone else who understands a little about your struggles and shares openly about their own is a cornerstone to addiction recovery. How to do that while remaining physically isolated is a challenge. There are many online services that are used by existing recovery groups, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. All the solutions rely on an internet connection or a telephone line. A good list of addiction recovery services is available on CGL’s Coronavirus page https://www.changegrowlive.org/drug-alcohol-service-cambridgeshire/cambridge lists some and you can search online for more. It’s worth noting that some of us don’t have access to the internet and some don’t have unlimited calls on our phone plans.
Some more online support resources: https://smartrecovery.org.uk/online-meetings/
How we are staying well:
How Lois is staying well:
Inviting these gorgeous rescue bunnies in is helping my mental wellbeing working from home. When they are not chilling on the sofa, they are very nosy and surprisingly destructive. They throw books off shelves and cushions off the sofa, but at least they are litter trained! 😊
How Anne is staying well:
Currently we are all finding ourselves in an unusual position. Having to make changes to our way of life and adapting to living life in a different way but although it is hard and challenging, remember this is not permanent. This is me working from home while my 2 year old son has his lunch!
How KC is staying well:
I’m trying to take care of myself by spending some time away from my phone every day; reflecting on the big picture and having a break from negativity. Then I try to do stuff for other people, which takes my mind off myself just a little bit.
How Vickie is staying well:
I’m staying well by making time for my hobbies, which includes painting, drawing and creating. I’m also catching up on some reading, switching off the news for a few hours a day and doing yoga in my garden so I can get some fresh air – I can’t believe the sun is out now! 😊
How Charlotte is staying well:
I am trying to be more creative so have started drawing and think the best place for me to do that is in my garden. Watching the fish swim around without a care in the world. Listening to the birds singing their happy songs. Taking time out of the stressful day to day life and getting back to nature and appreciating what I have. Having a few evenings a week to pamper myself, do my nails, do a face mask or treat my hair to a deep condition.
If you’re struggling
Keep Your Head is a great resource for all things mental health, and during this difficult time we are doing our best to keep the website up to date with which services are running and where you can go for support in these difficult times.