An update from Bev Thornton about Leeds Service User Network, sounds like it was a very lively event…..
I wish to give some information about our SUN in Leeds of which I Chair, as well as an overview of our last SUN (Service User Network) event on the 7th January 2015 where we had Deacon Michael Mkpadi (LYPFT) discussing Spirituality and Recovery in mental health.
The SUN was re-launched in September 2012 and we were then having monthly meetings at Inkwell, our membership has steadily grown which meant we had to find larger more accessible premises. We then moved to St Chad’s function Hall Otley Road. We continue to promote and publicise SUN to have more people attending as we want to hear the service user/carer voice. SUN has become recognised in the Trust and we are now consulted on all policies/practises. A great achievement! We have guest speakers of member’s choice at every event. All new members are welcomed and are encouraged to participate; it is a friendly environment, with refreshments available – you can read about the meetings here.
At SUN we have been involved in a piece of work which identifies important issues, from service users and carers points of view e.g. (Key Messages from SUN). Our Chief Executive Chris Butler has endorsed this. We have also initiated looking at YOU having a say in YOUR CHOICE of mental health worker, changing worker. Donna Kemp responsible for the Care Programme Approach in LYPFT is jointly working with us on this.
The SUN wouldn’t be where it is today without on-going support and contribution of Zara Farshi RASI (Recovery and Social Inclusion Team Manager) and Anne Perry RASI Team Administrator.
In our January 2015 event Deacon Michael Mkpadi was in for a big surprise when he arrived at St Chad’s there were 43 people there all welcoming him and were keen to discuss their individual stories of how their own spiritual beliefs had played a major role in their mental health recovery. We had people with diverse faiths and beliefs even Atheists, yet for those who shared their own story they had utmost respect shown to them. The atmosphere for the event was well in my opinion spiritually Awesome. Michael handed round a form and we collectively completed it asking us about Compassionate Care, in times when we are anxious/in crisis with emphasis on how important certain values rated to us. For example Peace/Joy/Love/Kindness/Laughter was among the list.
This followed a round the table discussion about how we all felt spirituality had aided our personal recovery. There were very moving stories, even people sharing who had attended SUN for the first time. Everyone seemed to feel safe, secure and comfortable as well as knowing what was discussed was all confidential.
The event lasted 20 minutes longer than usual and at the end I was approached by some members to enquire if we could do this again but in an intimate way as they found it to be very uplifting. We intend to invite Deacon Michael Mkpadi to another SUN event later on in the year. So watch this space! You can read more about the impact of spirituality on mental health here.
Our next SUN event is on the 4th February 2015, 12.45pm – 3.00pm at St Chad’s when we will be having a discussion on ‘Increasing service-user involvement in care planning project’. Hope to see you there.
Bev Thornton, Chair
Please contact me know if you require further information tel O113 30 56758; email firstname.lastname@example.org or SUN.email@example.com