A digital place for people who access services, carers, staff and partner agencies, to share ideas around care co-ordination & care planning in mental health

Posts tagged ‘recovery’

Creative Practitioners hosting free Wellbeing Event in Leeds

I have been hearing a lot about the new Creative Practitioners at Aire Court lately; I harangued Zellany to write a blog post about the new role and about a drop in session on the 22nd of June……..

Hi all

I’ve not written a blog piece before, so I am hoping you will bear with me and not get too bored before the end.

It was about writing a piece to explain my new role and who I am! I have recently gained employment with LYPFT in February this year as a Creative Practitioner. There are two of us based with the South CMHT in Leeds….so we are a rare breed indeed!

Before I get started! I would like to draw your attention a FREE drop-in wellbeing event that is taken place on the 22nd June at BITMO Gate, Belle Isle. It runs from 10am until 12.30pm.

zellany

The event is open to the community as a whole and professionals alike. The idea is to try to create independence and empower users of secondary services to link up with community based organisations. This is as part of a sustainable discharge and recovery from Community Mental Health Team. It will be a drop-in, so can come and go as people wish. The idea is to promote positive mental wellbeing and hopefully help reduce stigma which may exist in the locality. It will also support in promoting social inclusion, enabling people to take an active role in maintaining their mental health and general wellbeing. A map can be found here.

The wellbeing event is open to the whole community in the South of the City. The event is being organised by my colleague, Minja and me. The organisations who have so far agreed to participate are:

It will also be an opportunity for you to meet Minja and me!

I terms of my background, I have worked as statutory social worker for the past 6 years based within a Community Mental Health Team in Bradford. I can honestly say that I have occasionally felt like a square peg trying to fit in to a round hole. This has at times created friction and tension between my own value base with the needs and agenda of the service I had worked for.

My values have always been about putting the client/service user at the centre of care planning, in terms of collaborative working to advocate in obtaining an individualised bespoke support package. I have my feet firmly planted in the social model rather than the medical model of mental health; our mental health is shaped by our experiences and our environments.

Austere times are making it much harder for services to meet people’s needs. There are reduced budgets and smaller teams of people, this has forced the whole system to look at its processes and having to work leaner and smarter. Organisations have to justify their service delivery through outcome measures. I feel that these measures do not at times reflect the outcomes users of services visualise for themselves.

Recovery is an individual journey with personal and individual goals. These goals come from our own set of values and experiences. So when I saw the role of Creative Practitioners advertised, I spoke with my now two enthusiastic Managers and I was sold by their visualisation and their recovery oriented and social model views with regards to mental health and wellbeing; it fits with my own values! The role is something that my colleague and I can develop and mould overtime. Hopefully we will have a positive impact on service delivery and new ways of working……what an opportunity!

In essence the Creative Practitioners role is about supporting people to move on from secondary mental health services in terms of a sustainable discharge. We are working in a creative and innovative manner, developing relationships with Care Coordinators and their clients. We have also been building links in with the voluntary sector services. I feel it is about looking at ways of building on a person’s resilience and strengths, to take control of their own recovery through empowerment.

Within a short space of time, my colleague and I have developed links with agencies and organisations across Leeds. These agencies are providing various levels of community support and activities that promote health and wellbeing. We have sought views from users of services through Leeds Involving People. We have attended local events that support the process of shaping how mental health care and wellbeing is delivered within the City. The landscape is being transformed and the service user movement’s voice certainly has a place and a big impact on how things will change. Leeds has a variety of ways of involving people to participate and get their voice heard such as through Leeds Involving People, Service User Network, Leeds Healthwatch and Patient Advice Liaise Service as well as through various voluntary sector services e.g. Mind’s Peers Support and Touchstone.

We Creative Practitioners have developed group work to facilitate a step down approach from services. It is hoped that those attending will recognise their strengths and build on their resilience. They will be supported to develop a wellbeing and crisis plan. This is hoped it will empower those being discharged to become independent of secondary services and feel able to take control of their recovery; mental health services are only part of that journey to recovery.

What I have found so far with regard to working for LYPFT, is that the team is supportive, progressive and forward thinking. The CMHT management team have been willing to listen to and run with ideas; this is certainly not in a maverick way. Despite such austere times, I feel it is an exciting moment to be involved in mental health services. I feel there is a decrease in the divide; users of services are able to get involved and have their say in shaping how services will be delivered, this is the spirit of true co-production. I am certainly feeling hopeful!

If you require further information regarding the wellbeing event or queries about our role, then please do not hesitate to contact me Zellany.neal@nhs.net or my colleague minja.lintunen@nhs.net

 

 

New Mental Health Recovery Group

Here, Elaine Wilkes, Carers Education Worker writes about a new group to support people in Leeds:

I am really excited this morning along with my colleague Lokhi Roy!  We both work as part of Leeds Carers and stated a new group last night based on Mental Health Recovery!

recovery header

The group runs at Vale Circles once every two weeks from 5.30pm-7pm.  It is based on a group that has been running at Lovell Park for five years. Click here for the dates and venue details.

So why the excitement?  Well I experience depression and this is a group where anyone can come along if they have an interest in mental recovery.  This is:

  • Workers
  • People who have mental health problems
  • Carers
  • Anyone who is a combination of all the above

The group focuses on:

  • Hope that recovery can happen
  • Looking at things in a positive way
  • Knowing we experience negative things but looking at the type of things we do to overcome these

My dad died last March and I went to the Lovell Park  group  the week after his funeral.  I was ok but still at times tearful.  A member of the group mentioned railways (which my Dad loved) and I could feel myself becoming tearful.  I did not feel the need to hide the tears but talked about being upset by his death.  This led to other people talking about how they had overcome difficult things including deaths of people close to them.  I went away from that group feeling supported and more positive.  We also talked about techniques that can help all us cope at tough times

My hope for the Vale Circles Recovery Group is that we can develop a safe place where anyone feels comfortable to talk about things that are emotional and hard.  For me the key thing is we don’t stop there but focus on hope, how we can overcome pain and techniques to help all us of do this.

I don’t think it matters whether someone is a service user, carer or worker or all of these.  What matters to me is that we are people  and we all have things that are hard.  This group is about overcoming these things but also have fun and humour along the way.

If you would like further information about these sessions or to book yourself a place please contact 0113 85 54445 and ask for Elaine Wilkes or Lokhi Roy.

Spirituality & Recovery Event

Guest post from Bev:

Service User Network meet monthly. It is for people who are or who have accessed LYPFT services within the past 12 months, including carers.

In January 2015 we had Reverend Michael Mkpadi attend to discuss Spirituality and Recovery. We all completed a Compassionate Care survey, to score from a list of values their importance, when people are unwell; here are the top themes:

sun dec 2015Love

Being accepted

Trust

Safety

Compassion

Peace

Patience

Kindness 

The event in January was well attended, over 40  people were there. It was a very inspirational interactive discussion, where all  people shared their own spiritual experiences. Everyone’s feedback was extremely positive and they requested this session should be repeated again. You can read the testimonials here

I wish to advertise  16th December SUN meeting (see poster above) where  we will again be  discussing with Michael Mkpadi Spirituality and Recovery. I hope to see many new faces there. If you wish to find out more information please contact the Chair Bev Thornton, details on the poster.

Thanks

 

Exciting Start to 2015 for Recovery Service

It’s been an exciting but fast-paced start to 2015, For those of us in Rehabilitation and Recovery Services over at Asket Croft/House.

As you may remember from our previous post introducing ourselves as the new Recovery Centre partnership team, and outlining the planned changes to R&R services, things had been building here at Asket in the lead up to Christmas, culminating in the big ‘moving week’ from 5th January. On this date, the Millside R&R inpatient unit closed its doors and, with the help of lots of vans and plenty of extra staff on hand, service users were supported in moving to their new homes on either the new Asket Croft ward, or the more independent Asket House ward. The following day, the same happened at the Towngate unit, meaning by Wednesday both the Croft and House were fully operational.

It wasn’t just our service users who were moving though. The closing of Millside and Towngate has also meant that existing inpatient staff who had been working on these units have also moved bases and teams, coming together to get to know their new colleagues and find their feet on new wards – as well as getting to know ourselves in the Recovery Centre team and finding out more about what our role will be alongside working alongside them. It has been a challenging but exciting period of change for all, with lots to work out as the teams with existing ways of working have all merged – whether that’s where to have handover or where to put plates in the kitchens!

road to recoveryAt the Recovery Centre not much changed in our office that week, but there were certainly many memorable afternoons spent putting our moving and handling training to full use, moving LOTS of old boxes, whiteboards, bits of furniture and mini fridges around the site that had arrived direct from Millside and Towngate, supporting the inpatient staff with practical issues to ensure things went as smoothly as possible. Sorting through the boxes was certainly quite a big job as we went through a wealth of old files, service information, CDs, books – even discovering a fetching top hat along the way. It also meant that we were also able to meet service users for the first time and support them in some unpacking which was very valuable, however. At times it may have felt quite overwhelming for all involved, but it was mostly quite exciting to get stuck in and see the move in action!

During the last few weeks since the move, the Recovery Centre team have continued with much of the same work as we had started before Christmas, becoming involved with the Croft and House at a gradual pace to allow the inpatient staff to find their feet in their new teams and develop relationships with service users first and foremost. We have started attending ward rounds, handovers and the service users’ Your Views meeting to introduce ourselves, and have felt welcomed. Some of the care coordinators within our team have even begun new assessments. As with the start of any brand new team – particularly what with the LYPFT and 3rd sector partnership working that we have taking place in our team – there have been practical issues to solve too, for example how will we use PARIS as a team and where will we record our notes? Which care coordinator will supervise which recovery worker? How can the third sector staff ensure they keep strong links with their parent organisations in this partnership? Where exactly do we keep our tea and coffee?

There may have been a few bumps in the road, but we are looking forward to the next few months now things look clearer and as we start to undertake more and more clinical work. We have also been joined by a new Leeds Mind recovery worker this week, James, and will also be joined by another recovery worker from Touchstone in the coming weeks, and this has given us a great opportunity to reflect on the journey of our team so far. Now that the all-important allocations meeting for care coordinators has taken place, it really feels like we can really get going soon.

Now to look to March and beyond…

by Jude Taylor, Recovery Worker

Follow us @leedsmhrecovery

Recovery Centre at LYPFT – its here!

In this post, Charlotte and the rest of the team tell us about the service and the new team………..

Introducing the Recovery Centre

It’s been an exciting few months here at the new Recovery Centre, based at Asket Croft in Seacroft, as our new partnership team prepares to welcome service users onto the two new Rehabilitation and Recovery inpatient units following a review of our existing R and R service structure over the last 18 months. The redesign of the service has been put in place to provide more of a focus on rehabilitation and recovery into the community, rather than just on inpatient care. There are 2 R and R inpatient units both based on the Asket site in Seacroft, 1 supported and 1 independent (hoping to be similar to a therapeutic community), in addition to the opening of the Recovery Centre partnership team – us! – who will also be based on this site.
One of the most exciting and important aspects of our team at the Recovery Centre is that we are a partnership of workers from LYPFT, Leeds Mind, Community Links and Touchstone, coming together to share our individual skills and diverse levels of experience to ensure we can offer a range of support for service users as we aim to empower them to become more independent. Bringing together workers from LYPFT with workers from third sector organisations is an exciting opportunity, but as the team is brand new, it has meant we’ve all needed a few weeks to get to know each other and establish our new team, as well as set out our core values and aims.
The Recovery Centre team itself consists of care co-ordinators and recovery workers, some of whom started straight away at Asket Croft, others spending time within their parent organisations – for example, working in the Leeds Mind peer support service. The team will also be working with consultants, psychologists and social workers. The full team finally came together in person however at the start of December, with a full week of teambuilding and training, with the prospect of service users moving onto the Asket site from 5th January.
team building2Teambuilding was a particularly important part of our induction, mainly as we were coming together from a range of places to work in a brand new service, with a range of expectations, ideas and questions. A full first day hosted by Community Links gave us the chance to get to know each other and where we had all come from, as well as a chance to begin to discuss our team values and aims, leading to further discussion on these as the induction week progressed, encouraging us to begin to think about how we can as both individuals and teams make them grow. It was clear from early on in our induction that we all share core values of recovery, service user involvement and ensuring our approach is fully person-centred, keeping in line with our ultimate aim of empowering service users and supporting them to become more independent. It wasn’t all just flipchart work either – we had plenty of teambuilding activities and icebreakers, and arguably one of the most enjoyable parts of our induction week was a teambuilding trip to York, visiting the Christmas markets and getting to know each other a little more outside of the office environment!
As the Recovery Centre is brand new, training opportunities within our induction have also given us the chance to begin to develop our own best practice guides and policies, based on our core team values and aims. We have been able to discuss and explore potential opportunities for service user involvement at all levels of the service and involving service users throughout the care pathway – for example, involving service users in the recruitment of staff, or guiding service users in co-facilitating group sessions and workshops in the community to develop their own skills. We have also been able to develop our own Recovery Centre policies on boundaries and sharing experience (important as some workers within the team bring their own personal lived experience to their work with a peer support approach), and on how we will deliver Care Programme Approach (CPA) and how service users can be more involved in the CPA process themselves, potentially even leading their own CPA review meetings if comfortable.
Another large part of our induction was becoming more comfortable with and knowledgeable about each organisation in the partnership, and visiting other local community-based services and resources as our work will be a mixture of in-reach onto the inpatient units and outreach into the community. This has ranged from chatting to each other about our backgrounds and parent organisations, to more structured sessions, such as a workshop on peer support from Leeds Mind, led by staff and volunteers, and a visit to Touchstone and their community support team. The R and R psychology team who will be working with us delivered a session on formulation and how it will apply to our work, and our consultant psychiatrists also led a discussion on the work of medics within R and R, which was important in ensuring everyone was on the same page with regards to roles within the team.
All in all, our team induction has been a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting time – and we look forward to beginning our work with service users in a few weeks’ time!
(Follow us on Twitter at @LeedsMHRecovery)

York Service User Network

sun. novThe York Service User Network started in September 2014 and now meets monthly. The next meeting is on Friday 28th November at 1.15 and is at a new venue on Friargate. The meetings are relaxed and informal, the first half hour is devoted to welcoming people and sharing a cuppa. There is an agenda and this month there will be a discussion about Recovery, followed by a Q & A session. Some time will be put by to discuss the coming year and what the group would like to be included on the agenda. Everyone is welcome!

 

 

Safety Planning – a risky business?

Lynne Maskill is LYPFT’s CPA and Risk Trainer, as an occupational therapist with a clinical background in Mental Health, Lynne talks about safety and risk and poses some pertinent questions about current challenges…..

Understanding someone’s risk and helping people keep safe is a key part of working with people in mental health services. Developing and agreeing a risk management plan with the person, and where possible with carers is central, not forgetting, who is responsible for what, what helps and what does not.  So, all straight forward in terms of good practice and sounding like a risk trainer?LM wordle

But actually to what extent are practitioners actually sharing the plans with people they are about?  How do risk management plans connect with care plans and crisis plans? Some practitioners have said to me that a risk management plan tends to be more service focused, letting staff know what they need to do to prevent or minimise harm, whereas a well-developed crisis plan is a way of helping the person using services manage their distress or increase in symptoms. Is this also not about safety, reduction in harm, risks in relapse?  Furthermore how do crisis plans fit with wellness and recovery action plans?  … and advance statements?

I could go on but  the point I am getting to is, are we making things too complicated? How do we plan and document how we are working with people around safety in a way which is meaningful and as inclusive as possible to the person , supports recovery, lets staff know what they need to do and how best to help  ……….and if possible reduce time at a computer?

 

Planning Care Checklist

Planning Care Checklist

Join the conversation here.

Access to peer support ………. inadvertent gatekeeping?

“Have you been given information by NHS mental health services about getting support from people who have experience of the same mental health needs as you?”

This is one of the NEW questions in this years National NHS  Community Mental Health Service User Survey. The focus is about people having been given information about getting what is termed ‘peer support’ – support from people who have lived experience of mental health issues.  There is lots of information about peer support to be found on-line, for example – Together for Mental Wellbeing, Mental Health Foundation and Centre for Mental Health.  And there is information about where you can access peer support locally, for example in York, or in Leeds.

This information being available to people in a number of ways is better – having a discussion about it, accessible leaflets etc. Better still is people routinely being supported by peer support workers. This is where the conversation moves away from vanilla:

  • Access to peer support workers in mental health teams. Fab, but how do we ensure this is equitable, how does everyone get the chance of this?  A referral system within a team can be helpful but can highlight some interesting things.  Speaking with a peer support worker it became apparent that the same care coordinators refer for peer support work and the same ones don’t. There could be a number of explanations for this, and I am sure it couldn’t be that some care coordinators don’t value peer support work or working in a recovery/wellbeing orientated way, that they are not choosing whats best for someone rather than offering choice and are not inadvertently gatekeeping and creating power differentials. So we must look to alternative explanations.
  • Could it be said that most people have some lived experience of mental health issues, through their own life experiences or through that of their family and friends? If so, then people are routinely being supported by peer support workers. Mission accomplished, box ticked. But this is not quite right, this is hitting the target but missing the point. It diminishes the experiences of people with mental health issues.
  • Should recruitment to all posts actively encourage people with lived experience? Perhaps this is already happening but what about choice?  Should people have to disclose their lived experience, and if they don’t will they be discriminated against in selection?
  • Peer support on Social Media? – whatever next! An alien concept to some, but there is ever-growing peer support on social media channels.  People regularly blog, Tweet and Facebook about what’s going on for them and its reciprocal. The support offered is pretty immense.  It bypasses the ‘referral’ stage and is instant. A beginner’s guide to Twitter should help if you are working up to Tweeting.
  • The influence of National Survey’s in changing practice.  The benefits of using approaches that support recovery and wellbeing are well established and backed by research.  The National Survey results will tell us what people accessing services are experiencing, are folk being given information about accessing peer support – or not. The question creates a standard and measure.  The danger is of it providing a minimum standard, I would not want to see the current provision of  ‘in-house’ peer support reduced based on a standard of providing information only.

People currently accessing mental health services are future peer support workers, the eco-system of peer support. Often people want to share what they  have learned along the way, want to give something back, want to achieve their ambitions and goals. People  understand that they have a unique view of living with mental health issues, that they are ‘experts by experience’  rather than an  ‘expert by education’. Perhaps a blend of both is often where we find ourselves at?

 

 

My Employment Peer Support Journey

This inspirational story highlights how a blend of support can help people set a new course and how volunteering can bring new opportunities too. The peer support eco-system!

WorkPlace Leeds

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This blog has been written by one of our Job Retention Service clients who went on to access our Employment Peer Support Service, here’s what she has to say about her expeiences:

“My journey with WorkPlace Leeds at Leeds Mind began at the end of August last year when I had been off work with work related stress for 5 months. I was anxious, fearful, I felt I was a failure and I had lost all my confidence and believed I was of very little worth. The thought of returning to work filled me with dread, even though it was the goal I set myself. My first meeting with my job retention worker, Rosana was emotional, but I immediately felt listened to and supported. Through my retention worker, I began to appreciate and understand my mental health, identify negative triggers and become aware of how I had reached my crisis…

View original post 903 more words

Volunteers with lived experience wanted in South Leeds

Hi,

My name is Michelle Wood, I work as the admin manager at Aire Court Community Unit in Middleton Leeds. My role is to ensure a good standard of admin support is provided to our clinical and medical team.

During my time here I have seen how the clinical and medical team’s involvement has made a difference to people who experience Mental Health difficulties; it’s great to see how people progress, recover and get on with their lives.

Part of people’s wellbeing and recovery can be having a purpose and activity in their lives. For some this is about working, education or training, for others it’s about getting involved in hobbies and interests, filling the day with things they enjoy doing. As part of this, we are looking at how we can involve volunteers at Aire Court.

Aire Ct

At present we have a large reception area that has lots of potential. We would like to see this area being used creatively, a place to provide information, where people can find out about some of the things that might support their wellbeing and recovery in their local area – for example leaflets on gardening groups, coffee mornings, fishing, walking groups, art groups. It would be great to hear more about people’s experience of the care, support and treatment they receive at Aire Court, we could gather this in a number of ways and respond in the way we deliver the service. , We would also like to offer tea and coffee to people coming to the unit for their appointment. Overall, we want to promote a community feel to the reception.

We are looking for people to volunteer some of their time to develop the reception area. Ideally, you would be able to provide some time regularly and together, with other volunteers, you would develop the reception area.

Who are we looking for? It’s important that you have or have had some lived experience of mental health difficulty. If this is you and you want to get involved in volunteering, then contact me by email michelle.wood7@nhs.net to express your interest and we can have a discussion about it.

Many thanks

 

 

 

Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat – have your say in Leeds

crisis care concordat

Information for people accessing services and carers about CPA


cpa-logo

Care Programme Approach (CPA) is the term used to describe the way that a person’s care, support and treatment is arranged when they have a range of needs.  This is done through assessment, coordination, care planning and review.  Some people will have straightforward needs; their care, support and treatment are described as ‘Standard Care Plan’.  You can read our policy: The Trust Wide Care Programme Approach Policy (including arrangements for Standard Care Plan) here.

Information for people accessing services and carers about CPA

1735_DSC_0245_scrabble_recoveryThe single most important thing about CPA is that you should be at the centre; it’s about you; it’s about what you want to do with your life; about what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. This may involve support, care and treatment from others – people that support you, carers, your friends, family, it may also include mental health services, health services, social care, and other organisations near where you live. Some people also get support from others going through similar difficulties – this is often called ‘Peer Support’. You can access peer support in a number of ways, for example, Mind, local groups or online support.

 

There are four stages to CPA:-

1. Assessment
You will be asked questions about aspects of your life and past, for example: personal; health; social;  about your safety (this is sometimes called risk); about what you enjoy doing; about what you do to help manage; about anyone else all ready involved in your care and support, including any carer. Carers can have their own assessment.

 2. Care Coordination

A care coordinator will be named to work closely with you and your carer to arrange care and support and to work with you to agree goals.
3. Care Plan
This describes your health and social care goals.  The care plan says which services will help with recovery and wellbeing; and what you do to help too.

The care plan is about you. It is developed with you and includes your goals; what support is being offered; who is giving the support and when the support will be reviewed.  The carer will be included too if you want this.

You may write the care plan yourself, or write it with your co-ordinator, either way, you should have a copy of your care plan.

4. Review
These are sometimes called CPA meetings; they happen at least every 12 months but can be more often. This is where the care plan is reviewed.  This is done by discussing with you, your carer (with agreement) and any others involved in your care plan about what is working well and what may need to be changed to support your recovery and wellbeing. The review is usually held in a way that you prefer – for example, some people prefer more of a relaxed discussion with their co-ordinator, others prefer a full meeting with everyone involved present.

Have you recently had a review? If so, let us know how this was for you by completing a brief survey (12 questions) – click here for more information and the survey. Results tell us what we are doing well and where we need to improve.


Standard Care Plan

If you have straightforward needs and are seen by one mental health worker then your care, support and treatment is described as ‘Standard Care Plan’.

You can expect:

  • A lead professional identified – this will be the person that you see
  • A letter – this is the care plan
  • Review – this is a chance to talk about how things are going and any further care plan agreed.

More written information

Click here for an information leaflet about CPA

Click here to read an information booklet on CPA – for people in Leeds

Click here to read an information booklet on CPA – for people in York and North York

These booklets are also available in Urdu, Farsi, Czech and Polish – contact donna.kemp@nhs.net for these.

Want to get involved and keep up to date about what’s going on?

blog title jpegThe LYPFT Planning Care Network is a digital space for people who access services, carers/supporters, staff and partner agencies to share their ideas and experiences around care coordination and care planning.  Click here to visit the network; you are most welcome to post comments and to share your views and experience. If you want to write your own blog post, then contact donna.kemp@nhs.net to discuss.

SUN logoYou can also join the Service User Network – they meet monthly in a range of venues across Leeds; click here for more information.

 

If you require any further information regarding CPA or Standard Care Plan then please contact donna.kemp@nhs.net

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Pathways to Recovery: Service User & Carer led research, a carers view

Service User Led Research ‘Is there a pathway to recovery through care coordination?’ was presented at a recent CPAA event  – click here to read more about this event. This emancipatory research was designed and conducted by people with lived experience of mental health difficulties and carers.

This research supports recovery in a number of ways – for example, personal recovery and wellbeing; hope, inspiration and aspiration for others; contributing to the evidence base for recovery. This is a positive story that should be shared…… Caroline Kemp (no relation 🙂 ) agreed to write about her experience as a carer & researcher; and shares a poem about coding…….

Pathways to Recovery..how and why I got involved..

The last few years have been very rewarding for me…the path has been very stimulating and has been a big learning curve.

My background has been in mental health as I have cared for my daughter for over 16 years. She has enduring and severe mental health problems..her path has been very tough and witnessing this battle is also equally as tough..too much anxiety and panic. .and also the fact that no meds seemed to be of any help..just lots of dreadful side effects…as a mum and a Carer you expect or try to fix things..I always thought things would be better if only we could find the right meds…I tried to read as much as I could so I could help..I thought in the early days I would fix it..and my daughter would not suffer needlessly for years…

When I first heard of the research into pathways to recovery through care coordination I felt strongly I wanted to be a part in it..( I had had plenty of experience of Care Coordination..not all positive ) The reasons were mixed..on one hand they were purely selfish..if there was any hope of finding recovery I had to know it.. I wanted to have some hope…the other reason was to make things better for everyone in anguish and torment..I think this is also why people do research in the first place..to make things better.. I had seen too many people abandoned on the acute wards without a single visitor.  Also our research group were chosen because of their expertise and life experience..there was no formal academic requirement..another strength was we were a mix of service users, Carers and professionals.  We had multiple perspectives and this made out research even better science. Also I knew from the way this research was done we would play a full part in doing it..at all levels ..it would not be a tick box exercise.

C Kemp poem

At Northumbria we were given excellent training on research up to PhD level ..so this gave our group the confidence to do all the interviews..Carers  interviewing Carers and S U interviewing S U…in all the interviews this has made a difference to our data as people related to us and disclosed more of their true feelings..perhaps this was because we had shared journeys and paths. We developed questionnaires, piloted them, and refined them.

After hearing all these stories I cannot help being amazed at human resilience in the face of terrible tough times and challenges..

Not only did we interview but we also did data analysis ..I never thought I would be able to do this but after all our training I had the confidence to sign up for it..it certainly sharpened our interviewing skills and kept us on task on answering the research project question..not just collecting hours of data. I also learned a whole new vocabulary …Nvivo and nodes…parent ones too..

I have been part of this research for over three years now and I have had many highlights..

What I loved was meeting every Wednesday and analysing the data; keeping a reflective diary and writing poems around recovery..I have been published in an American journal; doing many Carer interviews and sharing people’s life stories; being asked to present at conferences, INVOLVE and to the Trust; talking to students at Northumbria on our research; I also did a short video diary for NIHR ( National Institute of Health Research ) this has been used to train students too; and have been interviewed twice on the radio! At the INVOLVE conference our group was selected to be in a film also. It has been very exciting. We have been brave enough to step outside of our comfort zone.. And it has been well worth it. It has been part of our recovery too..that is being engaged in something meaningful and the added bonus of being for the benefit of others.

Caroline kemp

Presenting at St James

At the moment we are preparing our next three conferences on the findings to the trust and developing a toolkit. Also we have been asked to write about our journey and how we did it..not only academic papers but also a book..so we have a lot to do.

But this is how I like it and I think I speak for others in the group too..we will be sad when it ends..however I think when you do become involved it always leads to many other things..jobs for some, enhanced skills..now we are a trained group of researchers and can offer our own training and experience to others…

I am glad I have been valued as a Carer and service users in the group are also glad that their mental health experiences have been recognised and valued and able to be of benefit to others on the pathway to recovery.

It gave me hope things could be different and I would encourage everyone to become involved in research ..you do not have to have a degree..just valuable life experience. And empathy ..and a willingness to work and share together and learn from each other. It was great being part of a team.

Caroline Kemp

St Vincent’s – supporting people away from poverty

I was struck by the work that St Vincent’s are doing in the community and the potential for bringing real benefit to people who need it; supporting people in getting on with their lives through providing advice, education and counselling and then presenting the opportunity to give back/participate through volunteering or donating food. This brings a real community feel that supports recovery and wellbeing;  I hope people will tap into this.  I asked if they would be willing to share the news with LYPFT Planning Care Network about what they are up to; and Kim kindly wrote a guest blog:

St Vincent’s has been supporting people living in poverty for 18 years. We are a centre of help, hope and opportunity, with a commitment to offering vulnerable people the tools to come out of debt, back into work and away from poverty. Operating from one of the 1% worst areas nationally for deprivation, we are working at grassroots level with those living on the edge of society.

Our holistic services include free debt advice, education, volunteering, counselling and employability support. All of our services are responsive to the needs of the people that we serve. As a part of our debt advice service, we saw a lot of people who were choosing between buying food and paying essential bills. We also saw a lot of families that were struggling with parents going hungry so their children could eat. We responded to this by giving our clients food parcels to get them through a difficult period.

Our volunteering programme at St Vincent’s is different to other charities as we take on and train people regardless of their background and abilities. This means we offer a supported volunteering pathway which gives people with mental health problems and physical disabilities a chance of work experience. The majority of our volunteers are vulnerable people being supported by us.

With the support of donations from church groups, we were able to expand this service by offering the parcels externally. This has now grown to the point that we are one of the key points of contact for people in need of food.

Did you know we are unlike regular food banks? We offer one-off emergency food parcels to help people during an unexpected crisis. All of our food comes from generous donations from individuals, churches, and other organisations so we can only help people in real need.

st vincents worker

Our service works on referrals from professional agencies in Leeds. Agencies such as doctors, support workers and debt advisors can refer a client to us. The client must be destitute and we ask that this service is used as a last resort, when all other available support has been accessed.

Have you ever been in a crisis or known of someone who has? We can help with just one phone call. Last week a support agency in Leeds asked us to help a gentleman they were working with who had not eaten for 3 days due to receiving no benefits. They phoned around to get help but no other agency could help as he was single. Other agencies will only help families but we understand that support needs to be flexible and that there is no one size fits all solution when providing help for people. The gentleman was delighted with the support and was offered help with his debts and benefits advice. The agency said ‘As social workers we often have to deal with society’s most desperate cases; it’s good to know places like St Vincent’s exist’.

We accept referrals by telephone Monday – Friday from 10:00 – 11:30.  If the client qualifies for a food parcel, it can be collected the same or next day from 11:30 – 13:00. All referrals must be done over the phone as we need to check the clients’ details with the agency to ensure we are helping the people who need it most.

Would you help us by donating food to help people in need? We gratefully accept donations of store cupboard food including tins, jars, pasta, cereal and long life milk. We also need toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste.

By donating food you are helping vulnerable people in Leeds who may have no other means of accessing food and this is their last resort, whether it be families, single people or the elderly every food parcel will ensure they eat for a couple of days until they get themselves back on their feet.

There is also the option of ‘giving back’ through donation to St Vincent’s:

http://localgiving.com/charity/stvincentsleeds

Thanks from everyone here at St Vincent’s for all your support.

You can follow St Vincent’s on Twitter @StVincentsLeeds

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