Monday, 29 October 2012

Ed Miliband speaks about stigma in mental health

Ed Miliband has spoken out about the stigma around mental illness, which he called "a taboo which must be broken." He describes the problem of mental illness in the UK as the "biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age".

The Labour leader has said that he wants patients to have the same legal right to mental health therapies as to physical healthcare.

"There are so many people in Britain today who could be treated but who are intimidated from seeking help. And so many people who need support but... believe that no-one will care.
"For far too long our leading politicians have been far too silent about mental health, part of a taboo running across our society which infects both our culture and our politics.
"It is a taboo which not only blights the lives of millions but also puts severe strain on the funding of our NHS and threatens Britain's ability to pay our way in the world.
Miliband announced the following proposals to improve mental health provision in the NHS:
  • Rewriting the NHS constitution to enshrine patients' legal right to therapies for mental illness
  • Mental health training for all staff
  • Better integration of physical and mental healthcare, and social care
Miliband is setting up a taskforce - led by the chairman of Barts Health NHS Trust, Stephen O'Brien - to draw up a strategic plan for mental health in society.  What is new is that it has at last been recognised that the focus should not be just on government programmes and health services, but on communities, education and the workplace.

This speech has been well received by national mental health charities such as Mind. Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "Mental health is everyone's business".

Rethink Mental Illness praised Mr Miliband for making mental health a priority, particularly improving the training of NHS staff: "As things stand, you can become a doctor having only studied mental health for a few days.

BBC News

Sunday, 28 October 2012

10 interesting facts about the Mental Health Measure

My colleagues have been really busy over the past few weeks finding out what people think about the new Mental Health Vision for Powys. Their report will be out soon, but in the meantime, one thing they flagged up to me was the urgent need for more information about the new Mental Health Measure – which affects how people receive mental health services in Powys from 1 October 2012.

So here are 10 points to get you started:

  1. The Mental Health Measure is law.
  2. If you are experiencing mental distress, you can be assessed, and if appropriate your doctor can now offer you more services to help. These are called primary mental health support services.
  3. If you are referred for a mental health assessment by your doctor, you should receive one in 28 calendar days.
  4. After assessment, you could go to a group session to find out about diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation.
  5. Other options include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), counselling and bibliotherapy (using books to help work through issues), but others will be available if appropriate.
  6. If your doctor refers you for more specialist treatment (called secondary mental health services) you are entitled to have what is called a Care & Treatment Plan – which is all about goals you are working towards.
  7. You will work closely with your care co-ordinator (psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse or social worker), to review the plan at least once a year, and make sure support is in place to help you achieve your goals.
  8. If you have been discharged by the secondary mental health services, but later feel unwell again, you can go back without seeing a GP first if you wish. This applies up to 3 years after your original discharge.
  9. If you are in hospital, whether voluntarily or as a detained patient, you can ask for help from an independent mental health advocate. The advocate will help you make your views known.
  10. All ages are covered by the Mental Health Measure, but for those under 18 the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will also be involved. 

You can find out more about the Mental Health Measure here.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mental Health Patients in Wales Coerced

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales has criticised the support given to mental health patients in Wales, claiming some feel coerced into treatment. It also found outdated consent forms, security breaches and patients not being made aware of their rights. BBC News.

For full report, and interview with Ruth Coombs of Mind Cymru, see BBC website

Dementia - This Could Happen to You - E-Petition

’We, the undersigned, call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to: 
Bring to an end the discrimination against dementia sufferers in Wales who apply for N.H.S. Continuing Care Funding, by allowing for the cognition category of need (known as the ‘domain’) to go up to the level ’Severe’ in the Welsh version of the Decision Support Tool. This would bring it in line with the English version; andii. Direct Local Health Boards to implement the National Framework for N.H.S., Continuing Care Funding correctly in terms of patient eligibility and without regard to budgetary constraints.’

Monday, 15 October 2012

Bring back the mental health inpatient survey

Rethink launches new campaign:

The Jimmy Savile Broadmoor scandal shows how important it is for us to protect vulnerable people on mental health wards. Yet Government has cut the only survey that checks how safe people feel in mental health hospitals. All of us know someone with a mental illness-we need to know our relatives and friends' safety is taken seriously. 

Please commit...

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is Depression: A Global Crisis.

Around 350 million people globally are already affected by depression and the World Health Organisation estimate it will be the single biggest burden of disease in the world by 2030.

Today, the World Federation for Mental Health is promoting the message that: 
  • Depression is a treatable illness and recovery is possible and achievable
  • Depression is not a sign of weakness - it's a mental health disorder that prevents people from having a normal life
  • It's the most predominant and costly mental health challenge for people of working-age 
  • All countries should be aiming to develop resilience to depression 
  • More research into mental health is needed to increase the understanding of mental disorders and develop more effective responses.
The Mental Health Foundation fully supports this campaign and much of our work is helping to achieve and share the same messages. All year round we have the key facts and figures on mental health including depression. We talk with people on social media to increase knowledge and understanding of mental health and how to reduce the associated stigma.

We've developed some really useful resources for today including advice on how to manage your mental health and our Chief Executive Andrew McCulloch has written a blog about the future of Mental Health.

We're also being joined by The Samaritans and Black Dog Tribe in supporting Rethink Your Mind, a national creative project that challenges everyone to produce poems, artwork and photography around the theme of mental health. The entries will be showcased on the Rethink Your Mind website.

Thousands of people all across the UK are marking today by holding a Tea & Talk event - getting together with friends for a chat and and raising money for mental health. However you decide to mark World Mental Health Day we hope you help us to spread the message and join in to help everyone live mentally healthier lives and reduce the stigma around mental health problems.

To join the debate and find out more facts, stories and tips, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

1992-2012 20 Years of Global Mental Health Advocacy

See below for the article by the World Federation for Mental Health about World Mental Health Day:

The survival of any movement or cause is the power it has behind it.   Advocacy is described as the speaking, writing or acting in support of something.  It is action to create change.  
20 years ago Richard Hunter, Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health, came up with an idea to help bring more attention to the global plight of mental health issues – an official day of recognition – World Mental Health Day.  Since 1992 we have seen a simple idea explode into a yearly, world-wide celebration of grassroots advocacy.  World Mental Health Day started with one person’s dream to make a difference and became the world’s best advocacy for mental health reform. 
Today, on our 20th Anniversary - we want to create an extra special WMHDAY!   We need your help to make this happen!  Join us in creating a wave of activity today.  Lets show the world we are unified and powerful and capable of making a huge splash!
You can show your support by joining in the following.....
Go to our website and download the 2012 material today:
Help support the mission of the WFMH and the future of the WMHDAY project by sending us a donation today: 
Visit and "like" us on FACEBOOK today:
Join us on TWITTER today:!/WFMHDC

THIS is the time to show your support!   After 20 years of supporting thousands of people by bringing them WMHDAY  -- we need your voice, your support and your dedication to help us bring another 20 years of mental health advocacy to the world!
Thank you and have a great WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

DIY Futures Project Manager vacancy

Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations, in partnership with Powys Mental Health Alliance, wishes to appoint a Project Manager who wants to make a real difference to the modernisation of mental health services in Powys.

The successful candidate will be able to manage the DIY Futures Project, working as a team and in conjunction with the formal project partners and other relevant organisations.  S/he will also provide line management support to the 4 DIY Co-ordinators based across Powys.


First, do no harm: Confronting the myths of psychiatric drugs

New paper by Phil Barker, University of Dundee, and Poppy Buchanan-Barker, Clan Unity International.  Nursing Ethics 2012.

The enduring psychiatric myth is that particular personal, interpersonal and social problems in living are
manifestations of ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental disease’, which can only be addressed by ‘treatment’ with
psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric drugs are used only to control ‘patient’ behaviour and do not ‘treat’ any
specific pathology in the sense understood by physical medicine. Evidence that people, diagnosed with
‘serious’ forms of ‘mental illness’ can ‘recover’, without psychiatric drugs, has been marginalized by drugfocused research, much of this funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The pervasive myth of psychiatric
drugs dominates much of contemporary ‘mental health’ policy and practice and raises discrete ethical issues
for nurses who claim to be focused on promoting or enabling the ‘mental health’ of the people in their care.

For full paper click here

The staggering cost of eating disorders in England

A newly released report carried out for Beat by a volunteer economist from the charity Pro Bono Economics (PBE) has found an overall estimated cost of £1.26billion per year to the English economy from eating disorders – and could be much higher.
The report sought to form a comprehensive view of the overall costs to society of eating disorders in England, especially amongst young people, and the costs to the NHS, employers and employees.

The report, by economist John Henderson volunteering with PBE, reveals overall healthcare costs estimated at £80-£100m, costs of reduced  GDP up to £2.9bn, and costs of reduced length of life and health up to £6.6bn.

With mental ill health representing up to 23% of the total burden of ill health in the UK, and estimated to double over the next 20 years, the findings of the report demonstrate the severity of the impact of eating disorders on society at large.
For full story see Beat website

WaMH in Primary Care Facebook page

Wales Mental Health Primary Care Network WaMH in Primary Care has launched a Facebook page. If you have any suggestions about the kinds of information you would like them to publicise contact Lesley Hills at

Monday, 1 October 2012

Mental Health - Vision for Powys

Would you like to have your say about the future of mental health services in Powys?

Powys teaching Health Board, working with Powys County Council, and also our team at Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations, has drawn up a draft Vision of how services might look going forward. You can download the draft Vision here.

One of my colleagues, Freda Lacey (left), will be joined by Eleanor Barrow (right) from Powys Mental Health Alliance, to find out what people think over the course of the next fortnight. They will be out and about in the community of Powys seeking feedback on the Vision which will then go back to PtHB. You can download a poster with details of the events in Welshpool, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Talgarth, Brecon and Ystradgynlais here.

We want to make really sure that the Vision is right for Powys, so please get in touch if you would like to contribute but cannot make any of the planned events. You can email Freda - or ring: 01597 822191.