Author: Jonathan

Tree of Life team takes top award

tree of life

Life is blossoming for the Tree of Life team (South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, SLaM) following its success at the National Mental Health Positive Practice Awards at the Hilton Hotel, Newcastle. The team won the Diversity and Equality in Service Delivery award and was Highly Commended in the Patient Experience category. The project aims to promote recovery and compassion on wards through growing more positive relationships between staff and service users. In the co-led workshops, service users and staff come together to draw their own tree (a form of ‘narrative therapy’) and create a forest together. The team was set up by Dr Julie Fraser, a clinical psychologist at SLaM who recruited assistant psychologist Laura Williams to train ten service users from the community to co-facilitate the workshops on wards. Maggie Hayes, Ursula Joy and Ubong Akpan have been working on the project since the beginning and run […]

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The Collaborative Borough Wide event 15 December

      The Collaborative will be holding a borough wide event on 15 December 2015 from 10-5pm. The event is open to anyone who is interested in Mental Health Services within Lambeth, whether you are someone who uses services, a carer, citizen of Lambeth, front line staff, voluntary and community sector or a commissioner.    The event will provide an update on the Collaborative workstreams (Living Well Network, Integrated Personalised Support Alliance, SLaM Adult Mental Health redesign). There will also be development workshops taking place on how we grow the Living Well Network through the following areas: 1.    Changing Cultures/Working differently – looking at new ways of working together 2.    Employment – how do we increase employment and vocational opportunities 3.    Crisis out of Hours – what do we do next to further develop options of crisis 4.    Housing – how do we support people to stay in their […]

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Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards 2015

health care

The Lambeth Living Well Collaborative should be proud that its work was recognised in this year’s Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards, says Denis O’Rourke, Commissioner and member of the Collaborative – NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group’s mental health flagship. Denis believes the Collaborative was a strong contender for the Innovation in Mental Health category because, “innovation can be a way forward when services are financially challenged”. This was a sentiment reflected in the opening remarks of HSJ editor Alastair McLellan, at an elaborate award ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on November 18. The awards were a celebration which, “feels all the more important during challenging years”, he said, “an important reminder that, in spite of the difficulties, those working in the health service are dedicated to delivering the best possible care”. The Collaborative nomination was one of 23 categories in what has become the annual celebration of healthcare’s […]

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Carers December dates – book now


There’s lots of interesting events ahead for carers to bring winter cheer in the chilly climes. All you need to do is to call Ruth on 020 7501 8974 at Lambeth Carers Hub if you plan to come to any event below (apart from the advice drop-in, where no booking is necessary). This is so they can cater for the right number of people and send text reminders on the day. What’s on offer? Meditation & Relaxation for families/ friends supporting someone with mental health needs (recent former carers are also welcome) – Wednesday 2 December, 6-8pm in the meeting room at Mosaic (Living Well Partnership) 65 Effra Road, SW2 1BZ. Meditation and relaxation will be 6-7pm led by an experienced practitioner; 7-8pm will be time to talk about your experiences of relaxing and meditating. Advice and information drop in – Thursday 3 December, 1-5pm at 336 Brixton Road, Ground […]

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World Aids Day 2015


December 1 is World Aids Day and residents are again being encouraged to get tested for   HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and to wear a red ribbon, the universal symbol for HIV, uniting with people around the world in the fight against the virus. World Aids Day marks support for the 34 million people worldwide living with HIV and for those 35 million people who have lost their battle against the disease. HIV attacks the body’s immune system and is contracted through infected bodily fluids, most commonly through sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles or syringes. A HIV test – a simple blood test or saliva test can provide essential diagnosis to reduce the risk of serious illness and to stop the spread of the condition. This year the headline from Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group is that with early detection and appropriate treatment “someone living with HIV should […]

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Brixton Reel Film Festival


The pioneering film festival celebrating community mental wellbeing returns to Lambeth with exciting, feel-good FREE events to cheer up November. These include Urban Wotever – a dedicated Black LGBT performance event on Tuesday 10 November at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. On Saturday 14 there is a special free screening and Q&A of the African-Caribbean focused feature Looking for Love (2015) at the Karibu Centre, Brixton. On Sunday 15 we turn up the heat with a Latin American event and screening of salsa dance movie Cuidad Delirio in Spanish with English sub-titles at the Cinema Museum in Elephant & Castle. For more information, online booking and updates click here to check out the website

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The reel recovery story


SLaM (South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust)Recovery College has been captured in a new film. “We hope that, after watching it, you have some inkling of the passion and commitment of our staff and trainers, ” says Kirsty Giles, SLaM Recovery College Manager and Tony Holmes, Operations Manager. “But, more importantly, we hope that it will give you an idea of the positive impact the college is having on the lives of our students. It was shot and directed by Steven Tart and edited by Belal Ladkani. Many thanks to everyone who took part in the making of the film.” You can watch the film here It is also on the homepage of the college website, where you can find out more about the range of fantastic courses on offer click here

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New team leader hails from Spain

Maria,Stephanie and Faith

Though only two years and a half in the UK Maria Gonzalez has had an interesting journey from coffee shop assistant to the new Team Leader of Solidarity in a Crisis. Maria (pictured left) studied psychology in her native Spain, she is from Seville, and had hopes of becoming a clinical psychologist but her journey took her to different places. She became a carer to her father after he suffered a stroke when she was 10, and although it was always challenging things got worse with time. She battled her own depression when this task became overwhelming. “I stopped my Psychology degree for a time (which I managed to finish later and graduate a trained psychologist).” She is committed to volunteering. “I’ve been volunteering my whole life,” she says… Part of her studies included a volunteer internship in hospital acute services. Three years ago Maria, who spoke no English, and […]

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‘Solidarity in a crisis should be 24 hours’


Anna says finding a flyer about Solidarity in a Crisis’ peer support crisis phone line and its links to the community helped her when she was at a low ebb. It was a time when the voices she was hearing were at a bad point and she was desperate. In the past she had phoned the Samaritans, “they do care”, she says, but they don’t have the “depth of understanding”, that she was able to explore with Solidarity in a Crisis (SiaC) peer supporters. Anna, aged 34, found the flyer about SiaC in her GP ‘s surgery and this along with her own insight, has helped her to find coping strategies to get through the worst times. It has helped her to explore more about her diagnosis of schizophrenia (she has experienced two psychotic episodes and was sectioned both times and spent a month in hospital the first time and […]

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Sign up for a Spring course

Rcovery college

“Among other things SLaM Recovery College is for me… along with others I get the chance to expand our vision on what recovery is, should be or will become. I’m a Peer Trainer; designing, planning and facilitating a wide variety of workshops and courses with recovery in mind. I do this with mental health professionals.” Garry Ellison, Peer Trainer “I attended a course, organised by the Recovery College about understanding substance abuse and Mental Health.  It makes me feel better about myself if I can attend and more so if I am able to participate.  On this occasion I was able to.  It also helps me feel more confident to continue and build on these experiences.” Stephen Murphy, Southside Rehabilitation Association (SRA). The eight courses I have done at the Recovery College, as well as support from Carers Hub Lambeth (including a 10-week personal development course through City Lit) have been […]

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‘I probably would have perished if I didn’t come here’

LWN Pano

Kobi-Wan is finding he is scoring more than his football goals since he became a member of Mosaic Clubhouse several months ago. At the recent Living Well Network Open event he was snapping photographs for the Clubhouse’s ‘in the mo’ newsletter, which he has been contributing to. He particularly enjoys reporting on football.. ” I just pick a match and report on it. In the past I did voluntary work as a football coach (he qualified via a course with the Football Association). “I love the goals,” says Kobi-wan, who supports Liverpool and used to be a goalkeeper (he’s ‘in retirement’ now). “I once met Bruce Grobbelaar (former Liverpool player, 1984-1991) at an event at London Weekend Television and I saved a penalty from him; he inspired me.” Kobi-Wan feels Mosaic has helped him turn a corner since he became unwell some four years ago. “It was recommended by my […]

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A peer supporter posts


‘Thinking man in progress’ … That’s the title of the image that illustrates this article, which together with the thoughts below, sketch out the creative thoughts of a peer supporter. The incentive for organisations to encourage and develop peer support is that it simultaneously helps the support worker and those they support. I do find that that mental illness takes so many forms that finding someone with exactly the same struggles as you is unlikely. The positives usually lean more towards the comfort that someone else has been through it and there is less of a barrier when it comes to communicating elements of ourselves that we are perhaps fearful to show to the professionals. For me I don’t find it hard to be open with the professionals so peer support had a slightly different role for me. I spoke to someone with a similar issue to me but who […]

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Means and meaning, my coffee beans cafe:)

Coffee lovers

After the Collaborative breakfast I am moved and inspired by Lucy Ng’s visionary journey to set up the Coffee Lovers Cafe. Lucy explains that since her childhood she has been guided by her grandfather who was a “well know philanthropist in China and helped many people from all walks in life”. “It is my dream to carry on his work,” she says. Lucy graduated as a fashion designer from the University of Arts London, but “hated the industry”. Her life changed when she took up her administrator’s job with Missing Link (Metropolitan) a peer supporter service empowering the lives of people moving on from hospital wards into the community. With Missing Link, Lucy found the added “means and meaning, my coffee beans cafe” “I went through depression myself with three kids alone but didn’t know much of mental health,” says Lucy. “But after Missing Link I made many friends and […]

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Overcoming ‘treading on eggshells’

Roger Oliver Recovery College

Carer Roger Oliver recounts below the journey to shape and deliver a new course for carers I heard about coaching skills as a potential tool for SLaM (South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust) staff when helping their clients in their recovery about seven years ago when the “Refocus on Recovery” Research Project began. I thought then that this skill would benefit carers too, especially when the only skill I had learnt through the caring experience was “How to tread on eggshells” and avoidance when dealing with someone with a mental health problem who was either in crisis or not having a good day. I then heard that the Eating Disorders Service was involving and training carers in motivational interviewing at a Scientific Conference in Cambridge. I thought then that coaching could be a potential skill for the carer’s “life” toolkit and that something could be developed for carers in […]

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Garry shares a night of Solidarity


“I think the Evening Sanctuary has real potential and is useful to those who still struggle in the community with on-going mental and emotional challenges,” says Garry Ellison, Solidarity in a Crisis peer supporter, who facilitates a  Paranoi and Beliefs Group at the sanctuary on Thursday nights. He also does ad-hoc shifts “when a colleague of mine is unable to; she is the designated Solidarity in a Crisis peer supporter there.” Garry is also the brainchild of Recovery in Action, a project that aims to “reduce the social isolation experienced by people with mental health issues, living within our inner city communities”. Below he talks about his experiences at the sanctuary. ‘On one shift I did there our team worked with a young lady who presented at Kings A &E She was, in her own words, feeling suicidal and had to a degree lost all hope. Initially the two front […]

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‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’

mrs motive

“As a little girl my grandfather told me there is no such thing as a secret,” says Sandra who has recently taken on a peer supporter post with a new A&E initiative. “He said, that for something to be a secret, you would have to dig a hole, put your head in it, say your secret then cover it,” she adds. “I like my journal as it represents that hole, a safe place to express myself. As a Journal Writing Facilitator I now share this with others.” Below Sandra shares excerpts from her journal I believe that we are all Peer Supporters…  I wasn’t aware that what I had been doing most of my life, actually had a label. Helping people with their problems is not just the work of professionals, being a ‘people-helper’  is something I have always been. From handling feelings of bitterness and frustration, depression and insecurity, […]

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‘It really is a sight to see’


Why Mosaic matters to Matt  A warm and calmly lit front room with a bookshelf, bean-bags, sofa, a deep-pile rug and a hot drink sitting on the coffee table. It sounds nice doesn’t it? Well, it’s exactly what welcomes people who use the new Evening Sanctuary (a Lambeth Living Well Collaborative venture) based at Mosaic Clubhouse, hosts of the Living Well Partnership. Those who turn up at A&E, unable to cope in the evenings have the opportunity to be referred to the sanctuary in Brixton and have a chat to support workers as well as peer supporters who have lived experience of mental illness. When I first heard about the evening sanctuary I was on board straight away. It was just another example of how services in Lambeth are working together for the benefit of people suffering with mental ill-health. The evening starts at 6pm and runs up till 2am. […]

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