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Archive October 2018

A hundred and twenty organisations have supported an open letter the government calling on the chancellor to put children at the heart of spending plans ahead of next Monday’s budget.

Anna Freud, the National Children’s Bureau and Young Minds are among those backing a letter directed to Philip Hammond and Prime Minister Theresa May.

There is “compelling evidence that the services and support that children and young people rely on are at breaking point,” they write.

“We believe this is because children and young people are being ignored in the Government’s spending plans.”

Various evidence is referenced:

• Less than a third of children and young people with a diagnosable mental health problem will get access to NHS funded treatment this year
• Only three in a hundred families of disabled children think the health and care
services available to their children are adequate
• Almost three-quarters of school leaders expect they will be unable to balance their budgets in the next financial year
• The number of children with special educational needs who are awaiting provision has more than doubled since 2010
• Ninety children are being taken into care every day
• Up to three million children are at risk of going hungry during school holidays

The Government pledged an extra £20.5 billion to the NHS to mark it’s 70th birthday this year.

Mental health will become a mandatory part of primary and secondary school education in England and Wales from September 2020.

Find out the key points in the government’s draft plans and take a ten question survey to tell us what you’d like the new syllabuses featuring mental health to look like:

Teach Me Well Survey

Source: Mental Health Today

Islington Mind will be celebrating Black History Month and World Mental Health Day with an event at the Mind Hub on Friday 2 November.

Click here for details.

Outcome, our LGBTQ+ service, will be holding its annual open day on Tuesday 30 October. 

Click here for details.

The Business Design Centre will be hosting an evening of music and entertainment in aid of three local charities, including Islington Mind, on Sunday 28th October 2018 from 2:00pm.

There will be light refreshments and raffle prizes.

There is a voluntary ticket donation of £5 and all proceeds go towards the charities. 

Click here for a leaflet.

As part of World Mental Health Day, Theresa May announced the introduction of Jackie Doyle-Price who will be responsible for suicide prevention. Mind responds to this, highlighting what must be done to better support those of us with mental health problems.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “We welcome the introduction of a minister responsible for suicide prevention. We lose almost 4,500 people in England a year to suicide and, although not all are mental health related, many are, and every one is a tragedy.

“By introducing this role, the Government appears to be upholding its commitment to transform our over-stretched mental health services, as a key part of the picture is making sure services can prevent people with mental health problems reaching crisis point. The new minister and her taskforce will need to do all they can to make sure people at risk of suicide are able to access the services they need, when they need them, which includes marked improvements to patient safety, both during and after a hospital stay. We’re soon expecting a new long term plan for the NHS, which will set out how services will improve over the coming years.

“But it’s not just about mental health services, because the reasons for suicide are many and complicated. Life can be challenging and living with a mental health problem can make the ups and downs of day-to-day life that much harder to manage. Mind found that half of people with mental health problems have thought about or attempted suicide as a result of social issues such as housing issues, finances, benefit support, and employment.

“We need a benefits system that doesn’t drive people into poverty, support for employers to make sure they are looking after their workforces, access to housing that is fit for people to live in comfortably, and health and social care services that prevent people becoming unwell in the first place. It’s paramount that the government takes these issues into account and makes sure people get the right support to deal with difficult circumstances in life, reducing the chance of people of taking their own lives.

“Having a minister who can work across government departments is crucial in tackling the complicated issue of suicide. For the minister to really bring about positive change, any work by the minister and her taskforce must be done hand-in-hand with people who have direct experience of suicide.”

Source: National Mind

It started with a feeling of isolation, of not wanting to engage with the world. He didn’t want to answer emails, and hundreds of answerphone messages went unreturned.

Feeling as though the world was against him he didn’t want to leave home. Gripped by anxiety and a fear of impending doom there was a sense everything was about to fall apart and that he was powerless to do anything about it.

Nonetheless, if his world was going to collapse, it was going to collapse on his own terms.
That was in late 2014, when former footballer Clarke Carlisle came very close to ending his life.
“How can I sit here in front of you and say that four years ago, I put myself in front of a 10-ton lorry, at 60 miles an hour and I didn’t break a single bone in my body,” Carlisle told CNN Sport at his home in Preston.

Carlisle had intentionally stepped out in front of a lorry on a road near York, just before Christmas. After several weeks in hospital, he managed to recover from the collision — remarkably unscathed. He describes his survival as a “miracle.”

Full story: CNN

Three of the UK’s biggest banks and eight of the UK’s top law firms have joined together in an unprecedented alliance to change avoidable working practices that can cause mental health and wellbeing issues for employees.

The Mindful Business Charter, developed by Barclays alongside law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, is the first time banks and their legal services providers have come together to reach a shared agenda for supporting mental health and wellbeing.

A signing event this week marks an important first step in adopting the charter by Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and law firms Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons.

All of the signatories have committed to a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks. Performance against these principles will be monitored as part of relationship review meetings.

In signing, these organisations pledge to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the Charter.

Full story: National Mind

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has conceded that mental health services have been under-resourced and undervalued as he announced the appointment of a minister for suicide prevention.

Jackie Doyle-Price, a health minister, will be given the new brief and tasked with ensuring that every local area has effective plans in place to stop unnecessary deaths, and investigating how technology can help identify those most at risk.

A report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog, released on Wednesday, found that even if current plans to spend an extra £1.4bn on the sector were delivered, there would be “significant unmet need” because of staff shortages, poor data and a lack of spending controls on NHS clinical commissioning groups.

Hancock said the National Audit Office report showed service provision was “still way off where we need to be” but improvements had been made.

“The truth is that, for an awfully long time, mental health has simply not had the same level of support – both in terms of resources, but also in terms of how we as a society talk about it – compared to physical health, and we want to change that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

As well as having a minister for suicide prevention, the government wanted to ensure that “as we write the long-term plan for the future of the NHS, which we are writing at the moment, we make sure that mental health is a crucial component of that”.

Doyle-Price, whose new title will be minister for mental health, inequalities and suicide prevention, said she would put bereaved families at the heart of her strategy. She is believed to be the world’s first minister for suicide prevention.

Full story: Guardian

People with mental health problems are at a hugely increased risk of dying from unnatural causes, including suicide, soon after they have been discharged from hospital, new research reveals.

Such patients are 38 times more likely to die of fatal poisoning and 90 times more likely to perish from a drugs overdose than the general population, according to a new study.

Experts say the difficulties some people with serious mental illness have in adjusting to life after a spell of inpatient care are likely to explain the higher death rate among that group of vulnerable patients.

They are at greatest risk of dying very soon after their discharge up until three months afterwards, according to new findings by a team led by Prof Roger Webb, an academic in Manchester University’s centre for mental health and safety.

Newly-discharged patients with psychological or psychiatric conditions are also 32 times more likely to kill themselves than people who have not been admitted, they found.

They are also 41 times more likely to die as a result of intentional self-poisoning and 15 times more likely to die any unnatural death.

“The post-discharge period represents a particularly risky transition because people are returning to living in the community and often in the same or similar circumstances to the point at which they were so ill that they needed to be admitted to an inpatient unit,” said Webb.

“This may be an especially daunting experience for people when they experience discharge from an inpatient unit for the first time.”

Full story: Guardian

Ruby Wax – comedian, author, and Relate President – is spearheading a campaign calling on the government to increase funding for relationship support services, such as counselling.

This comes as a poll on Relate’s website of over 2000 people found that 35% of respondents said they had sought relationship counselling in the past, but either didn’t go ahead or dropped out early due to the cost. This rose to 41% for those on a household income of £24,999 or less. 

In total 87% of respondents felt they would benefit from attending relationship counselling with their partner, despite many not being able to afford it.

A separate YouGov survey from Relate and BACP of over 5000 UK adults found that a fifth (21%) of respondents on low household incomes said mental health issues were placing pressure on their relationship; this is compared to 12% on higher incomes.

Respondents on low incomes were also more likely to say money worries, debt, housing, and physical health conditions were placing a strain on their relationship. The research found that 94% of the general public agreed that strong and healthy relationships are important for physical and mental well-being. Over two thirds (68%) said that relationship counselling should be available to everyone who needs it, regardless of their income and ability to pay.

Relate’s President, Ruby Wax said: “As our research shows, low income families are likely to experience additional strains on their relationships because of financial pressures but are less able to afford counselling. This is a social justice issue, which is why Relate and BACP are calling on the government to invest in relationships. Without support, distressed relationships can have devastating consequences, leading to homelessness, domestic abuse, mental health issues, and poor life chances for our kids. Please sign our petition today.”

Full story: Mental Health Today