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All material © the artists and displayed with their permission.


our choices dictate what we become at every stage of life
chances are
if our choices are positive then our life experiences are positive
if our choices are negative, our life experiences are negative

there are two kinds of men in the world
there are clever men and there are wise men
clever men are always busy trying to get out of trouble
wise men never get into trouble

happiness is our birth right
patience is a virtue

By Walton McLaren


Keeping A Smile

I keep a smile ready for any passer-by in the street struggle
They dim their lights in the dead of night fall the hands that switch them around in the nights small like child hands small little fingers crossed though having school offers free plates soup buttered bread washed abandoned grown trown in the bin by fatherly love over there in the corner of the poets ice buckets scones with raspberry jam she gives away to all people who then a thin little blade sharp swings cutting the currants raisins to blend in the soup in that case we do the cooking allowed cabbage patch spuds I press the rose bushes to smelling the fragrance wonderful smell in spite of the weather starring eyes keeping a watchful eye over my shoulder half tipsy topsy you have the afternoon the table below laden in well cured feasible feast eating drinking comes the same as the house on the corner correct we learn that we come to terms in the day time when she brings out the dinner we learn to pass ink that won’t blot on the water spills spilling over who could forget that day the rainfall falling filling the land soaked harvester I keep that smile in that rainfall

By John J Sheehy

Click on a picture for full-size view. All material © the artists and displayed with their permission.

Simple yet scrumptious meals from Islington Mind’s cook, Diana Apent


Minced Beef Pie

 

 

 

Click here to download

 

 


Veggie Meatballs with Tomato Courgette

 

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Click here to download


Yam Porridge

 

 

Click here to download

 


King Prawn and Broccoli Stir-Fry

 

 

 

Click here to download


Chicken and Couscous Salad

 

 

Serves 6

Click here to download


Almond Lentil Stew

 

Click here to download

 


Chicken and Broccoli Lasagne

 

 

Click here to download

 


Chicken Curry and Naan

 

 

Click here to download

 

 


Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto

 

 

Makes 8 servings

Click here to download

 

 


Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries

 

 

Click here to download

 


Ghana Jollof Rice

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour to 2 hours
Serves 4

Click here to download


Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

 

 

Click here to download

 

 


Rice Noodles With Prawns

Serves 2
Preparation time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

Click here to download


Chicken and Tomato Spiced Curry

Serves 4
Preparation timeL 5 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins

Click here to download

 

 


Quick Broccoli Pasta 2

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins
Serves 2

Click here to download


Chicken and Couscous Salad

 

Serves 2

Click here to download


One-Pot Chicken with Rice

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour
Serves 2

Click here to download


Avocado Salad

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: no cooking required
Serves 1

Click here to download


Chili Con Carne with Spaghetti

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 – 2 hours
Serves 4

Click here to download


Fish Curry with Basmati Rice

Preparation time: less than 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Serves 2

Click here to download


Butternut Squash Curry with Rice

Click here to download


Quick Broccoli Pasta


Preparation time: less than 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 to 30 minutes

Click here to download


Tuna Pasta Bake

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins
Serves 4-6

Click here to download


Chicken Stir-Fried Noodles

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins
Serves 2

Click here to download


Steak Fajitas with Wraps

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins
Serves 2-4

Click here to download


Sausage Spaghetti Bolognese

Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour
Serves 2

Click here to download

An online therapy service is to offer free 20-minute sessions aimed at vulnerable older people and others who are self-isolating or struggling, after therapists across the UK volunteered their help.

The Help Hub was originally intended to serve a small area in west Oxfordshire but will expand nationally when it launches this week following an influx of support.

“Thanks to the kindness of therapists right across the country willing to work for free, the idea snowballed in the space of less than a fortnight to the extent that we can now cover the whole of the UK,” said Ruth Chaloner, the founder of the service, who is asking therapists to email her at info@helphub.co.uk if they want to get involved.

Chaloner is now setting up a second scheme to help the hardest-to-reach members of her local community. She hopes this is another idea that could be extended nationally.

Full story: The Guardian

We are collecting information and links to useful local resources which we are updating regularly.

These links may be useful in helping to deal with the situation:

Self-care

Islington Crisis Team – Self-referral for clients who have used the service previously. Phone 020 3317 6333

Samaritans – Freephone: 116 123

Certitude London – Out-of-hours peer support for people with MH, LDs and Autism. Freephone: 0300 123 1922

Age UK Islington – Connect to emergency food supplies; telephone check-in. Phone 020 7281 6018

Mental Health Forum – Forums for people exeriencing mental health problems, categorised by condition, 

Help On Your Doorstep – Support for local people via telephone: 020 3931 6080

We Are Islington – Council run telephone support line Monday – Friday 9-5. Phone 020 7527 8222

The Help Hub – Free 20-minute sessions with trained therapists via Skype, FaceTime or phone

Talk for Health – Peer-support online groups via telephone, computer or tablet. Email info@talkforhealth.co.uk or phone 020 3409 3201

Mind (National) – Information and signposting service open Monday to Friday 9am-6pm. Phone 0300 123 3393

CALM – Telephone and webchat for people feeling suicidal, open 5pm – midnight all year round. Phone 0800 58 58 58

Mental Health Foundation – Advice on staying mentally well during the lockdown

Happiful – Advice on staying mentally well during the lockdown

Centre for Mind-Body Medicine – Self-care tips

Tiny Buddha – 45 self-care practices

Sleepio – Online sleep improvement programme

MS Trust – Relaxation techniques

Self-compassion – Guided meditations and exercises

Centre for Mindfulness – Mindful poetry

Melli O’Brien – Mindful poetry

Headspace – Travel Mindfulness tips from TFL

Good Thinking – NHS tools to help your mental health

NHS Apps library – NHS-approved apps and online tools to help you manage your health and wellbeing

Rethink Mental Illness – National charity offering information, advice and support to those suffering from mental ill-health

Get.gg Self-help – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy self-help resources

NHS – Coronavirus updates and advice

NHS Helpline – List of help available from charities supporting people with specific mental health illnesses

Anxiety UK – Support and resources for people feeling anxious about Covid-19

Mood Gym – Interactive self-help book to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety

Free Psychotherapy Network – Online support groups for people who are isolated

My GP App – Free smartphone app which enables you to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions

Big White Wall – Online community for people experiencing MH crisis

7 Cups – Connects people to caring listeners for free emotional support

Daily Strength – Online support groups and community forum

No More Panic – Message forum and chat room for people with OCD, Panic, Anxiety & Phobias

The Unlonely Project – Online community including activities, story share and a check-in process

Anna Mathur Psychotherapist – Podcast and blog dealing with issues of anxiety/isolation

Mewso – Telephone advice for women of Middle Eastern origin

Hearing Voices Network – Information, support and resources for people hearing voices. Email info@hearing-voices.org

Turn2me – Online support groups equiring registration and booking

Sign Health – Coronavirus information in BSL

Public Health England – Up-to-date info on Covid-19

Public Health England – PHE easy-read guides to social-distancing

Mencap – Easy-read guide to Covid-19

Sadhguru – Yogic practices to boost immunity

Calm (soothing sounds) – Listen to rainfall and other soothing sounds

Calm (whale tunes) – Sounds to help you relax

The Way of Rumi – Sufi meditation music

Musiqaa – Meditative and relaxing music

Meditative Mind – Meditative and relaxing music

Adam Siddiq – Playlist with Rumi poems

Suicide Prevention Helpline – Support for people experiencing suicidal feelings or thoughts or affected in any way by suicide: 30-minute webchat and phone support available Monday, Wednesday & Friday 6-8pm; Sunday 6-9pm. Freephone 08088 020 080 Text 07860 058 793

Rufus May – useful online resources for people living with psychosis or hearing voices

Inter Voice – Practical guide to coping with voices

Open Mind Online – holistic approaches to emotional and social wellbeing

Open Mind Online – Engaging With Voices videos. Support for people interested in compassionate approaches to voices. Includes 15 videos from Rufus May, Elisabeth Svanholmer and Charlie Heriot-Maitland.

SLOW (Surviving the Loss of your World) – Support for bereaved parents and siblings via one-to-one phone calls and emails and Zoom group support. Phone 07532 423 674 or email info@slowgroup.co.uk

Claremont Project – Free online activities for the over 55s: exercise, singing, creative writing, tai chi, book club and much more. Email amanda.b@claremont-project.org

St Joseph’s Hospice Bereavement Service – Phone 020 3317 5774 or email islingtonbereavement@stjh.org.uk

Islington Alzheimer’s Society – Phone 0333 1503456 or email Islington@alzheimers.org.uk

Listening Ears – Free online and telephone listening ears from qualified psychoanalysts

Shout Crisis Text Support – 24/7 crisis support from trained counsellors – will usually respond to a text within 5 minutes. Text: BEYONDFOOD to 85258

Random Acts of Kindness – activities to do at home around the theme of kindness

Lessons from the Mental Hospital – TEDx talk from bestselling author Glennon Doyle (formerly Glennon Doyle Melton)

Asperger London Area Group – monthly support group for autistic adults, including those with Asperger’s syndrome

The Listening Place – Fortnightly telephone support from trained volunteers for people feeling suicidal. Phone 020 3906 7676

The Caravan – Drop-in (outside of lockdown) and telephone counselling. Phone 020 7183 1802

Understanding Voices – Strategies for coping with voices

Voice Collective – Calming strategies for people hearing voices

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Food and Food Banks

Covid-19 Mutual Aid Groups – Local volunteer groups set up by borough ward to support with shopping, medication collection etc. Enter postcode into ‘local group’ search

Brownswood – Facebook
Chester Road – WhatsApp 07968 964 831
Clissold – WhatsApp 07309 785 643 or Facebook
Dalston – WhatsApp 07765 071 429
Finsbury Park – WhatsApp 07903 162 175 or email fpmutualaid@gmail.com
Finsbury Park, Stroud Green, Green Lanes & Manor House – Facebook
Highbury – WhatsApp 07961 703 751 or email highburymutualaid@gmail.com 
Hillrise & Tollington – WhatsApp 07494 971 873
Hillrise email hillrise.c19@gmail.com
Tollington email tollington.c19@gmail.com
Holloway – WhatsApp 07790 164 439 or Facebook
Hoxton West – Facebook
Junction – WhatsApp 07498 670 610 or email junctionislingtonmutualaid@gmail.com 
Mildmay – WhatsApp 07712 633 070 or email mildmaymutualaid@gmail.com 
Newington Green – Phone 033 3050 9318 or Facebook or email info@newingtongreen.org 
Queensland Road – WhatsApp 07813 701 458
Quernmore Road – WhatsApp 07904 520 117
Redbrick Estate TMO – Facebook
St George’s – WhatsApp 07787 707 643
Stroud Green – WhatsApp 07795 142 898
Tiltman Place – Facebook
Woodberry Down – WhatsApp 07826 002 230 

Islington Council interactive Covid-19 map – Click on the type of business in the ‘show layers’ tab to find out who is open and how they’re operating

People’s Army Islington – Local support with shopping, dog-walking etc. Meals provided for the most vulnerable

London Homeless Info – Check site for updates on where to get free meals, clothes and showers

Food Cycle – Free food parcel deliveries to residents of Finsbury Park

Andover Community Centre – Food parcels delivered or collected for Finsbury Park ward residents only 1.30-5pm every Friday. Phone Sue Burbidge: 07989 213 322

St Joan of Arc Church – Emergency food bank Monday-Friday, 12-4pm, Saturday 1-2pm; no referrals or booking required. 60 Highbury Park, N5 2XH. Phone 07516 690 197

The Pilion Trust – Free fruit, veg, bread and patries for collection Monday to Friday 12-4. Deliveries can be arranged for those self-isolating. Phone 020 7700 2498

Jack Monroe – Cooking on a budget

Sweet Potato Soul – Simple vegan cooking on YouTube

Akwaaba – Takeaway food avaiable every Sunday at 2pm from St Paul’s West Hackney, 184 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7UY

Brickworks Community Centre – Free food and books plus internet access Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm at 42 Crouch Hill, London, N4 4BY. Phone 020 7263 1067

Hornsey Lane Estate CA – Hot meals to take away on Saturdays 12-2 from Hazellville Rd, N19 3YJ. Phone 0207 272 5938

Hare Krishna Food For All – Free hot vegetarian meal 2pm to 2.40pm Monday – Saturday Take away from the white van at York Way next to Kings Cross train station

Margins Homeless Project – Food takeaway for people in crisis Monday 11am – 2pm; Wednesday 11am – 2pm from Union Chapel, 19b Compton Terrace, N1 2UN. Phone 020 7226 1686

St John the Evangelist Church – Pre-packed sandwiches, fruit and a hot drink for those experiencing homelessness – 3-5pm every Sunday from 39 Duncan Terrace, N1 8AL

LBI shop delivery info – List of local shops who can deliver

Good Gym – Local volunteers who can do more than shopping and collecting meds so please consider: changing lightbulbs, moving furniture. It’s free and volunteers are all DBS checked. Referrals must come from Mind.

Manor Gradens Free Food Parcels – Email MGAssistance@manorgardenscentre.org Order by 5pm on Monday for a Wednesday delivery.

Georgina Bisby – How to grow vegetables indoors without any equipment

Jenny Can Cook – How to make no-knead bread

Hilldrop Community Centre – Food parcels for collection on Tuesdays 12-3 for Tufnell Park and St George’s ward. Phone 020 7607 9453 

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Benefits and Financial

London Renters Union – Support for people with rent issues

Shine Islington – Fuel poverty and free energy advice. Phone 0300 555 0195 

DWP – Up-to-date benefits info

Thames Water – Freeze or reduction in water bills. Particularly helpful if benefits have been stopped/delayed

Council Tax/Rent – For council tenants anxious about being able to pay their rent or council tax. Email HomesandCommunities@Islington.gov.uk or phone 020 7527 5300

Wavelength – Charity providing free TVs, radios or tablets for people experiencing isolation

Money Saving Expert – Info on help with energy bills, debt, overdrafts, rent arrears

Islington Citizens Advice Bureau – Telephone advice on benefits, housing and debt. Phone 0300 330 1197

Islington People’s Rights – Welfare benefits and debt telephone advice Monday, Tuesday & Friday 2-4pm. Phone 020 7561 3685

IMAX (Islington Income Maximisation Team) – Phone 020 7527 8600. Leave your name and phone number on their answering machine and they’ll call you back

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Learning

The Recovery College – Mental health online courses

Future Learn – Variety of online courses

Class Central – 600 free online courses from 190 universities

Open University – Free online learning

TED Talks – Inspirational lectures on a wide range of topics

VSS Vocational Solutions – Free vocational short courses. Phone 0161 478 4040

New City College – Free 10-12 week distance learning courses

Lubcho Macrame – Learn how to make macrame  

Macrame School – Macrame for beginners

Guardian website – Online learning: how to acquire new skills during lockdown

Islington Council – Free online courses for Islington residents. Email aldo.zeolla@islington.gov.uk

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Culture and Entertainment

British Museum – Podcasts

Tate Gallery – Online gallery tours, performances and texts

Tate Gallery: How are you feeling? – Match your mood to a Tate artwork

Tate Gallery “Walk of Arts” podcasts – Be transported out of your living room and into nineties Shoreditch, sunny St Ives or the hidden depths of the River Thames

Aurora Borealis – Live webcam of the Northern Lights – 3am-9am best time to see them – for insomniacs!

BBC i-Player – Free art documentaries

National Theatre – Watch performances from the National Theatre for free

Great British Home Chorus – Online community for choir and musicians

Sporcle – Trivia quizzes

Radio Garden – Interactive map of live radio stations across the globe

Meet Up – Free online talks and events for Londoners

Gutenberg Library – List of online free libraries

Billboard – Livestreams and virtual concerts

Globe Theatre – Free to watch Globe productions of Shakespeare

Google – Virtual tours of galleries, opera houses etc

National Gallery – Virtual tours of NG’s collection

National Portrait Gallery – Digital content from past exhibitions/NPG collection

Internet Archive – Free books, films and audio (mostly oldies and out of copyright)

Draw a Stickman – Surprisingly therapeutic interactive drawing

BFI Flare – 14 days free trial of all films that were showing in Flare

BFI Player – Short archive films to watch for free

Social Distancing Festival – Art and performance showcase from all over the world

Time Out – Listings for online events

Nothing in the Rulebook – Creative site with listings of free books

Chatterpack – Online resources to support SEND and learning disabilities

Mind’s Despard Road Music Channel – Music and visuals made by service users

North London Cares – Daily creative activities for people to do at home in isolation

New York Metropolitan Opera – Watch opera for free

What’s On Stage – Stage shows, musicals and operas to watch for free

Virtual Nature – Virtual visits to natural places plus a virtual gardening project to help you to grow things at home, courtesy of the Stuart Low Trust

Virtual Museums – Plus a virtual philosophy forum on Sundays

Andy Warhol at the Tate – Talk on Tate’s current Warhol show

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra – Download music and play along with other musicians

CBC – Free indigenous films

Open Culture – Free online culture and educational media

Sacred Valley Tribe – Medicine songs

Soundcloud – Free music streaming

Art Net – News/articles related to art world

Artsy – Learn about art from leading galleries

Saatchi Art – Art selected from the collection by curators

Max Ehrmann – Desiderata: A Life Changing Poem for Hard Times

Crochet a tote bag out of grocery bags

Islington Council – Islington during WW2 to celebrate VE Day

Uffizi Gallery, Florence – online exhibitions

Musée d’Orsay – from railway station to iconic Parisian museum

Guggenheim Museum, NY – exhibitions and collections

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LGBTQ+

QueerCare – Support for trans women via email and WhatsApp group: Phone 0300 302 1337

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428

Respect Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327

Survivor’s Trust – For men who have experienced rape or sexual abuse 0808 801 0818

London LGBTIQ+ Mutual Aid support – Complete a form online to request help

Queer Foodbank – Emergency food parcels funded by a GoFundMe page

Outside Project – Monday evening Zoom meetings (6-9pm) + a WhatsApp group

Spectra – Transgender/non-binary online support group; open to nonbinary and trans people every Friday

Mind Out – Online support for LGBTQ+ community. Phone 01273 234 839

Out Savvy – Classes, comedy entertainment for LGBTQ+ community – some are free; others low cost

Leeds Queer Film Festival – Free queer films online

Queer East Film Festival – Queer films from East Asia

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Befriending

Silverline – National charity offering weekly 30-minute telephone befriending to people over 60. Mind can refer. Freephone: 0800 470 8090

FCV Dorcas – For isolated older and/or disabled people living in Central and South Islington, offers telephone befriending. Phone 020 7689 1574

Hornsey Lane Estate CA – Phone Val: 07496 213 442

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Nature

Aurora Borealis – Live webcam of the Northern Lights – 3am-9am best time to see them – for insomniacs!

Liziqi – Inspiring videos on making things from scratch and living in harmony with Nature

Jonna Linton – Inspiring videos from a Scandinavian artist inspired by Nature

Hilldrop Community Centre – Free 1-hour slots for Islington residents who don’t have their own garden. Available to single households only and not mixed groups. Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-4pm. Phone 020 7607 9453

Yellowstone National Park – 10-minute virtual walks to the Mammoth Hot Springs and other delights, Wyoming USA

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Domestic Violence

Refuge – Phone lines open 24 hours a day. Freephone: 0808 2000 247

Rape Crisis – Phone lines open 12.00-2.30pm and 7.00-9.30pm every day of the year. Freephone: 0808 802 9999

Respect Men’s Advice Line. Freephone: 0808 801 0327

Women’s Aid – One-to-one support and online forum

Respect – Telephone support for perpetrators of DV. Freephone: 0808 802 4040

Silent Solution – 999, cough or tap handset, then when prompted press 55 to be put through to the police

Survivor’s Trust – For men who have experienced rape or sexual abuse. Freephone: 0808 801 0818

ICAP – Immigrant Counselling & Psychotherapy for the Irish community. Phone 020 7272 7906

Abuse Never Becomes Us – Support for survivors of abuse in the Tamil community. Email ask@anbu.org.uk

MOSAC – Support for non-abusive parents and carers whose children have experienced sexual abuse. Freephone: 0800 980 1958

Male Survivors Partnership – Telephone support Monday to Saturday and online chat. Freephone: 08088 005 005

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Exercising at Home

Yoga with Adrienne – Free 30-day online yoga classes

Sport England – Free workouts and fitness programmes

British Heart Foundation – Tips on staying active in lockdown

Joe Wicks – Body Coach: Youtube workouts for all abilities

YouTube workout – 5-minute arm workout

YouTube workout – Pilates for older women

YouTube workout – Back pain relief exercises and stretches

YouTube workout – 5 simple daily exercises for older people

YouTube workout – Seated exercise

YouTube workout – Beginners Pilates

Islington Chinese Association – Exercise classes on Zoom

Qigong – 20-minute daily exercise routine – particularly suited to older people or people with mobility issues

Tai Chi – 5 minutes a day routines, particularly suited to older people or people with mobility issues

Better GLL – free online exercises for all ages and abilities

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GAME: a board game co-designed by clients at the Psychosis Therapy Project

Not every game has a ball, nor two competing teams; even, sometimes, there is no notion of “winning.” Marvin Minsky, in reference to Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (1980)

Background

This collaboration was part of a PhD project aimed at understanding the design process and the experiences of participants, clients of the Psychosis Therapy Project, to see if this engagement is beneficial to mental health. The co-design project was not set up with the intention of developing an artefact, and participants were encouraged to engage in the process freely. The process started with activities that aimed to begin to understand and define what design means; for instance by bringing objects and reflecting upon their significance or carrying out short design projects. Through some co-design tools and activities, a broad design purpose emerged, that of expressing a notion of Stewardship, or taking care of, which resulted in the development of GAME.

GAME is a tremendous achievement, stemming from participants unique knowledge and insights on Stewardship, or taking care of, each other and the world, and an intellectual and creative engagement with the meaning and diversity of human experiences.

GAME:

The board game is designed to encourage collaboration over competition, and the exchange of ideas and perspectives in a non-judgmental way. Some players for instance commented ‘I have shared things I wouldn’t have done otherwise’ or ‘I didn’t know I was so self-conscious’.

Game is designed to help participants wonder, get to know themselves and connect with one another and the en­vironment. There are no winners or losers and interaction among participants is the main bene­fit. To achieve this, the board game involves players in addressing questions that relate to different themes, through different forms of interaction.

Game is composed by a set of cards with questions pertaining to the different themes in different colours, and a board offering 3 different ways to address each card. There is also a set of empty cards where players can write their own questions.

The different themes are: green, philosophical, spiritual, mind & body, cre­ativity and (?) which refers to any area not included in the main themes.

Figure 1. Prototype of guidelines booklet (themes descriptions) and cards.

 

Randomly through a wheel, each question can be addressed in three different ways: Tell & share, Think & discuss, and Act & ask.

Figure 2. Prototype of guidelines booklets – ways to address questions and tokens

 

Through sharing opinions, non-judgemental discussions and reflections with others, players may identify areas in which they may want to further reflect and develop themselves, individually or as a group. In order to keep track of these reflections, tokens are distributed among players, which reflect each theme.

Figure 3. Game, box of cards, board and box with tokens corresponding to each theme.

 

Unlike most games, tokens are allocated subjectively. Throughout the game, when the player feels they need help with some area (e.g. spirituality), they can take a token as a reminder of this need (e.g. spirituality token). Tokens can also be given by others, if the player accepts them. At the end of the play session, the number of tokens of each type reflects where the player needs development. Rewards corresponding to each theme are given to those who have most tokens of one type, to motivate them to develop that part of themselves. For instance, if you feel you are not very environmentally aware, fellow players could encourage you to take some green corresponding to­kens. At the end of the game, if you have mostly green tokens, you may be given a reward that encourages you to become more environmentally friendly. These rewards could be created ad hoc by the group or selected from a booklet of ideas.

Step by step – with example:

  • First player randomly picks a card. The card is placed in the middle of the board, and spinned.
  • Where the pointer lands determines the way in which the card needs to be addressed (tell & share, think & discuss or act & ask).
  • Each card has a question (e.g. what colour is your soul?). The same question would be addressed in different ways depending on whether the pointer lands on tell and share (e.g. player expresses first thing that comes to mind ‘my soul is pink’ and others share their views), on think and discuss (players individually think their responses and then discuss with one another) or act and ask ( player acts, addressing the question via mimics or gestures, and others ask, by joining the act or verbally).
  • After discussing each card, the individual or group can reflect on any needs, and distribute tokens.
  • At the end of the game, these tokens are used to distribute the rewards. The participant who has more tokens in one area (e.g. spirituality) will gain the corresponding reward (e.g. meditation event).

Principles of GAME

  • It values diversity of lived experience over accuracy of factual knowledge. As one of the co-designers put it ‘in this game we are all equal’
  • The subjective nature of the token system reflects how people judge, value, as well as support one another and make decisions in everyday life.
  • People who identify themselves, or are helped to recognize, an area where they may want to seek further development, are given rewards to encourage this process. This symbolic gesture also reflects the principles behind peer-to-peer support, recovery and rehabilitation.

Try it any time at the Despard Road centre – feedback and ideas welcome!

Erika Renedo-Illarregi

 

Creative Commons Licence
GAME is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Growing numbers of troubled children are having appointments with NHS mental health services cancelled, the organisation’s data show.

Figures obtained by the mental health charity Mind reveal that CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) in England cancelled 175,094 appointments with vulnerable patients between August 2018 and July 2019.

That was 25% more than the 140,327 which were cancelled during the same period in 2017-18.

Experts think staff shortages and the growing demand from young people for help with anxiety, depression and other conditions, lie behind the trend.

Although under-18s with mental health problems can pull out of planned sessions, the proportion of appointments cancelled by a CAMHS provider rose as a percentage of all appointments year-on-year, from 3.3% in 2017-18 to 3.7% last year – one in 27 of all consultations.

Mind called the upward trend deeply concerning, especially as some appointments were with young people who were self harming or having suicidal thoughts.

Full story: Guardian

After years languishing in the dark, mental illness is finally getting its moment in the spotlight. Frustrating political football it may be, but one thing can’t be denied – it’s making headlines more than ever. Focus, largely, has been on young people – crises in child and adolescent mental healthcare and in student populations have been both persistent and significant. But mental illness doesn’t end with reaching adulthood – often, in fact, it doesn’t end at all.

New research from the British Journal of Psychiatry into self-harm in older people puts this into stark perspective. A meta-analysis of 40 studies found that yearly self-harm rates were about 65 per 100,000 people, with risk of repetition and of suicide also higher than average. Self-harm is still seen as a problem among younger demographics; and while that remains true, this data proves that the issue is even more complex and diffuse than we thought.

The findings are not wholly surprising. In 2014, the World Health Organization found that suicide rates were highest in people aged over 70 in almost all regions of the world. The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) also found that 40% of older people in GP clinics experience mental ill-health; this rose to 50% in general hospitals and 60% in care homes. And, as the Mental Health Foundation points out, the UK population is ageing rapidly – since 1974, the number of older people in the UK has grown by 47%. By 2027, the Office for National Statistics predicts, 20.7% of the UK population will be aged 65 or over, compared with 15.9% in 2007. The problem, clearly, is not going away.

Full story: Guardian

I would rather tell an employer I have excruciating period pain or terrible diarrhoea than say I need to take a day off for my mental health. Despite the mental health awareness days, mindfulness at work courses and stigma-bashing posters, many of us still feel that our bosses are not open to accommodating mental illness – and we may be right.

Andrew Berrie, employer programme manager at the Time to Change campaign, says nine in 10 people who experience mental health problems report facing stigma and discrimination. More than half say they experience that stigma the most at work, meaning many do not feel they can talk openly with their line manager. Things are improving, says Berrie – but the stigma means that, like me, 95% of employees would prefer to call in sick with a made-up reason, rather than reveal the truth about their poor mental health.

Geoff McDonald is co-founder of minds@work, a network of professionals seeking to build psychologically healthy workplaces. He says: “I think there is still a huge disconnect between what senior leaders think the culture and openness is, and what it actually feels like on the frontline, whether or not you can have those conversations.” He tells of a senior executive who walked into a mindfulness class his company was running, surveyed the room and said: “So, these are the people who can’t cope in my business.” The organisation had ticked a box, but not changed the culture of intolerance that fosters judgment of those who struggle. We are making progress, McDonald says, but we are “still at the foothills of climbing Mount Everest”.

It is not just tokenism we are smelling, but fear, too, he says. “There has been a lot of campaigning, awareness-building, encouraging people to talk – but I think there is still this fear of not knowing what to do or say, even at the simplest of levels.” He says line managers often confess that they are fearful of saying the wrong thing, telling him that if someone came to them saying they were suffering from anxiety, they wouldn’t know how to handle it.

Clinical psychologist Dr Beverley Flint, from Camden and Islington NHS Mental Health foundation trust, runs C&I Wellbeing, offering mental health support training for managers and HR staff. She says many businesses and organisations are blind to the reality of what their employees are going through.

When she meets employers who tell her they “don’t have a problem with mental health” in their workplace, she says she raises an eyebrow. “I tell them: ‘But you do, you just don’t know about it. You will have people in the workplace who have a diagnosis – I’d love to see your staff retention data.’ People get annoyed with me when I say that.”

Full story: Guardian

An elite band of doctors has now come up with a solution to their recurrent occupational hazard. They say a genetic test for schizophrenia should be made available on the NHS. “It can help people understand that they have an illness like any other, just like epilepsy or diabetes, and may also mean that they and their families are more comfortable with the idea of them taking medication,” Professor Kam Bhui explained in the respected British Journal of Psychiatry.

Professor Bhui edits the journal, published on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and has long been an influential commentator. His latest suggestion has already been backed by his Queen Mary University colleagues Professor David Curtis and Dr Katherine Adlington. They say the NHS should make the test available “as a matter of urgency.”

There is just one small ethical problem. Schizophrenia has never been shown to be caused by genetics, either wholly or in part. The trio of psychiatrists appear comfortable in advocating that this moral inconvenience should not stand in the way of it being held up as an explainer to patients and families. “We can do a simple genetic test on a patient and, for example, tell them that they have a small piece of chromosome 22 missing and that this is probably the reason why they’ve developed schizophrenia,” Professor Curtis has excitedly argued.

This particular chromosome correlation has been observed in just one percent of patients with schizophrenia, and those without schizophrenia have also been seen to exhibit it, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has told Mental Health Today. Schizophrenia can not currently be genetically explained in the same way as, say, Down’s Syndrome can (where children are born with a third copy of chromosome 21).

If genetic testing becomes routine on all patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, then perhaps in time a commonality will be discovered. If patients are being given a false reason for taking a (currently hollow) test, does the end justify the means?

Let’s start by making a comparison with Down’s Syndrome once again. Since diagnostic testing has become more reliable and less invasive for pregnant mothers, abortions have increased. Parents should not be denied their reproductive rights of course, but campaigners living with the condition have expressed their fears at where that statistical trend will end up, or how such knowledge could be abused by eugenicists.

Just this month Japan agreed to pay compensation to thousands of individuals with mental health conditions, intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities who were sterilised over five decades until 1996. 25,000 people were sterilised under the so-called Eugenics Protection Law. Almost half gave their consent to the procedure.

Professor Peter Kinderman, a clinical psychologist, is dismayed at psychiatry’s latest approach to confronting conversations about schizophrenia. “Biological explanations of mental illness appear to offer people the suggestion that they are not to blame for their difficulties. But in truth the history of both psychology and psychiatry is littered with the debris of eugenics, where biological and genetic explanations are used as justification for harsh, discriminatory, and sometimes even lethal treatment,” he says. “Even if we did have a genetic test for so-called schizophrenia, we should be extremely reluctant to roll out its use. But in truth the notion is scientific fantasy anyway.”

Full story: Mental Health Today

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