Taking a look at Issues around Mental Health

10th October was World Mental Health Day so, this week I am focusing on issues around mental health.


I did a trial run of a new e-learning package offered by Mental Health 4 Life. http://mentalhealthforlife.org/. The site offers some basic training around promotion, prevention and intervention. And, I took a look at the Zero Suicide Alliance website: https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/ which also offers tools, resources and free training.

Pull Yourselves Together

At the weekend I went to see a very unusual exhibition in a small terraced house in Newcastle…..Bobby Baker’s Great and Tiny War

“In a career spanning four decades Bobby Baker has danced with meringue ladies, made a life-sized version of her family out of cake and driven around the streets of London strapped to the back of a truck telling people to ‘Pull Yourselves Together’. Her ground-breaking exhibition Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me 1997- 2008 is still touring following its premier at the Wellcome Collection in 2009, and the accompanying book won MIND’s book of the year in 2011. Now Baker is turning her attention to her own family history and the domestic experiences of women during the First World War, to create a remarkable immersive multi-media art installation in an ordinary terraced house in Newcastle. Bobby Baker’s Great & Tiny War is a thoughtful, ingenious and joyous tribute to the unacknowledged private struggles and personal strength of women in times of conflict. Inspired by real stories, passed down through Baker’s family, Great & Tiny War shines a light on the role of women during wartime and the impact of conflicts, historical and contemporary, on the mental health of whole families through the generations. An ingenious, immersive multimedia art installation in an ordinary terrace house.”


The Process of Raising Concerns

And finally, I read an article about a piece of research that has been published about mental health service users involvement in improving the safety of services. 77% of service users and carers reported finding it difficult to raise concerns. Barriers to raising concerns included: services did not listen; concerns about repercussions; and the process of raising concerns, especially while experiencing mental ill health.

The research concluded: ‘Mental health service users and carers experience difficulties in raising safety concerns meaning that potentially useful information is being missed. All the health professionals and the majority of service users and carers saw potential for service users and carer involvement in interventions to improve safety, to ensure their experiences are taken into consideration. The results provide guidance for future research about the most effective ways of ensuring that concerns about safety can be both raised and responded to, and how service user and carer involvement in improving safety in mental health care can be further developed.’

Berzins, K., Louch, G., Brown, M., O’Hara, J., and Baker, J. (2018) Service user and carer involvement in mental health care safety: raising concerns and improving the safety of services. BMC Health Services Research, 2018 18:644


So, if you are interested in any of these issues please come along to the next of the NESWA Masterclasses which will explore service user co-production in mental health.

Northumbria University & NESWA Masterclass

Service user co-production and participation in mental health (Toby Brandon and Sarah Lonbay), 20th November 9am -12 at the Durham Centre, Belmont.

Please book your place here

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