05 Jun

National Survivor User Network (NSUN) Bulletin – 1 June 2020

Welcome to the Monday 1st June 2020 edition of our weekly ebulletin – full of news, views, events and involvement opportunities.
Help and support
If at any time you need immediate support you can find out where to go, who to call, where to get information from here.

Bulletin items
If you would like to send us an event, involvement opportunity, blog article or anything else to share with the wider network in the bulletin, please email us at info@nsun.org.uk.
You can view our previous NSUN weekly bulletins and subscribe to get them sent directly to your mailbox here.
This bulletin is FREE. You can join as a member here – it’s free for individuals and user-led groups. If you would like to make a donation to help support the continuation of this work you can do so here.
Please note: Sharing is not endorsing
Sometimes, we may feature items that you (and we) may not necessarily agree with but we feel it’s important to make our members aware of what is happening out there.

Our work
A great way to have a look at what’s been happening over the last year is to go to our News pageand visit the pages below.
The news this week has been painful to watch and read. Day after day, there are also headlines about the deaths of people from racialised communities from Covid-19. In mental health, we know that people from racialised communities are more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act, subject to confinement (seclusion), be on a Community Treatment Order, or be medicated against their will.  
The Public Health England review on whether people of black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are more adversely affected by Covid-19 was due to be published this week, but has been delayed. Will its findings be any different to countless other reports on race and inequality? The cynicism and weariness this type of report invites in campaigners is understandable: people are tired of being told that things must change, only for change not to happen. We are yet to see the world of mental health – including practitioners, service providers, policy makers, but also campaigners and activists – properly name and engage with the structural racism which pervades it.
At NSUN, we will continue to amplify the voices and perspectives of people from racialised communities. Our project Reigniting the Space mapped how people from racialised groups have continued to work within our communities and local areas, often in isolation and without access to sustainable resources. But we are not immune to racism: mental health activism in England is still very white. The change has to start with us, we need to do the work.
The NSUN Covid-19 fund is still open. You can apply here for grants of up to £1000 to support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities that will make a direct difference to the lives of people living with mental ill-health, trauma and distress during this Covid-19 period. 
If you have a moment, please check out the latest posts in our new #NSUNCovidLife series of blogs and videos by our members, including Laura Wood talking about parenting when ill and Emily Reynolds talking about her work with WISH during this crisis.
Warm wishes,
Akiko Hart
pronouns: she/her
akiko.hart@nsun.org.uk | @AkikoMHart

Covid-19 links
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NSUN is a community of people and groups who come together to support each other.  We come together in many ways: physically, digitally through social media or through sharing information.
During these uncertain times, we will try and share with you what we can that is useful. In particular, we will think of ways of being together, when we can’t physically be together. And finally, we will continue our campaigning role, ensuring that policy and legislative changes are scrutinised and are rights based. 
Read more here:
Articles, blogs, vlogs and more
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We are always looking to feature members’ blogs and articles so please email us at info@nsun.org.uk if you would like to share yours.
by Dr Dwight Turner in BME voices
in Mad Covid diaries
by NSUN member Shanine Fasasi
in Mad in America

DHSC Covid-19 VCSE partner update
Article ImageAs a VCSE partner of the Dept. of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NSUN now attends a weekly webinar where we are given updates on Covid-19. 
Social determinants of health
Last week the topic was social determinants of health and, while it was acknowledged that BAME, men, people with learning difficulties and from deprived communities do seem more at risk from Covid, it was also accepted that as yet, it is not clear as to why this is the case and work on this is ongoing. It was also acknowledged how community action has been “central and essential” to the fight against Covid. 
NHS Volunteer Responder scheme
If you or someone you know requires help with things like shopping, collection of prescriptions and the ‘check in and chat’ facility for those feeling lonely, you can now call the scheme directly on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm). Currently you can’t self-refer online but this may change. For those who need help with transport e.g. to hospital appointments, you still have to be referred by the NHS, your local authority or via a local VCSE organisation. 
Please see the RVS website for more info and eligibility criteria. This list has been recently updated to confirm that if you are “vulnerable due to a mental health condition” you can access this service. 
Food for vulnerable people
Further conversations are taking place with Defra about access to priority supermarket deliveries (which are still oversubscribed) and a number of other commercial food box schemes they have collated in this guide.
We will update you on these items when we receive more news. In the meantime, if you have any questions you would like us to put to DHSC, please email us at info@nsun.org.uk

Food banks – find your local one and donate/help out
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Food banks are playing a very important part in ensuring people have enough food to eat in these challenging times.
If you are either in need of help yourself or would like to find out how you can help, find and contact your local food bank here:
Ways in which you can help include:
  • donate money
  • donate food
  • volunteer
  • become a business partner
Contact your local food bank to find out the best way you can help.

Hardship Fund for the Mentally ill during COVID-19
on gofundme
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“We are Jo Edge and Bethan Edwards, both survivors of mental illness and the psychiatric system. Jo is a doctor of medieval history, currently working at the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, beginning a stint as Women’s Rep on the National Executive Committee of the University and College Union in May 2020. Bethan is a Research OT employed by the NHS, and is also undertaking her PhD . She professionally registered with the HCPC and is an admin of Recovery in the Bin, a user-led critical theorist and activist collective. Both Jo and Bethan are Welsh.
Money will only go to those who need it: folks who do not have access to other available funds from employers or through the government.
To apply for funds, please fill in this short online survey (also featured on the page below): https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/73YNTCZ
To find out more, please click here.
Thank you, update on fund and callout
The MadCovid Team would like to send a big thank you to NSUN for promoting and supporting our Hardship Fund for people with a mental illness / mental health condition, who are experiencing financial difficulties during COVID19. We have reached £8,000 thanks to everyone’s support and have had 51 applications so far.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to invite NSUN members to take part in #MadCovidDiaries – a service user-led project that aims to capture the experiences of people with a mental illness / mental health condition during COVID19.  At the moment we are particularly interested in hearing from men, people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and people who are receiving mental health services who are not in education or employment.
You can read more about #MadCovidDiaries here or get in touch by email: madcovid@gmail.com.”

Do you want to have a say on the human rights issues that affect you?
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The British Institute of Human Rights is creating, “Communities of Practice.” An online platform where people can:
  • ​Access our human rights resources and information during Covid-19 and beyond.
  • Join free Q and A sessions with BIHR.
  • Discuss and create change with people in a similar situation to you, whether that is about your life or your work (you might be accessing or working in/with public services).
  • Share your expert experience with us. This will inform what we tell those in positions of power about the human rights issues that impact you (whether that’s in your life or your work).
Working with people is important to us. As part of our first steps in setting up these Communities of Practice we want to involve you in the decisions we need to make. Which platform should we use? How should we arrange each community?
If you’re interested in being involved, please complete our quick survey. It should take 3-5 minutes and is your chance to give us your contact details and/or any ideas you have about how we make this work for you. Just follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/COP_StartUP
We plan to trial this approach to gather evidence for the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry on “The Government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications”. If you would like to let decision makers know the impact the response to Covid-19 has had on the lives and human rights of your community, please complete the survey.

#IncreaseDisabilityBenefits campaign tweet action 3rd June
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Thank you so much to everyone who’s taken such an active role in supporting our #IncreaseDisabilityBenefits campaign for the emergency Covid-19 £20 Universal Credit increase to be extended to other benefits. We’ve had over 114 thousand signatures on the petition and lots of support from MPs, which is brilliant.

But despite the clear strength of support for the increase to be extended to other benefits, all the DWP have said in response so far is that it would be too complicated for their computer system, and suggested people can move to Universal Credit instead. And as we all know, many disabled people could lose out badly through a move to Universal Credit, potentially losing thousands of pounds in transitional protection. And technical difficulties simply aren’t a good enough excuse for discriminating against disabled people.

So we’re taking action to let the government know these excuses are no reason to leave disabled people behind.

Next steps

Letter to Rishi Sunak and Tweet Action
On Wednesday 3rd June we will be sending a letter to Rishi Sunak about this campaign, and asking everyone who’s signed our petition to tweet at him. It would be hugely appreciated if you could get the message out to your members by tweeting on the day so we can try and make as much noise as possible.

Below are draft tweets you’re welcome to use.

If you have any questions at all, please do let us know!

Best wishes,
Ella and Emily
(DBC Campaigns Co-Chairs)


Please do edit as needed! But it would be great if you could use the #IncreaseDisabilityBenefits hashtag
(Note: the letter will be uploaded to our website ahead of the Wednesday morning)

“Computer says no” is no reason to discriminate against disabled people. And millions will lose out if they move to #UniversalCredit. No excuses left: @RishiSunak must now extend £20 Covid-19 increase to ALL out of work benefits https://bit.ly/IncreaseDisabilityBenefits #IncreaseDisabilityBenefits
People are being forced to choose between food, heating + medication. This must end. As part of the DBC, today we have written to @RishiSunak to act now + extend the emergency £20 #COVID19 increase to ALL out of work benefits: https://bit.ly/IncreaseDisabilityBenefits #IncreaseDisabilityBenefits

A new Mental Health Charter for Britain – call to action
Manchester Mental Health Charter Alliance
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Tom Griffiths of the Manchester Mental Health Charter Alliance writes a member’s blog here about the Manchester Charter, its history and its importance in fighting the injustices in the treatment of service users that persist today. He puts a call out to all of those who wish to see a new Mental Health Charter for Britain.
“We are publicising our Alliance in this bulletin in order to discover if our experiences of a crumbling system failing to deal with our expectations tally with yours – despite up-beat managerial claims to the contrary. We want to learn whether the Charter is just about what is going on in one Northern metropolis or whether our struggle is also your struggle.  If it is then please contact us at campaign.mhcharteralliance@gmail.com so that together we can secure justice with and for service-users and give you a platform to have your voice heard.”
Read the full article here

Exploring the lived experiences of loneliness and isolation with people with mental health problems during the COVID 19 pandemic in the UK
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The aim of this research study is to find out about the experiences of feeling lonely or isolated and how they may relate to experiences of mental health problems during the COVID pandemic and more generally.
Lived experience researchers are conducting telephone and online interviews with people with lived experience of mental illness to help us understand more about mental health and loneliness and how it relates to COVID 19 pandemic.
It will also help us to do further research looking at how to measure these things, or to develop ways of supporting people’s mental health and reducing loneliness and isolation particularly during pandemics.
Full information including ethics approvals is online here and you can email dop.pru@ucl.ac.uk if you’re interested in taking part or with any questions.

OTHER WAYS TO CARE III Beyond the Neo-liberal Madness
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Other Ways to Care III will take place on Friday 12th June, as part of the Antiuniversity Festival 2020, and we would love to count you in.
As a way of continuing the conversation, this year we will create RadioCare: an on the spot radio session, a virtual fonoplatea, a radio room created for sharing reflections, stories, observations, songs, opinions, silences, ruminations, noises, book fragments, poems, or nothing at all.
We wonder if you would want to take part by sending a short audio-file or text with your insights beforehand, and/or simply by joining the conversation on a radio evening (6:30 to 9:30 pm) that day.
Please do let us know if you would like to share something, attend, or if you have any other ideas/questions.
Paola, Rachel, Laura, Ludovica, Susana
Other Ways to Care

Young people and their mental health: new articles from NHS England
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The coronavirus outbreak is having an impact on everybody’s lives. At this time, it is understandable that children and young people may be feeling anxious and upset. Their life may feel unpredictable and out of control and their usual mechanisms of support through friends, family members and professionals will have changed and may be more limited.
Some children and young people with extra vulnerabilities will be facing greater challenges. We know that all professionals and services working with children and young people across the statutory, voluntary and independent sectors are doing their best to support children, young people and their families but as we move out of lock-down these anxieties may increase.
Children and Young People’s Mental Health services have adapted to the crisis by offering creative solutions and extra support to crisis lines, but we would like to go further in reaching out to let children, young people and those who support them know that help is available, and for this we seek your help.
We would like to draw your attention to two articles by Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan (the NHS’ Associate National Clinical Director for Children and Young People’s Mental Health), which are now on our website.
The first is on advice on what to do if you’re a young person and it’s all getting too much with mental ill health.
The second is advice for parents, guardians and carers on how to help and support a child or young person with mental ill health.

Intentional Peer Support Training
Hearts and Minds 
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Big news! Hearts & Minds have partnered with Intentional Peer Support to be able to deliver Peer Support Training to 18 young people (aged 16-30) across the UK! Our Director, Beth Ingram will be facilitating it alongside Mirabai Swingler, Founder of the ‘Only Us’ Campaign.
At the end of the course you will have an Intentional Peer Support Core Qualification which is recognised and respected by charities and NHS Services that employ peer support workers across the country.
Click here to find out more

LGBTIQ+ Death Cafe
LGBTIQ Outside
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“LGBTIQ+ Death Cafe is back on the 7th of June. You don’t have to have any direct experience of death to participate in LBGTIQ Outside‘s Virtual LGBTIQ+ Death Cafe – contact Jesse on community@lgbtiqoutside.org to RSVP”
Date: Sunday 7th June 
Time: 3.30 – 5pm

Self Injury Support
Covid-19 resources 
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If you haven’t already seen them, check out Self Injury Support’s excellent resources.
“There’s lots of advice springing up all over the internet about how to look after your mental health and wellbeing in self isolation, but what we’re hearing from people we support is that information isn’t so useful if you were already struggling with your mental health beforehand and many of the suggestions such as routines and home cooking feel impossible right now. We don’t pretend to have the answers but here are a few thoughts you might find useful.”
You can also watch Naomi Salisbury, Self Injury Support’s Director, talk about their work on this NSUN Covid Life video

South London Covid-19 Mental Health Prevention Summit`
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“South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust jointly with our local authorities: Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark invite you to take part in an urgent Mental Health Prevention Summit to address how we can work together to protect our communities’ mental health as result of Covid-19.
We will be joined by Gregor Henderson, Director of Mental Health at Public Health England, mental health experts and people with lived experience.
Please RSVP by registering here by 5pm Wed 27th May 2020 and we will share the joining instructions for the virtual summit.”
Date: Tuesday 2nd June 2020
Time: from 2:30pm – 4:30pm

Have you got something to say about access to care and support or to treatment during COVID-19?
Report your experience
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“We are the Be Human movement, which is hosted by Disability Rights UK and In Control.
We have set up this initiative because we believe it is important to maintain a public record of how disabled people and those who require care and support experience accessing care and treatment during the Coronavirus pandemic. It will be used to increase transparency and to influence the future policy and practice of government, the NHS and local councils. By contributing your experiences you will help to protect people’s lives and their future wellbeing.
If you are willing to share your experience, whether negative, positive or mixed, please take part by answering a few questions for us. You can ask someone you trust to help you complete the questionnaire.
Find out more and take the questionnaire here.”

People with learning disabilities – COVID19 Support and Action Group
Weekly Zoom meetings
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People First are holding weekly zoom meetings for people with learning difficulties/disabilities around the country.
The meetings are facilitated by Andrew Lee, Director of People First and Joanne Kennedy, Chair of Change.
“We meet every Wednesday 12.30pm – 2.30pm
Our meetings are an opportunity for people to talk about their feelings, concerns and ideas during the coronavirus lockdown. Please join us!
Email info@peoplefirstltd.com for more information and details on how to join.”`

National Voices’ Covid Conversations
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“Please take a look at our full schedule of webinars which we have planned for the next month. The webinar ‘National Voices’ Covid Conversations‘, focuses on health inequalities during the Covid-19 crisis. Register below and we’ll circulate joining details.

Long term conditions and leaving lockdown
Date: Friday 5th June
Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
We’ll be discussing issues around leaving lockdown and to agree upon shared messaging priorities. The focus will be on the need for proper public engagement around the plan to lift lockdown, and how people with long term conditions are impacted, their rights and the risks around them becoming invisible in society.
Register here.

Is Covid-19 widening the digital divide?
Date: Friday 19th June
Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
We’ll be looking at what’s working and what’s not in the move to a more digital society and healthcare system? What technology should be kept post crisis? Finally, is the move to digital exacerbating existing health inequalities?
Register here.”

Online Shopping Explained (for older people & carers)
Clear Community Web
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We are running 2 sessions for older people and carers to help simplify online shopping for those that may be thinking about starting to do this.
We will focus on food shopping initially, its benefits, creating shopping basket and safety. You can make good use of a supermarket website even without purchasing as it can help with choosing your items, nutrition advice and budgeting.
These are one off session on the 1st (now gone) and 15th June at 2pm. But we may run more or evolve the format if there is the demand.
If you would like to attend you can sign up on Eventbrite, email Caspar Kennerdale at caspar@clearcommunityweb.co.uk or call or send a WhatsApp on 07523 646 277 to get the Zoom link.
Find out more here

Talk for Health
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It’s important to take care of our emotional wellbeing, just as it is to take care of our bodies. One way of doing this is to connect in a truthful and empathic way with others.
Anyone who wants to take care of their wellbeing and support others.
Join us ONLINE for a Taster. Then you can: 
  • Join a TALK FOR HEALTH CAFE; continue talking for wellbeing and gain communication skills.
  • Sign up for our in-depth 4-day Talk for Health Programme, online.
  • Follow these with ongoing groups for strong peer networks.
It’s all FREE and is commissioned by the NHS. You will learn and have space for:
  • Honest talking – being the real you
  • Empathic listening
  • Basic counselling skills
  • How to set up and be part of an ongoing group to talk for wellbeing. 
Find out what we’re about and join us for our next Taster on:
Date: Wednesday 3rd June
Time: from 6-8pm
Sign up to a Taster here or for more information about who we are and what we do, you can subscribe to our newsletter by sending us an email at info@talkforhealth.co.uk

Jobs & Recruitment
Coordinator of Service User and Carer Involvement (in R&D)
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
We’re a large NHS Mental Health Trust in South East England. We’re looking for people to help us provide high quality services for the patients, carers and local communities we serve.
We want patients and staff to recommend our organisation as a place where they would be happy for their friends and family to be treated. You can help us do this by bringing your skills, experience and commitment to Sussex Partnership.
Find out more here.
Closing date: Thursday 11th June 2020, 23:59
Various posts
Inclusion London
Inclusion London are seeking to appoint Deaf or
Disabled people to the following posts:
  • Policy & Campaigns Officer
  • Communications & Media Officer
  • Nothing About Us Without Us Project co-ordinator
Click here to find out more and how to apply.
Closing date:  Monday 15th June 2020
Lived Experience Advisory Group
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The Violence Abuse & Mental Health Network (VAMHN) are currently looking for eight people with lived experience of violence or abuse and significant mental distress to join a new Lived Experience Advisory Group. The role of the group will be to comment on network activities and potentially develop survivor-led activities. The group is supported by a Lived Experience Coordinator. Group members will be compensated for time spent preparing for and attending meetings at £20 per hour, and expenses will be reimbursed.  Meetings will be held remotely during COVID-19 pandemic. We expect to run up to 3 half-day meetings per year. Please note that you will not be asked to share details of your personal experiences at any point. 
We would also like to hear from you if you are interested in getting involved but don’t feel able to submit an application right now.
Find out more and apply here.
Closing date: Sunday 14th June, midnight
Underground Lights
Article ImageThe Underground Lights Board of Trustees meet at least four times a year and are responsible for the successful and legal running of the charity We’re a passionate and committed team – and we’re looking for people to help guide us towards success.
Find out more here

There are currently no face-to-face events. Please see listings above for virtual meetings.

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