19 May

National Survivor User Network (NSUN) Bulletin – 18 May 2020

Welcome to the Monday 18th May 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.
We’ve had the first investment panel of the NSUN Covid-19 fund, and have started contacting successful applicants. So far, we’ve received over 160 applications. 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. 
You may also be interested in applying for the Resourcing Racial Justice fund, a coalition of people of colour (POC) innovators, change makers, activists, artists and social leaders dedicated to social change. Together, they have established a new UK-wide funding pool to support individuals and communities working towards racial justice. If you are working with older people, please check out the Independent Age Grants Fund. Organisations can apply to receive up to £15,000 each.
If you have a moment, please check out the latest posts in our new #NSUNCovidLife series of blogs and videos by our members, including Naomi talking about Self-Injury Support, and Clare Shaw sharing her thoughts on lockdown.
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.
in Health and Human Rights Journal 
in Mad Covid Diaries
in Mad in America
by Frances Ryan in The Guardian
in Mental Health Today
in Mad in Asia
by Cina Aissa

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. 
NHS Covid-19 track and trace app
This app, currently trialling in the Isle of Wight, is due to be launched in the UK “mid-May”.
You can read the latest info about the app here.
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.

Independent Age launches a Grants Fund
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Independent Age has launched a Grants Fund.

Coronavirus has changed the lives of everyone in the UK, but this is particularly true for our older generation who remain amongst the most affected. Before coronavirus struck the nation, Independent Age was exploring how to strengthen collaboration with older people and local organisations with the aim of shaping a more active role in supporting communities. But right now, our focus must be directed towards the current crisis. We can’t do this alone which is why our trustees have released £2 million from Independent Age’s funds to help smaller organisations across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the virus.

Find out more here.

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

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.

Psychiatrists see alarming rise in patients needing urgent and emergency care and forecast a ‘tsunami’ of mental illness
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A press release from the Royal College of Psychiatrists says that they are seeing an alarming rise in patients needing urgent and emergency care and forecast a ‘tsunami’ of mental illness.
  • 43% of psychiatrists have seen an increase in urgent and emergency cases following the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • At the same time, 45% of psychiatrists have seen a fall in their most routine appointments, leading to fears of a ‘tsunami’ of mental illness after the pandemic.
  • Psychiatrists are alarmed by both the drop-off in routine work, especially in CAMHS and old age psychiatry, and by the increase in urgent cases.
  • RCPsych is calling for investment in mental health services to be prioritised to enable services to cope with a surge in mental health cases after the COVID-19 peak is passed.
Read more here

Mental health and money advice for COVID-19 outbreak
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At Mental Health and Money advice, we support anyone who is struggling with their money as well as the impact of those financial worries affecting their mental health.
Before our service launched in 2017, our research highlighted four million people in the UK have both mental health and money problems, and a further four million are at risk because of their financial difficulties.
Due to recent events with COVID-19, these numbers are expected to rise as many people will find themselves needing to access the benefits systems when they have never had to before. Knowing where to start is the first step to taking control and planning.
Whilst focus is on people’s physical health at the moment, the fallout and dramatic changes will take a toll on people’s financial wellbeing as well as their mental health. We provide vital information and links to help provide support during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Go to this page on the Mental Health & Money Advice website where you will find lots of information.

Understanding violence, abuse and mental health
WATCH: VAMHN webinar
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Domestic violence in these times of pandemic has sadly been on the increase and hitting the headlines of late.
Violence Abuse & Mental Health Network (VAMHN) ran a webinar on 12th May last week on understanding violence, abuse and mental health.
You can watch the webinar here

Human Rights – How can we unlock them?
Training session
BIHR have teamed up with Learning Disability England to provide a free online session for people with learning disabilities, autistic people & family to learn how human rights can help
you build & keep an independent life.
Date: Friday 22nd May, (Zoom meeting)
Time: 10 – 11 amArticle Image
Find out more here

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.

Food security
Date: Friday 22 May
Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
We’ll be looking at access to food for people who shielding, what does this look like and what are the issues? Also, explore the concerns around food insecurities and the impact on mental health and eating disorders.
Register here.

Long term conditions and leaving lockdown
Date: Friday 29 May
Time: 1:00 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 5 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

The Impact of COVID 19 on Disabled Women from Sisters of Frida
Voices of Disabled women in the pandemic
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Sisters of Frida are an experimental collective of disabled women sharing experiences, mutual support and relationships. 
They have just published a paper titled “The Impact of COVID 19 on Disabled Women from Sisters of Frida.”
“This paper started as a brief but we sent the first version in response to the Women and Equalities Unequal impact: Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the impact on people with protected characteristics. We know that the experiences of Disabled women are not visible in the wider response to COVID-19.
The need to add the narratives focused on Disabled women is the reason for this paper. We feel that the narrative about Disabled women, when available, is very one dimensional. There is no consideration that Disabled women occupy multiple roles, we are diverse and any considerations have to be viewed through an intersectional lens. We are strongly aware that new measures under the Coronavirus COVID-19 2020 Act threaten rights-based protections and reduce our independent living and in some cases our lives.”
Read more and download the paper here

The Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN) has been announced as the new Independent Facilitator for the Greater Manchester Adult Mental Health Service User Network
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The Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN) has been announced as the new Independent Facilitator for the Greater Manchester Adult Mental Health Service User Network.
IMHN will be working closely with people with lived experience of mental health problems and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to develop a strong network that will influence the design and shape of mental health support across the region.
Click here to find out more

Synergi Launches Covid-19 Survey to Document the Experiences of Ethnic Minority People with Lived Experience of Severe Mental Illness and their Carers
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The Synergi Collaborative Centre has just launched a survey to capture and document how ethnic minority people with lived experience of severe mental illness and their carers are coping during Covid-19, which will inform the creation of a digital journal platform.
The survey will be open for at least three months and the findings will be used to impact policy, particularly in light of the disproportionate impact Covid-19 is having on ethnic minority communities and frontline workers.
You can access the survey by clicking on the links below:
Official survey link (https://bit.ly/2Sz7Frn)
Large text version (https://bit.ly/2WrQ4T8)

Callout for BPD diagnosis poetry writers
Birkbeck, Uni of London
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Have you been given a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)/Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) now or in the past? Have you written any poetry about the experience of having the label?
If so, would you like to take part by submitting a poem for a study that will be using poetry to inform a critique of the BPD/EUPD diagnosis? For further information, please contact Louisa via email at lharve03@mail.bbk.ac.uk
#BPD  #bpdchat

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 20th May
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

Have you had experience of or cared for someone who was accessing occupational therapy?
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At a time when the world is changing before our eyes, we are working to identify the research priorities for Occupational Therapy. Have you had experience of accessing occupational therapy or cared for someone who was accessing occupational therapy? If so then please complete our online survey at www.rcot.co.uk/researchpriorities before it closes on 20 May. It’s one of the few therapies that covers both mental and physical health, and it’s going to be even more important as the health and social care sector addresses the new challenge of COVID-19. Pleasae tell us what you think is important and needs research.
Closing date:  Wed 20th May, 5pm
For further information, please contact jenny.macdonnell@rcot.co.uk or ruth.unstead-joss@rcot.co.uk or go to www.rcot.co.uk/otpsp

Jobs & Recruitment
Interim Managing Director
Invitation for Expressions of Interest for post to start 1st July
(Application by Cover letter/CV
The HEAR Network of London’s Equality and Human Rights VCS is a small organisation starting an important new phase in its development. As an important part of this we are appointing an Interim Managing Director, part time, fixedterm.
Post start date: 1st July, 2 days a week, 9 months initially with temporary extension subject to funding. £35,000 pro rata. The post is likely to include remote working.
  • Enabling the HEAR Network to work towards its goal of greater equality and human rights in London, laid out in HEAR’s constitution and 5 Year Strategic Plan (presented to HEAR AGM on 23rdJan 2020);
  • Close coordination and communication with trustees;
  • Facilitating and supporting HEAR’s operationaland project activities, plus financial and strategic development by ensuring effective development and use of management systems, structures, finance and fundraising
  • Supporting and line managing staff;
  • Work to establish a sustainable post and full equal opportunities recruitment of Managing Director going forward.
Send cover letter and CV to express your interest and you will be sent a FD and further details.
Closing date (sumbit cover letter and CV): Tues 26th May, midday
Lived Experience Advisory GroupArticle Image
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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