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As part of a mental health history project funded by the Heritage Lottery, our project group have created a short survey to begin gathering people’s memories of using or working in mental health services.
We know there are some of you whose memories go back at least 50 years to the 1960s, but you don’t have to go back that far! Memories from 10 years ago are just as welcome.
We’re particularly interested in your memories of the hospitals in South East Hampshire – St.James Hospital in Portsmouth and Knowle Hospital in Wickham. However any memories of being in contact with mental health services are welcome – whether as a service user, a carer or family member, a visitor, or as a worker.
Here are some examples of memories shared so far:
“My grandmother was a night nurse and used to ride around the grounds on her bike taking over staff breaks. She also used to feed the feral cats. This was in the 1960’s.”
“The length of the main corridor and the diversity of activity it contained. Patients, Doctors, Nurses, Porters, Visitors and others. Walking, strolling, leaning, talking, arguing, working and smoking, it was like the High Street in a small town, I was fascinated.”
“Hazy memories of the staff. Going into a different ward to the one I was in and telling everyone to wake up and get up in the middle of the night. Giving a signed agreement to receive ECT without the knowledge or agreement of kin. This was rectified as I mentioned signing something to my husband at visiting time a short time later. I have always felt relief that I didn’t receive that particular cure although I have heard that it was found to be beneficial in some cases.”
The planned election hustings, ‘Social Justice and Mental Health’ in Portsmouth, had to be cancelled in the aftermath of the tragic events in Manchester. However, we followed up by sending all the aspiring parliamentary candidates the list of five questions prepared by Mind, the national mental health charity, for the election campaign.
Mental health has been highlighted as a key policy priority early in the 2017 election campaign, with proposals to change the law, provide additional staff in mental health services, bring an end to discrimination in employment practice, and deliver Mental Health First Aid training in all schools – among others.
We were delighted to be invited to two events at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth recently. First we took part in a staff wellbeing event to mark World Health Day, and had a very busy day talking to a wide range of hospital staff browsing the stalls. The children’s books published by the Sanity Company proved particularly popular, and we were able to promote our Human Library event which took place the following week.
We brought the Hampshire Human Library to the main entrance of Queen Alexandra Hospital thanks to an invitation from the Patient Experience team. This was a great opportunity to engage with staff, patients and relatives and challenge stigma through the power of one to one conversations.
Join us on Wednesday 29 March for the next Mental Wealth Trialogue in Southampton.
A ‘Trialogue’ group is a neutral space where people can gather to develop their understanding on mental health issues, including the challenges of maintaining good mental health, and to transform thinking on developing better services and healthy communities.
The Trialogue event will be from 6 – 8 pm at the Old Chemist in Bitterne Park, Southampton.
Interested in the history of local mental health care?
Thanks to the Heritage Lottery, we’re launching a new programme to offer training in research skills alongside a focus on good mental health and wellbeing. Monthly workshops from March will support volunteers in undertaking a chosen research project looking at an aspect of mental health care within the last 100 years.
With the planned closure of St.James Hospital, we were inspired to develop this programme as a way of exploring and preserving a social heritage which has profoundly influenced mental health care to the present day. We believe this will also increase understanding and help to challenge stigma and prejudice.
The programme will run throughout 2017, culminating in a public exhibition to celebrate the research findings of the volunteers.
We’re holding two introductory workshops on 16 and 21 February in Portsmouth so that people can find out more about the programme, and how to apply.
We’ve delivered two Hampshire Festivals of the Mind so far – in 2014 and May this year – on a shoestring with fantastic support from people volunteering to help. We need your votes to help us fund a third Festival so it can reach more people and bring about much needed change in how mental health support is offered in schools, communities and health services.
PLEASE VOTE FOR US!!!!
We urgently need your support for our bid to raise funds for the next Festival of the Mind in October 2017.