Gosport – May 2018

Opening question :How can we, as a community, bridge the gap regarding lack of information on next steps to tackle isolation?

Part I

How do people access info?
There’s masses but then finding particular information is hard
The council are starting a directory
You belong Gosport – to tackle isolation and loneliness
Solent health guide – newsletter every month – takes a lot of work
Managing and updating them is huge
Often done by volunteers, hard to get paid
Could signpost to the council one
What are the next steps?
1st steps? What are they?
In 2 minds about coming if a text message from group it would have been easier to attend
The personal touch is important eg text
The gap – is this those who are isolated who can’t access internet??
Getting the info on how to get it to educate people about where the info is
Online is where it all is. Education on how to do the internet is needed!
BT still puts their directories through the door, maybe we need a drop in one
GP surgeries have a screen where you could pay to advertise but unlikely to endorse
Directories are around – they already don’t work. What is it htat stops them working?
Putting it through the door might be better
People don’t know what they actually need
Probably why GP surgeries get so many people visiting
? badge things as something other than MH
Badging it as mental health might keep people away.
Good social networks come about via other means like singing groups
Directories are often consumerist based
Human to human contact is the best way
‘Contact mentors’ or something like that would work better
Leaflets go straight in the bin
Asking people what is important in their lives is important
People lose their sight of what’s important when wrapped in problems
Do something that’s important to you or that you enjoy every day
Want to move away from MH to mental wellbeing a more positive use of language
Hence use ‘good’ before MH
If very isolated, depressed or anxious the hardest thing is to step into a room of people you don’t know, even when mentally healthy this is a challenge
It’s excruciating when unwell
If not badging it as MH you automatically exclude yourself from normal community events
Personal contacts – meeting somebody who will help you get out the door
Swap numbers, 1st meet social events could still be intimidating
Random mix of people hard to connect to
Homestart were great, 1 person comes and that’s a great start
Good starting point
The label of MH means you will meet others that may have similar issues
Interest groups – bring something to do in a room with other people, no need to talk or interact just being around others can be enough.
Family events could be good – this would encourage reduction in isolation
Good for carers to share
We isolate ourselves, it is often family that help to bring you out again
Barriers that come up to human contact
Often put up our own barriers
Initial isolation is necessary often but then we get used to it and it’s hard to get out of
Everything in moderation
Sometimes we get emotional and that’s really hard
These strong emotions are wrapped up in isolation
We have to feel and need to feel it but does it become a barrier?
As a community how do we manage this?
We don’t acknowledge enough how intense and strong emotions are
In our culture emotions are not quite acceptable to express
Emotions do drive behaviour
They are so strong we can act on them without thinking
Managing emotions might be helpful
Honesty is best for bridging the gap
We ask – How are you? – we answer – fine
In other cultures asking this question gets a proper answer
You talk about your own issues, the next person talks about their issues and isolation decreases.
It is difficult to know if that other person wants to know, need to be discerning
Put yourself out there a bit, if you don’t want to know how I am don’t ask me
Major barrier, language ‘all right?’ means hello not really an inviataion to share
Don’t have time to stop for a conversation
Not everyone can hear story – it can be context driven
Is it around creating a culture that will allow that more real human contact and permission for emotions to be shared is important?
Awareness – how might the other person feel after talking to us?
Being aware of our impact on others
Personal responsibility and allowing others to be responsible for themselves.
Mind reading isn’t helpful cos we often thing of negative reasons
Awareness and honesty are very very important
Remember how diverse we all are
? wondering if isolation can be tackled by services or is it up to all of us to make the change?

Part II- Can isolation really be tacked by services or is it up to all of us to make the change?

We all have to make changes but we may need support from services to do that
There is a role for all
Services that have more power and resource need to support people to change
Is this open for abuse? In a bad crowd
The services can tell us things aren’t bad and we don’t listen
Anti bulling ethics in institutions but in social situations it still happens
Targeting someone for making them feel less than you = bullying
That temperament pulls on the need for inclusion – if you do this you’ll be in…
The dark side of inclusion
More places to go here then in France if want to drop in
No institution can be responsible
1st individuals, then community then support from services
Take care of yourself, family, neighbours etc. Community supported by institutions
Rural areas – actual physical isolation
Things get isolated in town centres too
Travel to more remote areas is not as good as it was
People could make it their role to go into community and deal with it.
There could be a mutual relationship
Services need to be able to point people to community resources
Health trainers
Everything changes constantly
Front line workers don’t know because its’ constantly changing
Current funding doesn’t allow experience
GPs in Pompey have target events, they were not interested as community services were not already endorsed by NHS or city councils
Feels hopeless so community services don’t attend
GPs are the first port of call for everything, they need to work with the community
They are worried about their reputation
Power – releasing this to other services in anxiety provoking for them
Accountability – litigious society also a factor, the blame culture
Structure – contracting arrangements – you become concerned about the contracts etc losing staff and resources and less focussed on the business of the organisation.
This is the same in France
Mental health is mainly seen by GP and the result is take meds, the rest will come from the community
Medical system won’t connect you to people who need to meet other link minded people
Bringing different systems that are complimentary
There is a need for both
How to help people build that honesty and interaction
What would the help from institutions look like?
Having an enabling approach
An aim of allowing people to be in control of their own lives
Not necessarily to ‘do’ things for people to get them better
Treatment is important but is a stepping stone to live your own life
Enabling – Portsmouth introduced this service – why haven’t we had this before? Before people were boing put into homes etc and being done to
Rewarding dependency and keep them dependant.
Enabling needs a new mindset
Structure to allow personal responsibility
Encourage self-help, encouraged to try things
Back to family they’re the first link or neighbours
Need to educate families – this is important
Not to expect cure but to prevent
See the GP to prevent, see regularly
In the east doctors feel they have failed if you even become sick
Here we go to the GP when we’re very poorly already
Managing expectations – we often go expecting cure
Education – shifting thoughts needs to start at school
Learning about emotions
For kids to learn language of emotions
If naming them it changes the emotion a little, something known is less likely to overwhelm
Often a cause of isolation
In therapy we get taught definitions of emotions etc
Define isolation by figuring out what is causing it
Via relationships we can sometimes figure this out
Do we naturally do it? Some do
Some don’t mental health issues maybe as a result of not knowing emotions
Kindness and compassion to each other and to ourselves is essential
We beat ourselves up a lot, learn to be kind ot ourselves
There are different types of isolation
Some see no one for weeks or months
Missing others, loss moving etc
Existential isolation in mental health issues this form becomes very powerful
Philosophy groups might work, things like death cafes
We are out of balance if we are kind to others but not kind to ourselves.

Next theme decided is: How do we harbour kindness and compassion for ourselves and does that affect the kindness and compassion we can show to others?