Portsmouth – Nov 2016

Eighteen people attended this Trialogue discussion in Portsmouth. Of those 11 identified themselves as having lived experience, 4 as carers or family members, 5 as professionals and 7 as interested public.

Opening question : Responding to our abilities – How can we help ourselves and pull together?

Part I

Co-counselling – getting together formally once or twice a week. Regular opportunity to vent, each has time.

Knowing you have an opportunity to let things out can really help with coping. This could be set up in groups or in one to ones

Peace of mind groups exist, people get together to talk about stuff that may have upset their peace of mind. Then brainstorm how to help, identify what helps peace of mind. Share strategies others have used.

Social media is good for this too but can also become a burden

Peer support – others can see stuff in us that we can’t always see in ourselves.

Do we feel confident as a friend, colleague, relative to voice what we see to others?

Finding someone brave enough to point out if they spot things is hard, even when people do spot things they often don’t say, finding that confidence is hard to speak up.

We can look after others but seeing/dealing with our own issues isn’t so easy.

Social media allows for supportive relationships and information sharing


People who know us well can be well placed for feedback

Groups and routines are good for some

Consistency is really important

Honesty should be encouraged, this should help us move forward towards a more tolerant future which then breeds more honesty and reduces stigma.

Be direct and ask when possible eg. Are you suicidal? This is really important it could save people

Relationships are really important.

Support for those who support others too

Getting to know each other is essential

If we talk about how we are to each other and help them understand

Friends are great but it is a worry that they will become overburdened

Someone outside the family like a drop-in or somewhere where people can talk.

Carers centre does exist

Wellbeing centre recently opened in Portsmouth, you can self-refer there but there is a small charge. If you are referred it is free.

The Lifehouse on the 1st and 3rd Monday evening., there is an informal peer support group for people with depression and their carers.

Moodscope too, online resource useful for measuring your mood.

Everyone keeps running out of money.


Off the record are having to close, this is a great loss

Can’t have consistency as things keep closing

What is happening!!!

There is lots of anger regarding this dishevelled situation

Many people also have useful personal blogs about how they deal with things

Support is needed, it is disgusting the way things are.

Things are needed out of town too, not just in town

There should be a selection of services in various areas to choose from

There are community rooms in some supermarkets which can be booked for free.

One of us could volunteer to host a wellbeing group there once a week, let’ s do it!

Part II

Opening question: How can good MH awareness be developed?

Lots of people talking about it and money to invest in school children

Parity of esteem, good joke.

Mental health still massively under resourced compared to huge physical health drives we see

Supermarkets could help regarding advertising to show what is going on in the local area re. mental health

It needs to be higher  up in the public psyche

Community centre advertising mental health related stuff

This is important to raise the profile of mental health and reduce stigma

Also it would be good to raise the profile of what the mental health benefits are to things that are already out there eg. Yoga, exercise

Holism is required, we are whole people both physical and mental

We need to challenge stigma wherever we see it

Toxic Release

Make people aware when they are being discriminated against

Currently there is still a risk that our sharing of mental health related things will backfire

Even within families stigma is still really active

being open should be a good thing, being open is likely to be the way positive change will happen, to change the way mental health issues are viewed.

We all have bad days

If we are honest that can spread awareness

At university eg. speak out about it

Cultural differences are clear eg. in Spain it is normal to speak about emotions and be emotional in public in a way it isn’t in the UK

Emotional talk needs to be normalised

Mixing age groups really can work too so wisdoms can be shared

Old can help young and young can help old

Increases the sense of community

having a history of mental health issues can be enough to make people avoid you whereas others, when they know you are ill will share their own experiences which is more helpful

Lots of difficult language which we use freely eg. mad, mental  and so on. How can we use and reclaim the language without having to put up with the more discriminatory sides?

An open mind is needed particularly in view of cultural differences eg. the Chinese way is to be much more reserved and keep to oneself, this is normal cultural differences need to be known

Avoiding emotional talk can leave one without the language to describe emotion

Students are creating themselves as people so they need this language to help them develop

This has implications for society to see how things are changing and developing eg. Homo was a crime once but now we are on the right track with this. Cancer was also problematic but there is now more awareness.

The more people are familiar with it and the more they know the less scary it becomes

There are more celebrities talking about mental health

learning about emotions is important in schools

crying is seen as negative, as is anxiety and anger. But it is a positive thing if one can cry and negative emotions need to be aired.

It seems particularly hard for men and linked to masculinity

It is important that we bring our children up to be able to express emotions

openness and awareness re mental health with reduce stigma

Self Reliance

We need to strive to understand others and in doing so we can find this helps us.

greater focus on developing self-reliance is also important

it can be agonising to get to the place where we get it

talk about feelings and events as normal

alcohol to help manage problems is used a lot in the UK

Funding for the Trialogues is in jeopardy currently

What are the concrete things we can do to improve things re mental health?

Both as a community and individuals.

there should be something for everyone across Portsmouth

Practical ideas we can think about to change the future.

Next theme decided is:   What concrete things can we do as a community and as individuals to improve mental health and how and when do we put these into practice?