Southampton – May 2016

18 May 2016

16 people attended this first Mental Wealth Trialogue event in Southampton. Of those, 12 identified themselves as having lived experience, 3 as carers, 7 as professionals, and 6 as being a member of the public.

Part 1

How can MH be promoted in communities?

Postcode lottery, many services cut in some areas and other good ones in areas where only certain people are allowed to go depending on postcode. This is so frustrating.

Wellbeing centres are so helpful, they are needed in Southampton.

Many districts here very badly provided for.

There is support for students at the university.

Wellbeing needs to be promoted in schools

Self-compassion is important

Being allowed to express emotion is also important

We need to start early, saying that it is ok to be emotional

People and young people have to wait until symptoms of mental distress are severe before getting help, help should be there before this point.

Parents also need to know they are not to blame, children will just be sad sometimes, it’s normal

Honest conversations are required – sometimes life is crap, this reality needs to get into schools too.

HCC is cutting so many vital services for support for MH and for families.

People are still reluctant to say when they need help with MH issues

This means people wait and then sometimes get so bad they have to be frog marched towards help

It goes against you at work.

Stigma – people are seen as weak as they have a problem

Creative options is local and run by the people in it, this is working well

What we do to look after our own MH?

Pets, meditation, creativity all help.

Stigma – stops us thinking what’s good for our MH

Changing people’s views is a slow process

People don’t understand MH in the community, so special services are preferred.

The need to be understood drives this, empathy from others.

People who understand Facilitating it, not a separate service as such but knowing that you are with people who can accept emotional reactions.

Cultural issues are important, different ways of expressing emotion, GB way is quite repressive.

We don’t want to tell people when we feel bad.

The café club was the perfect place to go but ran into financial difficulties, Bedford house day centre also lost. Where have services gone?

It is difficult not to be political in MH as there are so many social issues

Volunteers could run something, without any judgement, still likely to be some costs

What about our own living rooms?  We could serve the community in our own areas. Mixed feelings about this.

Local community centres can be sympathetic

Would like self-help centres where people can meet weekly with others they feel comfortable with.

If you all feel comfortable together, even with MH issues you can still have a laugh.

We could donate a pound or two towards the venue used.

It is important to do something earlier in the process of MH issues to prevent deterioration

When you become ill, recovery doesn’t necessarily mean getting back to work.

Society isn’t really interested, sensitive employers are required

At what point do we recognise when concerns are coming up?

Concentration with depression is very hard, puts extra stress on us when feeling vulnerable.

Is recognition of physical and MH interaction betting better? – Feeling is yes

Lots of people have psychosomatic symptoms first or high emotional states can lead to physical collapse

Much education to be done about wellbeing.

Mindfulness and wellbeing should be essential in schools

A Wellbeing Action Plan (WRAP) for each child!

Also for each new job and so on!!

Happy people are productive people!

Part 2

Is recognition of physical and MH interaction getting better

There is definitely a link between them

It wasn’t recognised by professionals until about 4 years ago

Some awful things have been done in the name of psychiatry

Parity of esteem they say, but not parity of funding is there?

MH comes off in an unfavourable light as not so easy to measure

The influence of life events affects outcomes in MH too.

We could do a lot of learning from the likes of Alcoholics Anonymous

Advocacy and voice

The best support we get is from each other.

Funding often equals compromise and this can derail projects

A barrier to creating what we want is having to compromise and come up with outcomes at the beginning.

Collaboration is better than compromise

Services expend energy on people who aren’t ready to engage

‘You’re not bad enough, you’re doing ok, go home’ – have to wait till crisis – silly

Organisations could help establish smaller groups eg. MIND could give their backing more

There are some good things out there but we don’t always get to hear about them

Communication of local resources is an issue

MIND is now felt to be an agent of the state, AA has managed to maintain it’s independence.

2 people a week are killing themselves in Southampton?

It’s on the website – not good enough, not everyone has a computer, some people can’t use them due to ill health too.

If people don’t know about a service, no one attends, the service then fails.

Acceptance that MH is perpetual is required, it is always good to talk

Raising awareness – acceptance that there is a problem rather than suffering in silence. There is only a formal path = GP or MH services, they can be very judgemental.

Those who are societally minded can can feel really deeply on behalf of others to the extent that it can make you ill.

Everyone’s MH is important, this seems to be a bit more known now.

There is still so much negativity around the labels and admitting limits publicly.

Peer led – the recovery college can be really powerful if accessible to all.

Power = tackling stigma and being able to be honest and able to share.

Within the MH profession, you aren’t allowed to be ill, there is stigma there too.

MH issues are not limited to people diagnosed with mental illnesses.

It is non-discriminatory although wealth can insulate you to some degree.

Some celebrities have really helped eg. Ruby Wax with her Black Dog Tribe

MI is linked to a stressful lifestyle

Everybody is different , we need individual care.

A peer led network is required.

Society sometimes looks on groups of people as if they are MH uses even if they don’t eg. Those using the food banks.

Some people can manage quite well even with depression.

Language impacts on our understanding

Something said can ignite such emotion in one but be seen very differently by another.

This is sometimes driven by stigma in MH

Persons we support become PWS – this colours how we see them, it can become professional jargon

When we speak from the heart it can sound really shocking.

Does the language we use matter?

There is a power imbalance between those who use the services and those who provide it.

In order to eliminate barriers we should discuss a common language

Categorising people isn’t effective, we are all individual


Questions considered for next time:

How far should customers be involved in designing services?

How do we keep on top of our mental wellness?

Does the language we use matter? – after a somewhat boisterous discussion about the word customer and other this question was agreed on!