Tag Archives: Mental Health

Time to talk?

This month the mental health team is giving its support to the new campaign hoping to end discrimination against mental health.

It’s time to talk, it’s time to change.

The statistics show that 1 in 4 of us will need help from Mental Health services during our adult lives. However, we also notice that if we break a leg we celebrate it with our friends, signing the cast and showing us care, but if we have a mental health problem we keep it to ourselves and our friends may even avoid us. This campaign wishes us all to address this imbalance.

As someone who has suffered depression I welcome this initiative. I have always believed that I have the right to talk about my experience and be accepted for who I am. The response I get when telling people about my mental health issues is varied. I have met incredulity, one student’s reply on hearing I was a service user was “no you’re not”.

I was not believed because I did not fit their idea of how the mentally ill present. I have also met with a lot of kindness and a wish to know more. Talking about mental health also empowers those students who have issues themselves. I have found that those who have felt alone with their problems, and there are more than you think, welcome this approach

So now it’s up to you. Get involved in this campaign, end the silence and misconceptions about mental health issues and be a friend. Hopefully a little bit of kindness and care will help someone return to a healthy happy life.

The following addresses will take you to the websites where there is a lot of information for you to read

Time to change campaign website Facebook page & Twitter

New Perinatal mental health care course

(This is a post by Pam Morley, Senior Lecturer at Birmingham City University)
pregnant

Many people are aware of possible mental health problems associated with pregnancy but do people realise how destructive these can be?  Suicide in the perinatal period is the highest cause of maternal death in the UK.  Also, maternal depression prior to the baby’s birth can increase the risk of birth complications and poorer birth outcomes, including higher rates of spontaneous abortion, low birth weight babies and developmental delay.  Again, anxiety in the mother has been shown to be linked to poorer child health and behavioural difficulties at the age of four years.

National Perinatal Mental Health Project

The National Perinatal Mental Health Project Report, published by the Mental Health Development Unit on 8th March 2011 examines provision of mental health care for women who are planning to have a baby, are pregnant or who have had a baby in the past year or so.  In particular the report examines the current provision of care for women in the Black and Ethnic Minority groups.  (http://www.nmhdu.org.uk/silo/files/national-perinatal-mental-health-project-report-.pdf)

Seamless care?

As I was reading this report one finding struck me as being very significant; namely that 27 different professional groups may be involved in the care of women with mental health difficulties who are in the perinatal period.   How can all these different groups work together to provide seamless, efficient care?   After all, many of them will have been trained in different ways and use various theories to underpin their practice.

So, how can care be co-ordinated and dove-tailed together?  The answer is fairly straightforward, I think.  It is the mental health nurse who is at the hub of the multidisciplinary ‘wheel’ together with the service user.  It is the mental health nurse who spends time with the service user, who is the conduit through which messages are passed and information carried.  Perhaps we should be highlighting this aspect of our role much more.  Forget superconductors; just get a mental health nurse involved!

Post-graduate certificate in perinatal mental health at Birmingham City University

Seriously though, we should be promoting this aspect of our role, and giving it the value that it deserves.  Without the nurse to ‘glue’ the team together, care would be a lot more fragmented.  The importance of communication is a strong aspect of a new post-graduate certificate in perinatal mental health being run at Birmingham City University.   This is a brand new course, designed b y academics and clinicians together and aimed at any health care professionals who work with women in the perinatal period.  If you would like more information about the course, please email pam.morley@bcu.ac.uk.

(Pictures from Flickr creative commons click photos for more details re authors)

Medication errors

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I was just reading a report from the National Patient Safety Agency entitled ‘Safety in Doses’ (See link below). This report gives a review of medication errors reported to them during 2007.  The majority of these involve general medical settings although 9% of them (6551) happened within mental health services. Luckily, 96% of all incidents are not serious, in that nobody got hurt – however there were 100 cases of death and severe harm.

In mental health and learning disabilities settings the most common problems are caused by omission of anti-convulsant medications, generally, omission of medications is a serious problem. Incidents involving methadone and clozapine were also frequently seen. A big problem is found in the interface between primary and secondary care settings. Given the complexity of modern mental health care provision the number of such interfaces and the potential for confusion is greatly increased.

I can remember a couple of incidents from practice in which medication was administered incorrectly. Fortunately neither case caused any harm to anyone but I will never forget the feeling of absolute horror when I realised what had happened.

General Views Of The UK's Major HospitalsLess fortunate were the patients being cared for by these Nurses practising at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham – I can remember reading about this truly dreadful incident.  It is very easy to understand the anger felt by the widow of of one of the patients killed.

How many of us can say that we have never made a mistake when working with drugs?

Those of you who are a little older will remember the ‘drugs assessment’ that every student nurse had to pass. This involved studying the contents of a drug trolley, learning the nature and purpose of every drug as well as it’s usual dosage and most common side effects. It was a tough test to pass!

I just wonder if we need something like this now?

I guess a lot of people will say that nurses are often working in stressful situations, there isn’t always the level of staffing & resources needed to do things as well as we would like. I certainly don’t think that all errors are down to nurses lacking knowledge.

What others think? Do you as qualified staff feel that students are as well prepared as they ought to be? – what about students, are you ready to take responsibility for administering medication? Also, if there are errors being made then why do you think this happens?

I would really love to hear from people.

Link to National Patient Safety Agency report

Photo at top of blog from Flickr creative commons by Charles Williams (click on picture)

PS On an unrelated note I had an email from the RCN asking that I draw your attention to the RCN election website – there are two links below for your attention

www.rcn.org.uk/generalelection

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nursing-counts/268071293877?v=wall

A Critical Observation of Critical Insurance

Like many people, I have a mortgage and with it, the necessary life insurance. With mine, I took out the ‘critical cover’ – what this means is that if I die, the mortgage is paid off and if I become ill and cannot work, then the mortgage is paid off. But stop…if I become ill? No, if I become physically ill. Mental illness doesn’t come into it. It’s not covered in any shape or form. Not even a whisper. Basically then, you are not allowed to have a mortgage AND a mental illness. Don’t even think about it. You are being greedy having both things.

I have thought a lot about this. I understand the need to cater for someone who loses limbs and so cannot work or someone who develops a terminal illness and so obviously has other priorities than working. I understand that many conditions can stop a person from having a sufficient income that allows them to pay a mortgage. 

I also understand that insurance companies would probably be inundated with claims if mental illness was included – I am certain that many dishonest people would try to make a claim by claiming a mental illness. But hang on a minute, we have psychiatrists don’t we? And aren’t insurance companies renowned for putting in clauses? Why can’t there be a clause that states a mental illness ‘that has lasted at least 6 months and prevents the claimant from working and is under the care of an appropriate medical consultant and is receiving appropriate treatment’? Hopefully the false claims would be weeded out – please note that the sentence above is from my insurance documents but is applied to physical conditions.

The insurance company is willing to weed out false claims for physical conditions but will not even entertain the idea of even considering a genuine claim for mental illness. Why not mental illness?  We know that with many illnesses people are simply unable to work but here they do not have the benefit of insurance that others may have.

But I begin from a false ideal, that life is fair.

 

Pictures from Flickr commons

1. Shark House by Mattyboyjim

2 Wet roofs by diavolo_felice

3. Houses of England by Gúnna

Schizophrenic man terrifies kids at party

This is a guest post from the people responsible for promoting an anti mental health discrimination campaign called ‘Time to change’.

We don’t normally do adverts but I thought that this would be ok – it would be very interesting to hear if you have any comments or observations?

 Time to Change is run by leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink, and backed by £16 million from the Big Lottery Fund and £2 million from Comic Relief. 

The Time to Change charity was successfully launched in Jan this year with an advertising campaign created by MCBD, with media planning by Naked and media buying by the7Stars.  The campaign featured a TV ad: “The Bridge”, celebrity and real people testimonial posters and press ads (featuring Ruby Wax, Stephen Fry and others) and a Mental Illness Myth/Fact press and online campaign.

 

The latest phase of the campaign includes a more provocative piece which tackles the stigma surrounding mental illness head on.  It was decided to launch these films online for a number of reasons, firstly because most mainstream movies are launched through rich media online and we wanted to ape this type of media placement.  Secondly a vital part of this campaign is to encourage people to pass on these films to friends so online is the perfect environment to facilitate the viral spread of the campaign.

 

Two films break online on 10th August, both of which play on the negative stereotypes that people hold about people with schizophrenia. The first film “Schizo movie” fools the viewer into believing that it’s a promo for a thriller. It purposefully takes its cues from horror movie trailers, using lots of dark imagery.  However once the film starts to play we meet Stuart who is a regular guy, just like you or I, but who also happens to have schizophrenia.  This approach allows TTC to challenge the perceptions people have about people with mental health problems without finger-pointing.

 

The second film “Kid’s Party” will be seeded into video sites with the title “schizophrenic man terrifies kids at party” with a still of a typical kid’s party next to it.  Instead of seeing youngsters being frightened by a person with schizophrenia, viewers see a normal children’s party with the person “scaring” the children with a giant spider made out of balloons.  As this footage is revealed the person voices over the film and explains how thanks to support from his friends he’s able to live a full life despite having schizophrenia.

 

1 in 4 of us will have a mental health problem at some stage in life, yet research shows that attitudes to mental illness are just getting worse. And for many the stigma is harder to deal with than the illness itself.  Time to Change aims to improve public attitudes and get mental health problems out into the open.

 

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “Both films have been designed to attract members of the public who don’t realize they are causing stigma and discrimination.  Evidence shows that provocative films make a big difference to attitudes and both films will go a long way to reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems.”

 

She continued: “One in four of us will have a mental health problem at some stage of our lives. It can happen to anyone. Stigma and discrimination wrecks lives. Yet everyone can make a change in their attitudes now – you don’t need to be an expert to make a difference to friend, family member or colleague who needs your support.”

 

Michael Pring, managing director, MCBD said: “This is a very brave campaign for the mental health world to run with but we’re confident that getting people to nod along with prejudice and then confronting them with the reality will prove an effective approach”.