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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Service User Forum and Carers' Forum

 

 

The proverbial ‘next person': Let’s get real about caring for someone suffering with mental illness!

I was ‘the next person’; people had been in my shoes before but they hadn’t reported back - at least not to me - or I hadn’t known where or how to find out about wisdom gleaned before that could have helped me. Anyhow, if my predecessors had complained, nothing had really changed or I couldn’t imagine things having previously been worse. In my experience, if you stumbled upon an enlightened, respectful and humble member of staff who could get alongside you and really be helpful in what I recently heard a psychiatrist call “The Bad Old Days”, it was the exception rather than the rule.

August 2014

  • Young People’s Volunteers to join the Royal College of Psychiatrists Child and Family Public Education Board

We are pleased to invite young people’s volunteers to join the Royal College of Psychiatrists Child and Family Public Education Board.

The Child and Family Public Education Board’s main job is to produce public education materials. These are designed to promote positive mental health in children and young people and reduce the stigma of mental illness. The Board works with specialists within the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as well as people from other organisations.

 

Applications are invited from young people who have personal experience of using child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), who are currently between 16 and 20 years of age.

 

Each year, volunteers will be expected to attend three meetings in London and one via teleconference. Travel, accommodation (if needed) and meal costs will be paid.

 

For further information and an application form, please contact Thomas Kennedy specifying ‘Child and Family Public Education Board Young People’s Volunteer'. Closing date for applications:  11 August 2014

  • Join the RCPsych Service Users and Carers Fora, London

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is seeking volunteers from London to join the RCPsych Service Users and Carers Fora and the London Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Applications are invited from individuals who have personal experience of using mental health services, or of caring for someone with mental ill health.

The College has a long history of service user and carer involvement. The Fora ensures that all College activities are informed by the experience of service users and carers.

Volunteers will be expected to attend 9 meetings in London. Travel and subsistence payments will be made.

For further information and an application form please contact Thomas Kennedy, specifying 'RCPsych in London Service User/Carer Volunteer'. Telephone: 020 3701 2548.

Closing date for applications: Monday 16 June 2014.

  • Royal College of Psychiatrists National and Local Service User and Carer Volunteers

    We are seeking volunteers from Wales to join the RCPsych Service Users and Carers Fora in London and the RCPsych in Wales.

    Applications are invited from individuals who have personal experience of using mental health services, or of caring for someone with mental ill health.

    The College has a long history of service user and carer involvement.  The Fora ensure that all College activities are informed by the experience of service users and carers.

    Annually, the volunteers will be expected to attend 4 meetings in London and 4 meetings in Cardiff Bay. Travel and subsistence payments will be made.

    For further information and an application form please contact Thomas Kennedy, specifying 'RCPsych in Wales Service User/Carer Volunteer'. Email: tkennedy@rcpsych.ac.uk    Telephone: 020 3701 2548.  Closing date for applications:  Monday 31 March 2014.

  • Royal College of Psychiatrists National and Local Service User and Carer Volunteers: South West Division

Seeking volunteers from the South West of England to join the RCPsych Service

Users and Carers Fora in London and the South West Division of the College.

 

  • Applications  are invited from individuals who have personal experience of using mental health services, or of caring for someone with mental ill health.
  • The College has a long history of service user and carer involvement. The Fora ensure that all College activities are informed by the experience of service users and carers.
  • Annually, the volunteers will be expected to attend 4 meetings in London and 5 meetings in Blagden, North Somerset. Travel and subsistence payments will be made.

For further information and an application form please contact Thomas Kennedy, specifying South West Division Service User/Carer Volunteer• tkennedy@rcpsych.ac.uk. Closing date: 19 February 2014.

 

  • Food for thought: factsheet written by the Carers' Forum

A new factsheet written by the Carers' Forum which sets out the benefits of involving carers in the care and treatment of patients with mental health problems: the triangle of care between carers, patients and mental health professionals.

‘Life is not the way it’s supposed to be, it’s the way it is. The way we cope with it is what makes the difference’ Quote from Virginia Satir

 

Background to the Carer Forum Factsheet - Food For Thought

"Being Chair of the RCPsych's national Carers' Forum is a great privilege for me, but it brings no surprises when listening to the Forum members and their lived and learned experiences (like my own) which at times can seem like quite a "minefield". One's "apprenticeship"  has resulted in a wealth of knowledge, learning, information, empowerment and empathy, and a real "will" to work meaningfully and respectfully with other stakeholders, as part of a team (if and when required), to attempt to "make a difference" for all!

 

We know the GP is usually the main "gatekeeper" to service users/patients & carers which can lead to a referral to a  psychiatrist. We know this is where the real work can begin - from the Care Team around care planning/therapies etc, which hopefully progresses to an improvement in the patient/service user thinking, managing the illness, a better quality of life and a patient-centred and focused recovery in many cases.

 

We believe as a "Team" we can harness our knowledge to help progress creatively the genuine meaning of some "new thinking" in respect of  "NO HEALTH WITHOUT MENTAL" HEALTH"  to help  build understanding, resilience and sustainability around vulnerability.

 

Please read this Fact Sheet and  we would be very pleased to hear your comments, whilst we are progressing the work of the Forum.

 

Thanks, all good wishes

 

Evelyn Bitcon, Chair, RCPsych Carers' Forum"

  • New chairs and new name: 2013

We are delighted to announced that the new chairs of the Fora are:

Service User Forum: Maurice Arbuthnott and Dougie Pickering

Carers' Forum: Evelyin Bitcon

In March 2013, the Service User Recovery Forum voted almost unanimously to remove the term 'Recovery' from its name.

  • RCPsych Awards 2012

Thursday 15 November 2012: Graham Morgan from Nairn, Inverness-shire,RCPsych Award 2012 Graham Morgan Manager of SPIRIT Advocacy, and Maurice Arbuthnott from London, a member of the North London Service User Research Forum and Rethink's services and resources committee jointly won Service User Contributor of the Year.

"Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. said: "Competition was very tough, and the judging panels were hugely impressed by the quality of this year's entries."

An article by Clare Campbell, Member of the RCpsych Carers' Forum and Dr Michael Yousif, member RCPsych Public Education Editorial Board.

  • President's Medal 2012Raymond Brookes Collins

Raymond Brookes Collins, the first chair of the RCPsych Carers' Forum, was awarded the President's Medal by Professor Sue Bailey at the International Congress in Liverpool on 12 July 2012.

  • About SURF and the Carers' Forum

The first meeting of the Service Users’ Recovery Forum (SURF) and Carers Forum were held in January 2008 and continue to meet four times a year. Both Carers and SURF annual meeting 2009Forums have more than 30 members with representation from the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh Divisions. 

 

Remit:

  • To support and provide input into the work of the College to ensure that all policy and activity will be informed by the experiences and perspectives identified by service users and carers.

This would be achieved through a regular forum which will:

  • respond to and initiate strategic policy;
  • contribute to the development of good practice guidelines;
  • contribute to the training of College members;
  • signpost to a wider constituency of service user and carer groups and individuals;
  • improve mutual understanding with College members;
  • contribute to supporting good practice.

How do SURF and the Carers' Forum contribute to the work of the College?

  • Respond to external policy documents and College policy
  • Get involved in consultation workshops on different aspects of College work
  • Are represented on the following Committees: 
    • Academy of Royal Medical Colleges Patient Lay Group
    • Council
    • Curriculum and Assessement Committee
    • Equivalence Committee
    • London Deanery Psychiatry Specialty Board
    • Central Policy Committee
    • Parity of Esteem Working Group
    • Psychiatric Trainees' Committee
    • Promoting Recruitment into Psychiatry Committee
    • Public Education Committee
    • Public Education Editorial Board
    • Revalidation Steering Group
    • Special Committee for Professional Practice and Ethics
    • Westminster Parliamentary Liaison Committee.

Annual Meetings

SURF and the Carers' Forum organise Annual Meetings to which all service users and carers involved in the work of the College are invited.

In 2008, the Annual Meeting discussed:

  • the Fair Deal campaign
  • changes to training and revalidation
  • adding the service user and carer voce to the media
  • social inclusion

In 2009, the Annual Meeting discussed:

  • welfare reform
  • direct payments and personal health budgets
  • debt and mental health
  • the quality of in-patient psychiatric wards (AIMS and Star Wards)

In 2010, the Annual Meeting discussed

  • finding/returning to work and mental ill health (patients and carers)
  • physical health and mental health (patients and carers)

In 2011, the Annual Meeting discussed

  • Collaborative working between Service Users, Carers and Professionals.

In 2012, the theme for the Annual Meeting was

  • Recovery and Resilience

Viewpoint

This is a section of the website that is devoted to the views of people who have experienced mental health problems. Please email articles to webeditor@rcpsych.ac.uk.

 

Resources

 

This is a resource for trainee psychiatrists and their trainers, and other members of the multidisciplinary team. The film takes you through the patients' and carers' journey - from first contact with psychiatric services to recovery and coping - with examples of people's personal experiences at each stage. The film can be paused at different points to allow for group discussion and includes some key principles.

Copies of the DVD are available from the College for £5.00 (inclusive p&p).

Please contact Leaflets Department, The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB. Tel: 020 7235 2351 ext.2552 .