Archive for the ‘Campaigns’ Category

Social housing and mental health – take the survey

Monday, September 24th, 2018

We know that where you live, and your ability to access advice and support has an impact on your mental health. Over the past few months we have been investigating housing in Salford, to try and work out which elements of housing provision have the biggest impact on local people’s wellbeing.

Housing is a broad and complex issue, which in itself is influenced by numerous interlinking factors around demand, population health and welfare support, to name just a few. However, as a national charity, Mind have been conducting research which has highlighted the extent to which many social housing systems fail to meet the needs of their residents – especially those who experience mental health problems.

Through our campaign activity we have spoken to mental health professionals, service users and local residents, who have expressed similar concerns around social housing and the welfare systems that intend to support people to live well.

At Mind in Salford, we believe this urgently needs addressing. Ultimately, we want to influence progressive change in the local housing and welfare systems, that ensures that no person’s wellbeing – whether experiencing a mental health problem or not – is compromised by where they live. However, in order to make this happen, we need to hear the real life experiences of people who currently live (or have previously lived) in social housing in Salford. By filling out the survey below – which should take no longer than 10 minutes – you will be providing valuable insight, which will help us focus on the key issues for Salford residents. We greatly appreciate your support.

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One in three social housing tenants with mental health problems unhappy with home, making mental health worse

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

On the back of the publication of the Green Paper, a major study by Mind emphasises need for Government to ensure mental health is at the heart of social housing policy.

 

 

A study by Mind, the mental health charity, has found that one in three (33 per cent) people with mental health problems living in social housing is dissatisfied with where they live. Social housing is provided by local authorities, housing associations or charities to people affected by issues such as low income or disability.

Existing research shows that one in three people who live in social housing have a mental health problem. However, newly analysed data from Mind has shown more than two in five (43 per cent) of people with mental health problems living in social housing have seen their mental health deteriorate as a result of where they live.

Wanting to understand more about the relationship between housing and mental health, Mind surveyed 2,009 people across different housing sectors. Of these, 1,762 have mental health problems and 668 were living in social housing and had mental health problems. The survey also found that:

  • More than one in seven (15 per cent) experienced stigma from housing officials during the social housing application process
  • More than one in four (27 per cent) had problems with benefits such as universal credit or housing benefits.
  • Nearly three in ten (28 per cent) experienced stigma from neighbours or flatmates.

The charity wants to see a greater focus on mental health within social housing policy, with a particular focus on addressing stigma and problems with benefits.

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at Mind, said:

“Social housing is meant to be safe, secure and low cost, making it a good option for those of us with mental health problems who need it. Yet our research shows that people with mental health problems who need social housing are being let down at every stage of the process and the current system just isn’t working for people with mental health problems.

“Given how many people living in social housing are experiencing mental health problems, it’s shocking to see how little attention is given to mental health and housing. At the moment, barely any data is collected on the mental health needs of tenants by local authorities. The recent Green Paper made little reference to mental health, but did mention the need to collect more information about how councils allocate their housing. The Government needs to start collecting data on the housing picture for tenants with mental health problems if it’s serious about properly meeting its ambition for improving support for people with mental health problems. We’d also like to see more training for those working for social housing providers to ensure they are well equipped to support tenants who have mental health problems.”

Nadia is 54 and living in Hackney, London. She is a single parent and currently shares a small studio flat with her 17 year old son. Just over a year ago she was living in a bigger home but struggled to keep up with the rent after her business went under.

She says:

I was privately renting a three bedroom house and was running my own business. Unfortunately, my company folded, and that’s when I felt the strain of making my monthly payments for council tax and other bills. I applied for housing benefit, but only received it for a limited time before it was cut off. After I was evicted, we were forced to move to a studio flat in another part of London, and all our possessions were destroyed by my landlord. As a direct result, I ended up in hospital in mental health crisis.

“My son and I both have severe mental health problems, worsened by our current housing situation. City, Hackney and Waltham Forest Mind has been great in offering me advice and support but the council haven’t been much help. We’ve been in temporary accommodation for ten months now. We’re on a waiting list for somewhere more suitable but even the waiting is causing a great deal of anxiety. My son’s been set back a year in his studies and I’ve been hospitalised form the stress of being placed in poor quality housing in an unknown and dangerous area. Finding new accommodation can’t come soon enough.”

Kathy is 47 and lives with her husband in Merseyside. She has lived in her current home -social housing provided by a housing association – for 20 years.

Kathy says:

“I have developed extreme depression and anxiety and I am prone to having panic attacks. Although I’ve had mental health problems for several years, they have worsened in the last two years, as a direct result of our neighbours. I work from home as a self-employed illustrator, so I’m affected by them 24/7. Our last neighbour regularly threatened us with a gun. Eventually he was moved on without having to go to court. Unfortunately, the neighbours that moved in two years ago are equally bad – noise and anti-social behaviour including threatened assault. The police have been involved.

“It’s affecting my income too. It’s extremely difficult to work as they constantly play loud music all day and all night and because they work shifts, there is always someone home. It’s now a vicious cycle – the more unwell and stressed I get, the less I am able to work, the less money I’m earning, and this feeds into my stress and poor mental health.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home and we are desperate to move. The Housing Association have said we just have to put up with it. They say they prioritise actual assaults over threatened ones, even though we are terrified to live here.”

The research also found that the housing system is incredibly difficult to navigate and understand:

  • More than two in five people (43 per cent) with mental health problems in social housing surveyed told us they had difficulty understanding their housing rights.

In response, the charity has launched a new guide which aims to assist people with mental health problems who want to understand how housing laws relate to them, available at mind.org.uk/housing.

 

Phoebe’s housing plea: Stop neglecting resident mental health

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Phoebe is a 24-year-old social housing tenant from Salford, who has lived in her current home since she was a toddler. Along with an estimated 7 million others across the UK, Phoebe is an informal carer to her mother, who experiences periods of poor mental health.

We met Phoebe at START, a creative arts and wellbeing centre in Salford, where we were kindly given the opportunity to speak to START members about their experience with housing as part of our Brick by Brick campaign . Phoebe spoke profoundly about the stigma her family had faced from housing staff due to her mother’s mental health, and explained how a lack of compassion from housing association staff had brought her family to brink of eviction.

We thank Phoebe for writing openly about her family’s experience; her story of neglect of tenant mental wellbeing is all too common. We hope that Phoebe’s words will encourage other tenants to speak out, and encourage Salford’s housing associations to listen and consider what changes they need to make in their organisations so that such scenarios aren’t repeated. Read Phoebe’s housing plea below:

 

brick by brick salford campaign“Please be more aware of residents who won’t let a housing officer in – maybe there’s a reason for it. For example, my Mum is a bad hoarder and we were constantly threatened with eviction, I was always terrified we’d be kicked out each day growing up. The housing officers would come in really rudely, take photos and leave again. It was only when she got CBT that they understood, yet still no help, not with mental health, not with the black mould in my house that we’ve lived with since I was three (I’m 24 now) – nothing. They won’t even help my sister who’s suicidal because she’s that desperate for help with housing – things need fixing and she needs adjustments. It feels like they just don’t care.”

Has your experience with housing in Salford affected your mental health? By sharing your story, you could help us better understand the real problems in Salford’s housing system, and encourage others to speak out about their experiences. Write your housing plea, or get in touch with us at, communications@mindinsalford.org.uk  .

 

Make Mental Health First Aid mandatory – support the campaign!

Monday, May 21st, 2018

We are proud to be supporting the Where’s Your Head At campaign, which aims to change legislation so that mental health first aid is made obligatory in every workplace in England.

The campaign was started by Bauer Media Group (who own some of the UK’s most recognised media brands including, Kiss FM, Heat, Grazia and Empire) and has since been championed by celebrities and influential mental health campaigners – most notably, Natasha Devon.

The petition is addressed to Sarah Newton, the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, and calls for her to pledge to update the Health and Safety At Work Act to ensure that businesses have the same responsibility to provide mental health first aiders as they do medical first aiders.

So far the petition has over 40,000 signatures, but needs around 100,000 to be debated in parliament. We’ve signed it – you can too at Change.org.

 

Natasha Devon MBE is an experienced health and social campaigner, who has received multiple awards and successfully influenced public policy in the past.

What is mental health first aid?

It is thought that 1 in 6 people will experience a mental health problem in the workplace. This said, common work-related experiences such as stress and anxiety are often dismissed as part of working life, which can lead to entrenched workplace stigma and an increased risk of worsening an individual’s mental health by not seeking help or advice on how to manage it.

Mental health first aid – developed by MHFA England – aims to change workplace attitudes towards mental health, provide employees with the resources they need to look after their own mental wellbeing, and better inform people about what to do if they think they are struggling.

 

As an organisation, Mind have recently been campaigning for more action to be taken around workplace mental health and have contributed to major reports surrounding the individual and economic impact of poor mental health in the workplace.

At Mind in Salford, a charitable objective of ours is to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace, and help nurture healthier workers in Salford. We have been delivering mental health awareness training to organisations and individuals across the city for years, but welcome the development of the MHFA standardised package, and will be delivering it ourselves in the coming months.

We know how important it is that mental health is recognised with the same importance as physical health, and are fully behind the ‘Where’s Your head At’ campaign. Join us by signing the petition here.

 

 

Four in five people with mental health problems say their housing has made their mental health worse

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Figures from Mind show that nearly four in five (79 per cent)* of people with mental health problems said a housing situation has made their mental health worse or caused a mental health problem.

More than two in three (69 per cent) of the people Mind surveyed said they had issues with the quality of their housing such as damp, mould, overcrowding and unstable tenancies. One in four tenants with mental health problems are behind on paying rent and at risk of losing their home.*

The findings come as Mind launches a major new housing campaign. The charity is calling on the Government and local authorities to provide good quality homes and a housing system that’s easy to understand and doesn’t discriminate against people with mental health problems.

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at mental health charity Mind, said:

“It is unacceptable that so many people with mental health problems are living in housing situations that are making their mental health worse.

“Housing is more than just a roof over your head. It’s about finding somewhere safe and stable to call home. We all have the right to live somewhere that helps us focus on our families and our health or other parts of our lives. For people with mental health problems, a good home can be even more important when it comes to staying well.

“Too often people with mental health problems are living in cold, damp, poor quality homes or dealing with difficult landlords. Many of them will come into contact with authorities that hold outdated, stigmatising beliefs about people with mental health problems. At the best of times bad housing situations can be difficult, but for those of us with a mental health problem, it can be even harder to handle. It can make our mental health worse.

“This needs to change. While housing is high up the agenda at the moment, people forget that those with mental health problems are particularly at risk of being in poor housing situations. We want to see mental health embedded in all housing policy developed by the Government.”

Chris, 50, from London, has complex PTSD after being in an accident five years ago. While in hospital, he got behind on his rent payments and people were sending him bills and threatening debt collection letters. When Chris came out of hospital, the Housing Association put him in contact with their Benefits and Welfare Officer who helped Chris complete forms, access housing benefits and get support with his mental health.

He says:

“My housing is a source of stability in my life. Without a home, what other source of stability have you got in your life? I can’t imagine how that must be and I count myself lucky.

“My flat is more than just a flat. When you say ‘where you live’ it’s not just four walls and a telly, you’ve got neighbours, and you’ve got shops, a community. Everyone knew me and knew what happened and it all helped manage my mental health and come to terms with what happened.

“I have now been diagnosed with complex PTSD. I know I would be in a lot worse place if I hadn’t had my house.”

Another Mind campaigner says:

“My experience of living in a very damp flat made me very stressed. I had depression and I lost most of my belongings to green and white mould. The bed covers were wet so I had to buy an electric blanket to dry the bed before we got in. It was a miracle that the electric blanket and the damp did not cause the flat to catch fire.

“I had to bathe my baby in the living room until I could afford a radiator in the bathroom. My daughter was so, so cold in the bathroom so there was no way I was risking her health.

“We then moved to a new house and life started getting better. Being in surroundings that are manageable makes me better able to deal with my depression.”

 

[1] Figures from online survey by Mind. Total number of respondents who said they had mental health problems was 1,780. Of those 1,410 said that their housing situation had made their mental health worse and 1,221 said that they experienced at least one issue with the quality of their housing 
[1] Social Exclusion Unit (2004) Mental Health and Social Exclusion. London: Social Exclusion Unit

Time to talk day 2018 – 1st February

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Help make a difference to mental wellbeing in your workplace

Since Time to Talk Day first launched in 2014, it has sparked millions of conversations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online. The campaign, run by our partners, Time to Change, has already dispelled much societal stigma surrounding mental health, and is aiming for 2018 to be its biggest year yet.

At Mind in Salford, we share this ambition. In order to help individuals manage and overcome mental health challenges, it is imperative that the subject becomes widely acknowledged and free of prejudice. In recent years, the prominence of mental health issues has rocketed in public awareness – something that we should all be proud of. Nonetheless, thousands of people across the UK still do not feel comfortable talking about the topic, particularly in the workplace, where employees often fear for the repercussions of disclosing their mental health problems.

Last year, responsible business charity, Business in the Community (BITC), commissioned YouGov to conduct a study of more than 3,000 workers, collecting their experiences of mental health in the workplace. The findings stated that although 84% of employers acknowledged their responsibility towards employee’s mental health, around three quarters of affected workers chose not involve work in the issue. This ratifies the notion that mental health stigma is still prevalent in many workplaces to date.

Despite this, 76% of managers said they had not received any mental health training, and 35% reported not having any workplace services to support employee mental health and wellbeing. For us, this is a fundamental problem; counselling and advice infrastructure should be a part of every workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the build up to Time to Talk Day, we want to hear from employers in Salford about what they are doing to support mental wellbeing. What systems are in place? What has the impact been? Why not even go the extra mile and run a campaign in your workplace? The Time to Talk website has loads of great advice and resources that can help you do so.

It’s #TimetoTalk, let’s make mental health a priority for workers in Salford.

#TimetoTalk Mindfulness Tasters for Staff & Volunteers

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Mindfulness at the Angel CentreWe have been holding mindfulness tasters for staff and volunteers of our own and other services. This was inspired as part of the Time to Change campaign to get people talking about mental health.

We have run 2 sessions, with a large group of volunteers and staff from Garden Needs and Mind in Salford at Garden Needs, and another with a group of volunteers and staff from the Angel Centre, Salford Unemployed Resource Centre and Mind in Salford at the Angel Centre.

Lots of people also made #TimetoTalk pledges to talk about mental health

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Advocacy Awareness Campaign – An Update

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Our Advocacy Awareness campaign has been a runaway success – with referrals into the service trebling since its commencement in late June.

We have also met our target of improving the number of referrals from other agencies, and improving the number of agencies who refer to us.

We have put posters up in most GP surgeries and pharmacies that would let us – but for the moment postponed further actions to support the clients we are currently getting.

Referrals 201314Referrals in Q3 2014

The success is to such an extent that we are now looking for sessional advocates and additional funding to provide support to our existing advocates to meet the increased demand – if you are able to advocate, or know of any potential sources of funding, please let us know via james@mindinsalford.org.uk.

Help Mind in Salford This Christmas

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Did you know you can raise money for Mind in Salford by buying presents for your friends and family?

Easyfundraising gathers small donations from the places you shop at online, for example Amazon, E-bay, Argos, and John Lewis , to name but a few. – simply sign up with your name & e-mail and start shopping!

easyfundraising-logo

Please sign up and invite your friends too – the more you invite, the more money we get!

Donating to Mind in Salford

We are looking for donations this year to help Mind in Salford support vulnerable people in the area through its advocacy and mindfulness schemes.

Our advocacy service has seen referrals treble recently, and our mindfulness program currently cannot afford to meet demand for help – and your contribution could make the difference.

Hit the donate button in the top right to see how you can donate.

How your donations can help

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£2500

completely funds an 8 week mindfulness course for 16 people in Salford suffering from mental ill health.[/column]

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£15

pays for the mindfulness course materials for one person (handouts, CDs & more).[/column]

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£150

funds a day’s advocacy, including travel and office costs – supporting disadvantaged people to be heard and treated fairly. [/column]
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Blog – Living with Schizophrenia

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

My name is “Katherine” and I have suffered from schizophrenia for over 25 years. Sometimes I can’t believe I have had this condition for as long as I have.

It started when I was 25 and has almost become a part of me. The first few years I was at University and suffered with it alone; the first time I had a Psychotic Breakdown was when I was living as a student in Mexico.

The “startling phase”, as author Marius Romme puts it, is a very scary time when you don’t know what is happening to you. I knew I was “going mad” but couldn’t articulate what was happening to me, I half knew the voices weren’t real – but they seemed very real to me.

They never told me to do anything, but commented on me – something they still do sometimes, saying negative and abusive things about me. It is like all the negative things anyone ever said about me were stored in my subconscious, ready to pounce on me unawares.

A New Chapter

Up until last year I was working part time as an admin officer for a supported housing unit, and before that I worked for a mental health trust in the NHS. I found working very stressful – not so much because of the actual work, which I found quite therapeutic; but because the symptoms I suffered from, the paranoia and voices and anxiety, made it difficult at times.

I was dismissed from work in January because I had been off sick most of last year. Although my Salford employer were good, I was unable to carry on working because of my symptoms.

Dealing with the symptoms was made more difficult because of the lack of continuity of care I had when I moved to a different area – I got no help from the mental health team there. They referred me to my GP for care, and it wasn’t until I moved house back to Salford that my treatment improved. I saw a psychiatrist who increased my medication to help decrease the symptoms, and I now have a CPN too; it helps to talk to her about my issues once a month.

I now volunteer once a week , which is good for me – I get social interaction, and also do some work, which is good for the soul. I would like to be able to work again on a part-time basis when I eventually get a bit more control over my symptoms, although with something like Schizophrenia these are difficult to eradicate totally even with medication.

I am going to go to Mind in Salford’s Mindfulness course soon, which I hope will help with my anxiety. Problems with my neighbours make my anxiety and stress levels much worse, and cause lack of sleep – and these make my other symptoms worse.

I will also be undergoing a short course of CAT (cognitive analytical therapy) in Trafford, which I hope will help me control some of my symptoms.

I do a lot of reading and recommend “Accepting Voices” by Marius Romme, which explains all about voices and helps you to come to terms with them. There are many publications written by the Hearing Voices Network (who I used to volunteer for) and they are very helpful as well. Another good book I found was by a group of psychologists called: “Think You’re Crazy, Think Again”.

Living with Schizophrenia – and Stigma

Living with psychosis can be a full time job, especially if you don’t take medication, which I didn’t for the first few years. I didn’t see a psychiatrist until 1993, and it started in 1989. I did see student counsellors, but they weren’t much help, and didn’t realise I was as ill as I was – in fact I think they needed better training.

When I was at uni I was all at sea, I became more and more isolated, and the friends I did have didn’t understand, and weren’t very caring or compassionate. It was quite a lonely place.

I had psychotherapy at the Red House (1994-1996), where I met my husband and learned to understand myself and my parents better. I met a few good friends there as well, people that really understood me, and were on my wave length. They didn’t have schizophrenia, they had other mental health issues, but they could understand. I still have one good friend from the Red House today.

It is very difficult making friends with this condition. You are afraid of revealing too much information. To say you have Schizophrenia is to reveal yourself and to be judged by something so stigmatising; it is one of the last taboos. People make assumptions about you, are scared by you, dismiss you because they think you are the illness.

It doesn’t help that all the media broadcasts negative things about Schizophrenia, axe murderers, machete be-headers – in the same way that Jihadists are written about. There are rarely positive things written about people with the condition. They don’t say that people with Schizophrenia can be kind, can have their own house and job, and have loving relationships just like anyone else.

Life with Schizophrenia can be challenging, difficult and sometimes a nightmare – but there can be good times, times when you can enjoy the simple things in life, like a day out at the beach or a laugh between friends or partners, stroking a purring cat or even something mundane like a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

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This blog has courageously been written by one of our service users; “Katherine” wishes to remain anonymous to avoid facing more stigma in the future.

If you connect with anything within this blog, and would like more information or help, the Hearing Voices Network can be contacted via their website www.hearing-voices.org.

If you wish to find out more about our Mindfulness courses, visit our Mindfulness section; a referral form can be found there too.