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2013 – The Highlights

February: Our CQC inspector at Home Support says he hopes his report won’t read like an advert.

April: Italk, immersed in the re-tender and with a key member of staff having left, 5 Senior PWP’s offer to step in and share the clinical lead role. We win the tender.

August: New offices for Home Support. Brilliant team effort led by Jane Harvey and Wendy Kennard to organise the move out of 9 The Avenue to 22 London Road.

August: Mind Quality Management awards Solent Mind Level 3 – the highest – paying tribute to our BME initiatives, our support for other organisations and how those who use our services have shaped them.

September: Eastleigh Wellbeing celebrates its 1st anniversary at 111 Leigh Road – hundreds of visitors and some fantastic stories of support and achievement.

October: Broadcaster Richard Cartwright at our Staff Conference, the most entertaining account of his own lived experience. Mayfield’s workshop teaching Solent Mind staff the secrets of hanging baskets. What does this have to do with mental health? Everything.

November: Fareham and Gosport Mind’s membership vote unanimously to join Solent Mind. Two years of hard work rewarded.

November: Clarke Carlisle, chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, addresses Mind’s CEO’s conference in Manchester and lays bare both the profession and his own mental health issues. Inspirational.

December: Camelot’s Lottery winners, millionaires and all, join Mayfield (also a winner and rich in other ways), bearing gifts and laying gravel.


Christmas – the season of axing, cuts and stress

Is there any link between the axing of the Department of Health’s annual study of spending on mental health and its last finding, that mental health spending had fallen for the first time in a decade? Extraordinarily, older peoples’ mental health services have been hit hardest.

A similar message comes from a recent report quoted in Community Care on social care spending – mostly in the hands of local authorities – which we know has shrunk dramatically during the recession. But who has lost out most? No prizes I’m afraid. “When adjustments are made for rising levels of need in the population, 5% fewer people with learning disabilities were receiving services in 2012/13 than in 2005/06, compared with 48% fewer people with mental health problems, 39% fewer older people and 33% fewer adults with physical disabilities.”

This week we also learned that mental health issues, including stress, account for more than a third of sickness absence in NHS – and it’s getting worse. There’s some good work going on in some NHS organisations around mentally healthy workplaces, improving staff engagement and promoting wellbeing. Locally, Southern Health’s Recovery College supports staff as well as services users. But isn’t there a myopic irony to the NHS recognising mental health issues in its own workforce while overseeing cuts to mental health investment for all?

Finally, thanks to my old friend Kiki Maurey for sending this link – nothing to do with Christmas but impossible to resist …


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