New briefing explores how VCS evidence can be used to improve outcomes through JSNAs and Commissioning

Regional Voices has been working with partners at NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association to demonstrate the evidence that the voluntary and community sector (VCS) holds that can be used by commissioners and policy makers, to help build on the strengths of communities and help better meet the needs of local populations. This Briefing ("Comparing Apples with Oranges"), primarily aimed at members of health and wellbeing boards and relevant to both statutory and VCS partners, gives an overview of the knowledge, expertise and insight that voluntary and community sector organisations may hold about their local communities and diverse groups of people within these, as well as the different ways this knowledge can be used to enhance joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) and commissioning.

Drawing on examples from around the country, it aims to support health and wellbeing boards think about the way they currently use VCS evidence and to help them consider the different ways they could be using it. Regional Voices has also produced a suite of case studies looking, in more depth, at different approaches to sharing "evidence"- in all shapes and sizes. These range from anonymised client data, insight from services, routes to support commissioners engage specific communities, partnerships to co-design solutions and different ways infrastructure organisations are supporting local organisations to develop the evidence based. You can download the briefing report here. You can download a voluntary sector evidence poster here. And you can get direct access to a wide range of case studies, presentations and so on from Regional Voices here.

CALM adds webchat to helpline service

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) the male suicide prevention charity, have launched a free web-chat service offering support, information and signposting to men who are depressed or in crisis.  Suicide is the leading killer of men aged 20-49 in the UK, and has overtaken coronary heart disease as a killer in older men aged up to 50.  The latest statistics show that 77% of all suicides in the UK were male.
Open every day between 6pm–9pm, users can chat anonymously and confidentially to trained helpline staff.  The web-chat can be accessed on the CALM website:
CALM already provides a free, confidential helpline open every day 5pm – midnight
0800 585858 (national)
CALM’s helpline takes around 4,000 calls a month.

The web-chat service hours will be extended to match those of the helpline (5pm – midnight) by the end of October 2014.

Deprivation of Liberty in Supported Housing

The Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) have published their Viewpoint No.65 intended to stimulate consideration and debate on two separate, but related issues:

  •     Firstly, with the new and revised and more encompassing definition of "deprivation of liberty" issued in a recent supreme court ruling, are there people living in supported housing (and other housing settings) who fall into that definition and for whom authorisation needs to be sought? What are the issues and implications for the housing sector and their residents? and
  •     Secondly, what would be the issues and implications of extending the 2 "Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards" to "supported living" settings as recommended by the House of Lords in the Mental Capacity Act post-legislative scrutiny report?

Click here for the report.

B-eat Emotional Overeating survey results

Emotional overeating is often shrouded in myth and misunderstanding. It’s not about greed or laziness but means that those who are affected by it struggle to distinguish physical hunger from their emotional states.

B-eat, the national eating disorders charity, was funded by Department of Health to research the issues of psychological causes of overeating, looking at misunderstandings and to see if it is being addressed by healthcare professionals.

They surveyed 1,000 people asking them about their relationship with food, and how they have been helped by healthcare professionals. Some outcomes were:

•    88% said their problems with food were related to emotional problems
•    73% who visited their GP said their emotional health wasn’t investigated
•    92% said they’d like to lose weight
•    76% felt their self-esteem was low
•    53% suffered from depression

You can read the full survey results here: (PDF file)

For local help and support with eating disorders contact NIWE Eating Distress Service.

Strengthening Mental Health Commissioning in Primary Care: Practical solutions and learning from experience

The London Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network launched a guide to commissioning primary care mental health.

The guide (download here 14.6MB) is intended to provoke and support clinical commissioners to champion effective primary care mental health services. It is written specifically for mental health commissioners and practitioners and could be a useful resource for other commissioners and providers too.

The guide gives ten lessons which have been derived from over 100 international, national and regional case studies, also included in the guide. Lessons which cover community based care, proactive wellbeing, accessible services and coordinated mental healthcare.

New Mental Health Dementia and Neurology Intelligence Networks launched by NHS England & PHE

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new health intelligence network in partnership with NHS England, supported by the Department of Health and key stakeholders.

The National Mental Health Dementia and Neurology Intelligence Networks, consisting of four pilot profiling tools to support the delivery of improved physical and mental wellbeing services in local areas (including the North East) and reduce the negative impacts of ill health.

The Networks operate collectively and will provide commissioners, local decision makers and other health professionals with authoritative intelligence, research and evidenced best practice using the PHE Fingertips platform. It provides indicators about risk factors, prevalence, access to services, outcomes and finance, and includes profiling tools looking at:

  •     common mental health disorders
  •     severe mental illness (including psychosis)
  •     community mental health profiles (updated from last year’s publication)
  •     neurology (emergency admissions and epilepsy)

Tools relating to children and young people’s mental health, co-existing mental health and addictions issues and dementia are under development, and will go live at the end of 2014.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said:

    "Time and again we’ve seen that better information leads to better care. These Networks will be hugely important to help providers use data and intelligence in ways that will help improve services. It will also be an invaluable assistance to commissioners."

The full announcement can be found here:

Video produced to illustrate NICE quality standard: Mental wellbeing of older people in care homes

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new quality standards on the mental wellbeing of older people (65 years and over) receiving care in all care home settings, including residential and nursing accommodation, day care and respite care.

Following from this, a new film focuses on how the NICE quality standard on the mental wellbeing of older people living in care homes can be put into practice. Featuring residents at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, the film looks at recommendations including help in maintaining and developing personal identity and offering meaningful activities to promote mental wellbeing. The film was produced by the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care, which is led by SCIE. Watch the film here.

Newcastle based Information Now which provides information for older people has a very comprehensive online guide to choosing a care home.

Psychiatric support teams improve patient care and save hospitals millions

This is an interesting article that reports on a innovative new project to diagnose mental illness in inpatients that is improving treatment while also reducing readmissions and waiting lists.

"The project was first piloted in December 2009 by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham City hospital Called the rapid assessment interface and discharge (RAID) team based in the hospital, for immediate specialist psychiatric support this was so successful there are now RAID teams in, all five acute hospitals in Birmingham and Solihull, as well as acute hospitals in Telford and Shrewsbury with others about to be implemented in Manchester and Wigan" story by Sarah Whitehead in the Guardian, Tuesday 3 June 2014.

Click HERE to read full story in The Guardian.

Tragedy of Liverpool mum who died penniless after her benefits stopped

Below is an extract from an article that shows once again the tragic effects and devastating impact of this Governments benefit 'reforms' on the most vulnerable people in our society. MHNE would be interested in hearing your views on this and other similar stories. Do you feel that these benefit reforms are a disaster or are making the system fairer as the Government claim?

"A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness died without any money after her disability benefits dried up.
Annette Francis, 30, was found dead at her Garston home two weeks ago, leaving behind 11-year-old son Kieron.
Her distraught family say Annette was let down by the authorities in the months leading up to her death. At the time of the tragedy, Annette had spent six months without receiving a single penny in benefits.
Story by Joshua Taylor in the Liverpool Echo Jun 07, 2014" click HERE to read full article