Durham County Wide Forum

MHNE is proud to support Durham County Wide Mental Health Service Users & Carers Forum (also known as the Countywide Forum or CWF).   Keith Phillips, the group's chair writes:

The County Wide Forum, or CWF, is a group of Service Users and Carers based in County Durham and Darlington. The brief of the group is to improve and promote Mental Health in County Durham and Darlington.

At the moment the group doesn't have many active members, although there is a mailing list so people could access the minutes and agendas for the CWF. We are hoping for more people to attend meetings of the group. People who have an interest or experience of Mental Health in County Durham and Darlington. Training in some meeting skills could be organised when the courses are available. For example Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Foundation Trust run a Leadership Course. Most of the active group members have been on the Leadership Course.

keithDurhamCathedralphoto smlThe CWF doesn't take on individual cases, although the members have knowledge of places to find help and/or advice. Durham County Council host a website called "Locate" which has been useful.

The group will look at general issues in County Durham and Darlington facing service users and carers. We have flagged up issues such as Stigma and Discrimination in County Durham. There is a very active anti-stigma group now. The anti-stigma group is supported by Durham County Council.

Many people acknowledge that the Coronavirus has affected people's mental health and NHS services. The CWF would be interested to hear about experiences during the last year, as well as experiences during previous years.

The group isn't meeting at present, but will meet in Durham City when circumstances allow (usual venue: the Waddington Street Centre, 3 Waddington Street, DH1 4BG). Contact Peter Smith This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01913860702 for more details. Hopefully the meetings will start sometime later this year.

MHNE will publicise the details of future meetings here and in our monthly bulletin, for which Keith regularly writes about his allotment and mental health.  Photo of Durham Cathedral credit: Keith Phillips.

About the Countywide Forum

CWF logo purpleSet up almost 15 years ago, the County Wide Forum is a non-political and independent group of service user and carer representatives. Currently the group has some help from the North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group by the way of administration support. There has been help from Durham County Council and other sources in the form of finances to keep the involvement of service users and carers in support of Mental Health services. Support with training has been provided by Mental Health North East.  We have regular attendance at meetings from Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health Foundation Trust (TEWV), the North East Clinical Commissioning Services and others. Group members attend meetings for Durham County Council (DCC), TEWV trust and others.

The County Wide forum has had input into changes to services such as the on-going review of Care Plans for service users and carers. The group funnels information about problems in services to the relevant organisations. However the CWF does not get involved in individual service problems. If an issue is a general problem then it can be forwarded. Part of the reason for this is to protect identities of service users and carers. Many people who attend the meetings have knowledge of the way Mental Health services are organised and will give informal advice to someone who asks.

CWF members also attend meetings where information is passed on to service users and carers to be circulated to other service users and groups. One past example is the Pharmacy Reference group where problems and issues with service user’s medicines were discussed. This group included service users and carers from many backgrounds.