On Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June, during a weekend of glorious sunshine, 12 fundraisers abseiled to raise vital funds for SLaM. The total raised from the abseil so far is approximately £2,058 (excluding Gift Aid), with more donations still coming in.
Congratulations everyone on your amazing efforts!
The 100ft drop down the glass exterior overlooks the ambulance bay just outside King’s A&E department, where abseilers descended to the cheers of many friends, family members and colleagues on the ground.
Our supporters who took part included Chantelle Jackson [main image], who wanted to give back to the hospital after receiving life affirming treatment.
Storm Janssen also took part in the sponsored abseil after being a patient, carer, volunteer and staff member at SLaM.
Many dedicated students and staff took part too including business administrator Edith Adeboji [image right]. She decided the abseil would be a fun way to give our support
Thank you so much to everyone involved! You can visit our Facebook page to view our gallery of photos from the day. You can also sign up for next year's abseil by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storm is abseiling for SLaM to give back as she has been a patient, volunteer, carer and staff member for many years pic.twitter.com/YbnxUNFE0X— Support SLaM (@SupportSLAM) June 27, 2015
Nearly at the bottom.
Well done to @MaudsleyNHS staff member Georgia who made it safely down - she says she won't do it again though! pic.twitter.com/ueFctgleNN— Support SLaM (@SupportSLAM) June 27, 2015
Georgia proudly showing off her certificate.
Thank you so much to everyone involved! You can visit our Facebook page to view our gallery of photos from the day. You can also sign up for next year's abseil by emailing email@example.com.]]>
Storm has had a long relationship with SLaM, having been a service user, carer and staff member:
‘Over the years I have much to thank SLaM for and this is a small way I can return the favour. Until I was employed here I was a service user on and off for about 12 years. I was treated for a variety of things over the years, including Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and depression. My experiences were mixed over those years but my latter years as a service user were with The Cawley Centre – it was a great help in getting me where I am today and I have nothing but respect for the job the staff there do, and the patience they exhibit.
'When I was coming to the end of my time there, the unit’s Occupational Therapist recommended me doing some voluntary work which I did for about a year. That subsequently led to a permanent full time job and they’ve now been stuck with me for over 6 years!’
‘I’ve seen the abseil event advertised a few years running and have always fancied doing it but have only just plucked up the courage to actually apply! This is my first abseil, charitable or otherwise and I’m most looking forward to the view from the top. I’ve managed to talk one of my colleagues into it – I’m not sure she’s quite forgiven me yet but I’m sure she’ll love it!
‘I’ve been fundraising via Facebook, email and word of mouth – not including gift aid I’ve so far managed £185 online and £90 via the sponsorship form. I’m hoping the money I raise will go to the Maudsley Occupational Therapy service at the Community Link Centre where I currently work. We work with individuals on the acute wards, as well as those who have been recently discharged to support their transition back home – I started off as a volunteer here so it’s played a major part in my recovery.’
You can support Storm and help her raise money for SLaM, by visiting her fundraising page. Or, take part in the abseil yourself to support your hospital.]]>
'When I was 16 I was admitted to Maudsley Hospital with severe depression, anorexia and self-harming behaviours. If it weren't for the hospital’s intervention, I would not be alive today. After being discharged I received ongoing psychological therapy at Maudsley to help keep me afloat in the scary and overwhelming world outside.
Years later, aged 27, I was referred back to Maudsley as my mental health issues had persisted. It was then in 2012 that Maudsley deduced I had Asperger's Syndrome, and that was that cause of my continuing struggles.
This revelation was transformational for me, as I could finally accept myself as I am, with my differences. I embraced instead of fought against my eccentricities. The Maudsley gave me a chance to live freely and honestly, and I've never looked back.
I chose to do the abseil because Maudsley saved me from suicide, and once you've looked death in the face and survived, you can do anything! It was a way of showing the world that, even though people may have mental illness and Asperger's, they are no less capable than anyone else.
I loved the thrill and adrenaline, but mostly the warm, fuzzy feeling inside that I helped the NHS and other SLaM patients like myself.
I have raised over £200 and would like the money to go to wherever in the service it is needed most. I found art and music projects most helpful while I was an inpatient, so maybe something like that.'
You can support Chantelle in her abseiling challenge by visiting her fundraising page.
You can also sign up for next year's abseil by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.]]>
What is the name of your role?
Professional Head of Occupational Therapy and Lead for Social Inclusion and Recovery. It’s quite a long title, but it does pretty much sum up what I do!
Which part of South London and Maudsley do you work in?
My role is Trust-wide, but I am actually based at the Maudsley.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day varies enormously. I do attend quite a lot of meetings; anything from a meeting looking at developing peer support workers across the Trust, to chairing the Nutrition Steering Group, to the Trust-wide Quality Delivery group. I supervise a lot of the senior OT staff, so keep my finger on the pulse of OT within the Trust. I also line manage our small specialist physiotherapy, dietetics, clinical exercise and welfare services. I also spend time with people who use our services, working out how we can be more recovery-oriented in our approaches.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the fact that every day is different. I could be sitting at my desk one day updating a policy, and the next running a study day for newly qualified occupational therapists. I enjoy the people contact and knowing lots of folk across the Trust. I enjoy developing new initiatives and seeing them come to fruition.
Which part of your job is most challenging?
One of the most challenging things is still trying to provide a quality service when money is tight. Sitting on the Trust Executive, I am in the privileged position of having an oversight of the big challenges. I feel very responsible to continue to support staff on the ground to do a good job. SLaM has come a long way to be so much more recovery-focused in the services it provides, but we still have a way to go. It’s been great to be part of that journey.
What is your favourite thing about South London and Maudsley?
My favourite thing about SLaM is the people. I’ve worked here a long time (as have many of my colleagues) but I am still amazed at how there is still scope for innovation and support for new things. And that is down to the people and their commitment and enthusiasm.
What’s your proudest achievement in your career to date?
I would have to say the development of the Recovery College (a service that provides a range of educational courses and resources for people with experience of mental illness, to improve understanding of mental health). I love being an OT and can think of lots of things we have done and continue to do OT-wise in SLaM, but the single biggest thing I can say I had a hand in creating is the Recovery College. I could talk about it for a long time, but I would just recommend people check out the website and it will demonstrate how proud I am.
What do you like to do outside of work in your free time?
I spend a lot of time ferrying my daughter to her various activities. I love to cook and entertain, and I am also part of an obligatory book club.
Name one thing that the service users might not know about you.
I’m a pretty open book and most of the service users who I work with know me well enough. They may not know, however, that I got to the rank of a Queen’s Guide.
If you could only take one thing to a desert island, what would it be?
I asked my husband about this and he said I should say a piano, as I have been on about learning properly for years and I do tinker a bit. It just doesn’t seem very practical!
If you've been inspired by this profile, you could consider making a donation to support the work carried out by staff at SLaM.]]>
In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘Mindfulness’ we based our showcase around the Wheel of Well-being project, which aims to improve personal well-being and mindfulness by dividing well-being into six areas.
It advocates positive change in six key ways: Planet, People, Spirit, Place, Mind and Body. It's based on research that has provided evidence for how particular actions, activities and practices have the ability to improve mood, reduce the risk of depression, strengthen relationships, maintain overall health, and even increase life-expectancy.
Using this wheel as a foundation for the day, we opened activities with a series of short talks by SLaM staff and representatives from the projects to demonstrate the essence of each segment of the wheel.
The Adamson Collection is a collection of art used for art therapy by British artist Edward Adamson, during his 35 years of working in a long-stay mental hospital. The Adamson Collection has recently been recognised as one of UK's most important collections of asylum art.
As well as aiding recovery, the collection also promotes the creativity of those living with mental health problems to the wider public - and challenges stigma in the process.
The Angelus Foundation aims to educate, encourage and assist individuals in becoming more knowledgeable about the risks legal highs (harmful drugs that escape prohibition due to being research chemicals or used for purposes such as plant feed) pose to their health and well-being. Donations funded their ‘Why Not Find Out?’ campaign, which is a project aimed at creating awareness of new psychoactive substances and ultimately helping young people to stay safe.
With the tagline 'inspired by nature, harnessing her wealth, looking after ourselves, looking after the planet’, Bethlem Fresh and Healthy Food Project is an initiative that encourages service users to grow, pick and cook food produced in their walled kitchen, garden or orchard.
With its distinctive art-deco staircase, the new gallery and learning spaces at Bethlem Royal Hospital secure its unique collections of archival material, historic objects and works of art for future generations. The collection offers a rich resource for study of the history of mental healthcare and treatment.
The SLaM Recovery College offers a range of workshops and courses including aimed at helping people understand and live with anxiety. Every course and workshop on offer is co-developed and co-run by trainers who have experienced mental health difficulties themselves, working alongside trainers who are mental health professionals. It's a chance to learn together as well as share experience and knowledge.
The Tree of Life workshops are run for small groups of staff and in-patients at the Psychiatric Intensive Care Units at SLaM. They use narrative therapy to encourage participants to share and reflect. This involves talking about the positive aspects of their life through the metaphor of a tree to work through issues. The Tree of Life represents different aspects of a person’s life.
We heard from Julie Fraser, Clinical Psychologist, and three service users: Ubong Akpan, Maggie Hayes, and Ursular Joy, who all talked about their personal trees.
SLaM’s volunteer programme encourages people to use their free time in an enjoyable and positive way. It's aimed at opening up new networks and career opportunities for volunteers, and also supporting service users with their own recovery by helping them gain new experience and increased confidence.
We heard from Alex, Georgios and Jackie, who told us what their experiences as volunteers meant to them. Alex is looking for more experience in the mental health field, Georgios is using volunteering to aid his recovery from anxiety, which was brought on by his busy marketing career, and Jackie is using it to help increase her confidence.
Following the presentations, we held an interactive marketplace in the Connect room of the ORTUS, which was led by the Wheel of Well-being group.
Guests were invited to take part in a game where they rolled a dice which sent them off on a journey around the Wheel to visit the different segments of positive change, each represented by a Maudsley Charity supported project.
Each stall included an interactive element. The Angelus Foundation had a boardgame that highlighted the pitfalls of legal highs, Bethlem Fresh and Healthy Food Project showcased their fresh produce,and the Tree of Life encouraged guests to join in with a group therapy session, and to create their own tree of life.
On top of all this, Maintaining Health Partners held meditation and interactive therapy sessions in order to bring calm and mindfulness to the busy marketplace throughout the day.
Paul Mitchell, host of the event and Chief Executive of Maudsley Charity, said, 'It's always heartening to hear firsthand the added value that the charity can make.'
The work of these amazing projects would not be possible without your generosity and support. To find out more about how you can get involved, please contact email@example.com or call 0207 848 4701.]]>
‘Since joining the SLaM board I've been very impressed by the achievements of the Maudsley charity, including for example the building of the Learning Centre and the redevelopment of the Bethlem Gallery & Museum. I am also keen to do what I can to draw attention to the great work that SLaM does in the local community and nationally and the contribution that it makes, together with Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), to research and development in mental health.
I took part in the Bupa 10,000 in 2006 but I haven't taken part in any runs since then. My time back in 2006 was around 47 minutes and 50 seconds, and I'm aiming to beat that time if I can. I'd ideally like to finish in under 45 minutes, but I fear that may be over-optimistic.
I have been training once or twice a week in Richmond Park and along the Thames between Kew and Hammersmith.
I am looking forward to joining in with lots of other people in what I am sure will be a fun event.'
You can support Alan’s efforts by visiting his fundraising page.
Find out more about the events you can take part in to fundraise for SLaM, like Alan.]]>
In June 2014, 14-year-old daughter Francesca - daughter of Kevin and Lesley Hicks - was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. Following some frantic phone calls to their local Clinical Commissioning Group in Essex, she was referred to Maudsley Hospital.
Treatment for anorexia is a long and intense process. Francesca was immediately put on to an inpatient feeding programme. Since she didn’t stay overnight, she had to be driven to the Maudsley four days per week for treatment. The aim is to help the patient return to a healthier weight by encouraging them to stick to a strict eating regime, and slowly reducing time spent at the hospital each week with the longterm goal of reintegrating them back into their normal life.
Other elements include the Intensive Treatment Programme (ITP) Step Down, which incorporates the gradual reintegration back into school, and Multi Family Therapy (MFT) which involves entire families attending group sessions to share experiences.
Francesca's mum Lesley, who is a nurse practitioner at a GP surgery, says that what she calls the ‘Maudsley approach’ has helped her understand how horrible it is to suffer from anorexia, and how to start looking forward to the future.
‘As a family, we sing from the same hymn sheet now because we’ve been really well-trained,’ she says. ‘The Maudsley offers support so that when our daughter finally gets discharged, we’ll have the tools to be able to continue to look after her, and hopefully help her beat this disease so she can grow into a healthy adult, without continuing to have bad feelings about eating or self-harm.’
Although the whole experience has been very distressing for the family, they realise that they have actually been quite lucky in a number of ways.
‘We were in a really tough place,’ recalls Lesley. ‘We were going to the Maudsley every day for ten weeks, driving a round trip from Southend, which took three hours there and three hours back, to get Francesca refed. At the time, we were fortunate enough to be working, able to stick to the meal plan and put the petrol in the car - although it has cost us a lot of money - but some people can’t afford that, and desperately need help.’
It was this, along with their experience of the ‘fabulous’ staff at the Maudsley, that inspired them to fundraise for SLaM. Kevin’s son and daughter-in-law, Robbie and Amy, kick-started it all by running the Brighton Marathon - both achieving fantastic times and raising over £1,000 in the process. Then, together with the help of Kevin’s workplace, The Rendezvous Casino, in Southend, the family put on a Charity Gala Black Tie and Diamonds Dinner on Sunday 3 May, raising an incredible £17,900.
All the casino’s big players were invited personally by Kevin and supported SLaM by purchasing tickets for £50 each. Attendees were treated to a meal, as well as an auction and raffle which both consisted of huge prizes that had been donated by local, national and international businesses. There was also a charity carwash that took place the day before.
‘We’d like some of the funds raised to be used as a discretionary payment to somebody who hasn’t got the money to get their child to the hospital easily, or to stick to the meal plan for 10-12 weeks,’ says Lesley. ‘We want to be able to take that pressure off when they’re trying to cope with the diagnosis and support their child, while the situation is already really difficult.’
After receiving Francesca’s diagnosis, Kevin struggled to come to terms with it and took time off work to deal with his own depression. Through going to family therapy - alongside the support he’s received from his colleagues - he says he’s gotten through the worst.
‘Having pretty much cracked up with the initial diagnosis, going through MFT before I went back to work enabled me to speak to everybody and be open about Francesca. I felt at ease talking about my daughter’s illness,' explains Kevin.
‘I’m looking forward to spending the evening with all these people who have supported me,' he said before the event. 'I’m going to stand up and make a speech to say thank you to everybody who’s there and for their kind donations.’
Francesca is now in recovery, thanks to ongoing treatment from Maudsley Hospital and the support of her family and friends. In a brave move, having initially told her friends that she was off school due to glandular fever, she made a video confessing the real reason for her ongoing absence and posted it on Facebook.
‘It dawned on her that having been off for so long that the glandular fever excuse wasn’t ringing true, so she made the video,’ says Kevin. ‘A lot of people have said what a brave girl she is to be so honest and found inspiration from that; some have even been encouraged to speak up about their own mental health issues. It’s all been positive for her.’
You can donate to the Hicks’s fundraising page or follow their story on their Facebook page, ‘Francesca’s hope’.
There are lots of ways you can fundraise for SLaM like the Hicks family.
The number of deaths linked to legal highs rose from 10 in 2009 to 68 in 2012, according to the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths, and drug misuse deaths also rose sharply last year. The Angelus Foundation, supported by Maudsley Charity, campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of these drugs.
'Legal highs' are defined as experimental research chemicals, or ones sold as plant feed, which are available on the high street because they escape classification under the Misuse of Drugs Act. One popular such drug was mephedrone or 'meow-meow' which was successfully banned in 2010.
Just this month ministers announced that five legal highs - including one popular alternative to cocaine - have been banned. This news came based on recommendations from the government’s official drug advisers that these substances should face a temporary ban of 12 months while a full assessment of the harm they posed was undertaken.
This is a new strategy to deal with the fact that, under existing drug law, banning one substance only results in chemists tweaking the molecular compound slightly to produce a 'new' drug.
The Angelus Foundation seeks to raise awareness in young people of the dangers of taking legal recreational drugs. These substances usually emerge as alternatives to illegal drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy but can be equally as harmful
It is comprised of a group of experts which make up the Angelus Advisory Board, who bring together their expertise from chemical, medical and behavioural sciences, and the areas of enforcement and misuse of substances.
It was founded in 2009 by Maryon Stewart, the health practitioner, author and broadcaster, as a result of personal tragedy. Her 21-year-old daughter, Hester, who was a medical student and athlete, passed away after consuming what was (at the time) a legal high called GBL in April 2009.
‘We’ve been very grateful for the support we’ve had from Maudsley,’ says Jeremy Sare, Director for Policy and Communications at Angelus Foundation. ‘It’s been absolutely critical to our campaign and pivotal in our ability to deliver to our target groups.’
Find out more about the Angelus Foundation and the funding it has received from Maudsley Charity.]]>
There are so many amazing projects that Maudsley Charity is proud to support, made possible by the generosity of our donors. One of these is the Wheel of Well-being which aims to improve personal well-being and mindfulness through positive changes to six specific life elements (Body, Mind, Spirit, People, Place and Planet).
It is based on research that has shown us how certain actions, activities and practices can improve mood, reduce the risk of depression, strengthen relationships, keep us healthy and even add seven years to our lives.
On Tuesday 12 May, we'll be showcasing Maudsley Charity-funded projects in an open marketplace event focused around the Wheel of Well-being’s six areas of positive change. The event takes place at the ORTUS in Camberwell from 10am - 3pm, and there's no need to book. Just pop along on the day and find out more about these projects!
The projects being showcased are:
There will also be the opportunity to find out how you can get involved with fundraising for SLaM.
Find out more about these projects, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 848 7915 to find out more about the event. We hope to see you there!
CUES-Ed was inspired by feedback from children experiencing mental health difficulties. The CAMHS team at SLaM (along with colleagues from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience) wanted to see if cognitive behavioural therapy could help children experiencing distressing and unusual experiences (such as hearing a voice that other people can’t hear). The therapy was designed to help children develop coping strategies that would reduce their distress and build their resilience.
Those who took part in the Coping with Unusual Experiences Study (CUES) found the therapy helpful, but felt that all children should be taught it at an earlier age. They also suggested that there is a silence around mental wellbeing and emotional vulnerability at school, and that there is still stigma surrounding mental health issues.
So the team decided to devise a programme that would educate children about maintaining their mental health and help build resilience from a young age. Its delivery has been designed as a whole class approach, with the aim of normalising discussions about mental health.
The 'Who I Am and What I Can: How to Keep Your Brain Amazing' package consists of six sessions run by SLaM psychologists and CBT therapists, with teachers actively involved in each session.
‘The six sessions are delivered to whole classes of 7 to 10-year-olds in an active and engaging way,’ explains Debbie Plant, Clinical Psychologist and team lead who also takes a lead on delivery of the sessions.
‘The cognitive behavioural therapy approach enables children to learn that their thoughts, feelings and behaviour are interconnected and that there are practical things they can do to manage life’s ups and downs, both at home and at school.’
The children are taught a range of cognitive and behavioural coping strategies like relaxation, problem solving and positive self-talk. The sessions are fun and interactive, making use of a variety of materials and media including animations, video clips, music, quizzes and fun hands-on activities.
The colourful branding has been made specifically with children in mind, with direction taken from kids who took part in the pilot programme.
‘The designs help the abstract ideas become more concrete and make learning more memorable. The aim is to engage children in a positive, creative, fun manner whilst developing a strong understanding of mental health and wellbeing,’ says Karen Bracegirdle (CBT Therapist involved in the creation and development of CUES-Ed).
The children receive Ed’s Survival Pack (Ed is the mascot of the programme) to reinforce and encourage learning between the sessions, and teachers are encouraged to set the children home tasks so they can practice what they’ve learnt in their day-to-day lives.
Since finishing a successful pilot study which had positive feedback, the team have worked with over 350 children across six schools in Southwark. There is great potential for the programme to benefit even more children from different age groups. The team are frequently asked by head teachers whether the package is available for both older and younger primary school children, and in future the team hope to expand and adapt the materials to meet local needs.
Help us continue our work supporting children, young people and adults with mental health issues. Please make a donation to SLaM today.]]>