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Understanding self harm

Spring 2016

HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE – why is music so good for us?

Dementia – it’s not just older people

Tackling taboo with talking therapy


What do you think? Do you enjoy MC Magazine? Take our short survey. Click surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MCMagazine


Where there’s hope


Chaplains Sara and Karen talk frankly

More than 40,000 people under 65 are living with dementia


Musician Tony tells his story

Understanding self harm Emma tells her story

31 Welcome 3

Speaking Out


Hitting the Right Note


Understanding Self harm


Student and Stressed? Join our Class


Clock View a Year On


Iris Goes to the Palace


Luke Gets Back on Track


Tackling Taboo with Talking Therapies


Where There’s Hope


Come and Join Us!


Dementia – It’s Not Just Older People

Dynamic Duo – The Men Who Support Vulnerable Offenders 32


A Day in the Life...

Enter the Dragon


MC magazine team: Managing Editor: Steve Murphy. Editor: Jackie Rankin.


Clock View a year on

Contributors: Natalie Dunn, Graham Hignett, Myles Hodgson. Editorial: Julie Crompton, Joanne Cunningham. Photography: Joel Goodman, Steve Murphy. Design: Jo Hadfield.


Enter the Dragon


You can contact us at: communications@merseycare.nhs.uk MerseyCareNhsTrust Mersey_Care


ived experience…we all have it. Our stories: the good times, the great times, the not so good times and the challenges. We all carry them around with us each and every day. Some we talk about, and some we keep secret, hidden away. But why do we hide them? Sometimes it’s because they’re painful experiences, too difficult to relay and sometimes it’s because we think people won’t be at all interested in the challenges we’ve overcome.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful woman called Iris Benson at 7 o’clock in the morning in BBC Radio Merseyside studios. I listened to her share her lived experience live on air - you may have done too. Many will tell you that I’m not often lost for words, but I was that day. I’m delighted to see her featured in this issue. Both Iris and I work with Mersey Care now, sharing our experiences in the hope of helping others and to also offer an opportunity to educate the next generation about mental health issues and experiences.

During the past year since contributing to and presenting BBC 1’s Life After Suicide documentary, I’ve learnt that we really are interested in other people’s By telling our stories, we give a voice lived experience. In fact, we are more to those who are yet to find theirs. than interested…we want to listen to those difficult experiences and we want Angela Samata to learn from them to help each other.

“I’ve learnt we are really interested in other people’s lived experience...”

Angela Samata lost her husband Mark to suicide. Her documentary Life After Suicide won a MIND media award. She now supports Mersey Care on its Safe from Suicide initiative and is an ambassador for our Big Brew campaign to tackle the stigma that stops so many from asking for help.


I’ve suffered so much guilt in the past that I’ve tried to take my own life.


Photo: British Ceremonial Arts Ltd

Iris receiving her award from HRH Prince Charles




ris Benson is a former associate nurse whose lifetime of mental illness has made her an expert by experience. Awarded an MBE for services to mental health earlier this year, she reflects on what’s made her who she is, how she’s been supported and why she’s so vocal in challenging stigma. “I’ve had many diagnoses of mental illness, including bi-polar disorder which manifests itself with extreme mood swings. My friends and colleagues changed once I’d been diagnosed. Some were sympathetic, but others scrutinised my moods, and would ask if I’d taken my medication.

“I had to give up a job I loved. People said my husband had a mad wife who lived in the ‘nut house.’ Some of my neighbours wouldn’t let my children play with theirs and even recently my granddaughter was prevented from playing with their grandchildren.

It can happen to any of us “I’ve suffered so much guilt in the past that I’ve tried to take my own life. But mental illness does not discriminate; it can happen to any of us. “I believe we’re beginning to see mental and physical health thought about on an equal footing. But there’s still a lot of hard work needed to challenge the attitudes and cultures that lead to stigma.

“Going to Buckingham Palace was special, but getting that award was a team effort. Our service users, staff and carers really work together, each complementing the other. Without the support and help I’ve received from Mersey Care, I would never have fulfilled what was truly a dream come true; I probably wouldn’t even be here. I felt I was representing everyone who is involved with the Trust. I was so proud but what I hope for most is that it will inspire other people. We can all do it with the right help and support.”

The ‘moods’ were just me “In fact the ‘moods’ were just me, sometimes I was fun and enthusiastic and others quiet, reflective, a good listener. They were seen as moods but they were just me. I hadn’t changed, but the label changed the way people saw me.

Without the support and help I’ve received from Mersey Care, I would never have fulfilled what was truly a dream come true.


Luke was struggling to cope with depression and anxiety that manifested in many ways .


e look at a specialist service helping people with complex needs … through the eyes of one of its service users.

When someone has a mental health issue it’s important that the right care is available, but what happens when the person needing help also has a learning disability?


“Everything seemed to build up. I had the death of a friend and I lost my job. I seemed to have fallen out with every one of my friends except one. It overwhelmed me and I tried to harm myself. When I came to the STAR Unit I didn’t eat To a casual observer Luke Goodwin for a while, I thought the place was may seem a larger than life character. never going to help me and I didn’t trust anyone.” He’s a tall, thick-set muscular 26-year-old who loves heavy metal Learning disability staff nurse music, tattoos and a drink with Martin Armstrong picks up the friends at his local pub. He worked story: “By building up trust with in a retail warehouse and shop floor Luke we were able to communicate before he became unwell. and open up feelings that he Luke has a mild learning disability and was struggling to cope with depression and anxiety that manifested in many ways affecting not just Luke but those around him, including friends and his much loved mum.

couldn’t express. Over time it became more and more positive; we coaxed him into doing activities and getting involved on and off the ward and we were able to help him go back to his home town of Southport and get back in touch with friends.”

Need Help? Occupational therapist Victoria Nelson recalls how baking sessions helped Luke learn important skills that would lift his confidence when he left their care. “He helped us bake cakes for a charity cake sale. He was the best helper I’ve ever met!“

FREE Self help guides direct to your smartphone or tablet

Luke says the experience has helped all aspects of his life. “I can do more stuff for myself, cook my own food and I’m happy with the carers I live with. I’m in touch with a lot of my old friends and we’ve patched things up. I enjoy going to the pub and I see my mum, who has always been there for me.” Martin shares his and Luke’s strategy for stressful times: “Luke compared me to a parrot because I’d constantly talk about things that would help him cope, so much so that he bought himself a toy parrot to remind him of my advice!” Luke smiles. “The STAR Unit staff made me realise there are people in my life, like my mum and friends, who do care. The feelings I have about myself are still there, but not as bad. If I don’t like something I usually put my headphones on – and I still have the parrot!”

The STAR Unit The STAR (Specialist Treatment and Recovery) Unit where Luke received his care assesses and treats people with learning disabilities who also have a mental health issue. Formerly at Mossley Hill Hospital, it recently moved to Rathbone Hospital, where patients have their own en suite bedroom, a ’Snoezelen’ sensory room, spacious activity areas and outdoor space with a games area.

New self help guides for a wide range of mental health issues now available to download for iPhone, android and windows phones. Find out more at merseycare.nhs.uk

STAR Unit Manager Kevin Tarpey: “Our patients are some of the most vulnerable, they often need one-to-one observation and specialist care. The new unit is well equipped for the work being done here by our fantastic multi-disciplinary team for people like Luke. His story makes our job all the more worthwhile.” * Snoezelen rooms are specially designed to deliver stimuli to different senses using lighting effects, colour, sounds, music, scents, etc.




Volunteer Mariam used talking therapies.


alking treatments are helping people across Liverpool who have common mental health issues such as stress, depression or anxiety. While more and more people are seeing the benefits, those from black ethnic minority (BME) communities are more reluctant to come forward. “No-one talks about it; not even to their families” Zorro.

“Through our partnership with Mersey Care we go into areas such as Toxteth, Garston, Kensington and other parts of Liverpool helping people to use Talk Liverpool. We arrange events, talk about what a brilliant service it is telling them ‘these are professional people who can Engagement and Development Co-ordinator help you’. Zorro Rudasumbwa explains why it’s so important to get help early, and volunteer “It takes courage to come forward. Having someone who looks like them, Mariam Diane talks about her own sounds like them, who understands experience. their issues, makes a difference. It’s like a helping hand, it cuts down the barriers Zorro and links them with the people from Talk Liverpool. “In BME communities mental health is Mary Seacole House, a multi-cultural resource centre in Liverpool, for people who face mental health challenges, is working with Talk Liverpool to encourage people from BME communities to seek help.

a taboo. No-one talks about it, not even to their families. Seeking help is hard. People may not understand who does what; they might struggle filling in forms or using the internet. 8

“I’d say to someone ‘we know you because we are the same as you. If you are anxious or depressed don’t sit in the dark, ring or go to the website.’”

If you are anxious or depressed don’t sit in the dark, ring, go to the website if you can, or talk to me, I’ll get you help.

Mariam “I’m a single mum and I thought I was superwoman. I thought I could do everything, study, look after my kids, run my daily life. It got too much, I wasn’t sleeping or eating. I got scared and told my GP; he said it was a sign of stress and anxiety and referred me to Talk Liverpool. “I keep things to myself – maybe that was part of the problem - but the therapist was friendly, gentle and professional. It made it very easy. She gave me a chance to open up and talk; a strategy. Now I sleep well and I’m happy. “Don’t be scared, they are so professional. I’ve been there. If you don’t talk you won’t get help. Don’t let the language barrier stop you; there are people who can help.”

Be a Volunteer Volunteers who have time to give and who speak Spanish, Punjabi, and Swahili, are being recruited to act as interpreters and help take out the message about getting help early. If you would like to volunteer contact Mary Seacole House on 0151 707 0319 or go to the website: maryseacolehouse.com

Need to talk? Talk to us We offer access to talking therapies, practical support and employment advice quickly and easily and help with a variety of problems.

How do I get help?

You must be 16+ and registered with a Liverpool city GP.

You can self refer to Talk Liverpool by completing the self referral form on the website: talkliverpool.nhs.uk or by telephoning 0151 228 2300. You can also be referred to the service by any of the following • Your GP • Any health or social care professional • Any voluntary or third sector organisation • Jobcentre Plus.


For more information call: 0151 228 2300 or go online at: talkliverpool.nhs.uk

@talk_lpool 9





KAREN supports people in our secure services at Ashworth Hospital and Scott Clinic. “A patient at Scott Clinic once asked me why we were keeping her alive… that was the extent of her complete loss of hope. It struck me that even in the hardest places we are given the option to choose or not to choose hope and life; but also that sometimes we can be too poorly to do so and that is when we need other people to hold the possibility of it for us. “Viktor Frankl, an Austrian Jewish psychiatrist who survived concentration camps, watched how inmates on starvation rations would still choose to share their rations with the weakest and children, claiming back their own humanity through the choices they made. In the same way a lot has been taken away from people with mental illness, especially in the secure environment I work in, except the right to choose how to respond. Staff need hope too, that they can provide the care that will one day see a man or woman start to recover. “I say to them, and to anyone, take what gives you energy, the sort of energy you had when you were five, before life knocked it out of you – what did you want to be? Hold on to that.”

Chaplains Karen Jobson and Sara Doyle

hat happens when you lose hope? Trust chaplains Karen Jobson and Sara Doyle talk frankly about having, losing…and giving hope.

SARA is based at Clock View Hospital

“My job at Mersey Care feels like and supports people in our hospitals and Cinderella’s golden slipper – it fits local community. “I’ve lost hope myself. perfectly; it made sense of my calling as a priest. I’m able to draw on my own I was in my second year of training to become a priest in the Church of England lived experience; as I listen to someone’s story it helps create a golden thread to and working as a resettlement worker the person. They say their hope is gone, with a homeless and housing charity in but I tell them it’s still there, you just Liverpool. Life was going great – or so I can’t feel it, you can’t experience it, but thought. I’m going to carry it for you. Then, when “Very quickly I became mentally unwell, you’re ready, I’m going to give your hope depressed, and paranoid. It came out back to you. of the blue and it knocked me for six. “I’d say to someone without hope please Was I studying too hard? Maybe it talk to someone, get help. You’re not was my personality? I don’t know, but alone, there is hope.” something came together that tipped me over the edge. “I had to take a year out; it challenged If you would like to know more my faith. There was I, doing what God about Mersey Care’s spiritual care wanted me to do, and then all this services go to merseycare.nhs.uk/ happened. I completely lost hope, it was aboutus/spiritualcare or call devastating. Having a structure around 0151 471 2608 me, support from my employer and family, was so important. If you have people holding you, letting you know you’re not alone, you’ll move on.

My job at Mersey Care feels like Cinderella’s golden slipper – it fits perfectly. 11



JOIN US! At Mersey Care we are passionate about recruiting people who can bring their own experiences and personal values. In the retail industry they call it customer service – it’s a passion for giving people the best experience possible.


If we spot the potential in someone we can help them gain knowledge and skills.

We’re Recruiting We continually strive for excellence and many of our service users tell us we give them their ‘life’ back and hope for the future. Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life?

Read Ty’s story on p14


esourcing lead, Leanne Williams: “We want our workforce to represent the communities we serve; we want to be the employer where there are no barriers to working for us. It’s your values and things that you’ve encountered in life that make you what you are and could make you right for the job. “There are all kinds of reasons why people might be reluctant or struggle to take the first steps to applying for a job. This might be because they believe they don’t have the skills or may lack confidence. If we spot the potential in someone; if they have the right attitude and values, we can help them gain the knowledge and skills, either through our pre-employment

and apprenticeship schemes or once they join us. Interviews are also designed to bring out people’s strengths. “We’re using assessments and group sessions to let people demonstrate the skills they have in different ways. So if we ask you to come for the whole day it’s designed to help you relax and show us what kind of person you are without the pressure of a short intensive interview. “I’d say to people, when you see our posters in your community, have a look and apply or make a note of the date and venue of one of our open days and pluck up the courage to come along to see us – we’re looking forward to meeting you.”

Want to join us? View more details or apply directly on: jobs.nhs.uk/in/merseycare or phone recruitment: 0151 473 2992 option1 You can find our Staff Charter at: merseycare.nhs.uk

All posts will be subject to Disclosure and Barring Service check.




ealth care assistant Tehrman Adamu’s response to being given a job is simple – it’s payback time.

established team you have to work extra hard to show your skills. In my role as a health care assistant I never stop asking questions, I want to learn, it’s the only way to find out if you’ve made the right choice.“

“I want them to know they’ve given the role to the right person. I research, read and use what I’ve learned in my previous jobs.“

He’s well placed to be the unit’s Equality and Diversity lead.

Ty, as he’s known, came to Mersey Care In 2011, when, with a young baby and a house and a CV that included software engineer and community development mentor, he joined a healthcare agency. It wasn’t part of his master plan. “As a child my plan was to create brilliant robots so I got my ideal apprenticeship with Marconi. Chinese imports invaded the market and we were made redundant. I’d done a lot of community work before the funding cuts. I spent four years working in Yorkshire but I missed my son so much I had to come home. “I always say a wise man creates his own opportunities but I confess I had no idea what I was going into when I was sent by the agency to Mersey Care. My eyes were opened even at the induction. Before that the only thing I knew about mental health was stuff in the media. I worked on every ward - you can’t say until you’ve tried whether it’s for you. “I was lucky; I was offered a job on the unit I really loved, in Scott Clinic, the Trust’s medium secure unit. When you join an


“I was born in Nigeria. Knowing where you’ve come from helps you know where you’re going. I did some family history with a patient who was often agitated. We found out all kinds including some royal connections! “He said it had given him a sense of purpose to explore more. Now if he becomes unsettled I joke with him about having a ‘royal strop’ – it settles things down.” Son Leighton is a chip off the old block, studying alongside his dad in the library. “I’m so proud of him. He’s a school counsellor and peer supporter. Last year he was junior Lord Mayor of Liverpool for a month and met Princess Anne. He says ‘Baba (the Nigerian term for father) I get to do all these great things why don’t you do something?’ I tell him what I do is brilliant! I’m now in my first year at John Moores University studying to be a nurse. I don’t come to work for the money, being part of someone’s recovery is reward; that’s how I know I’m in the right place.“

I never stop asking questions, I want to learn...



YOU CAN People like Faye are bringing our values alive.


pprentice administrative assistant Faye Williams may be 19 and not long out of sixth form, but she’s on the front line supporting people to take part in the Trust’s Recovery College and volunteer programme. She’s delighted to be in the heart of the city, working in a fulfilling job with the Social Inclusion and Participation team, helping people enrol onto courses. Faye’s also embarked on an NVQ in Business Administration through the

Regional Union Learning Zone at Mersey Care’s Maghull site. “I was a bit nervous at the interview – it was my first proper job and I was stuttering, but they reassured me. My mum’s a mental health nurse and I knew even before I left sixth form that I wanted to work in mental health. I was so pleased when I got the job, I just want to stay and learn more.” If you would like to work for Mersey Care go to jobs.nhs.uk/in/merseycare or phone recruitment on 0151 473 2992 option 1. 15



e was a well respected session musician in the 80s. His music is still his life. So for Tony Sweeney hearing the news that he had dementia was too much to bear. He’d already spent 10 years learning to live with Parkinson’s disease so at just 51 Tony found it hard to pick himself up. “I thought the nurse was lying. How could this be happening to me? I had three kids; I played music seven or eight hours a day. I was devastated.” The house he shares with wife Jacqui, a nurse practitioner, is packed with instruments. His two sons and daughter, all successful musicians in their own right, have


Most people think dementia affects older people so it’s more shocking when you’re younger.

bought him a specially crafted lounge guitar – it’s light, he doesn’t struggle to hold it like some of the others.

Life has been cruel and kind “Life has been cruel and kind to me, I have an amazing family that I’m so proud of, and a gift in music that still gives me so much pleasure. As my Nan used to say ‘you’ve got a gift now go out there and use it!’ “But I’ve had some low times and if it hadn’t been for the post diagnostic support group at Mossley Hill I’m not sure I’d have coped. They care and it comes across.

get the words out. They gave me back my confidence.

I’m the same person “The support has been immense. It’s one of the best systems I’ve ever experienced. When we go to the groups and on the memory trips it’s like being on holiday! They see everyone as an individual, that your personality hasn’t changed, you’re still the same person. I always liked to make people laugh; my doctor said ‘you still do that!’

“My wife and I celebrated our silver wedding. I’d always played at parties, it was just that this time she had to hold me up while I played. All I ask of people “I’m naturally loud, but after I was is don’t judge. If I fall over or I can’t get diagnosed I became introverted, I started my words out help me up, let me finish stuttering. The community team taught my sentence. I’m a human being with me exercises, helped me to stay in the something to give.” moment and gave me the confidence to


AND DEMENTIA Tony and wife Jacqui

The couple on their wedding day

Tony’s latest project is to get his songs and poems published. “I used to write them down but when my hands became shaky I bought a small recorder. You have to adapt so you can carry on doing the things you want to. By publishing them other people can relate to my experiences – I may not be immortal but my words will be.”

He’s an inspiration Tony’s occupational therapist Jane Heffey is full of admiration. “It feels so raw when you get the diagnosis, people don’t want to admit they’re struggling. I’ve since asked Tony to come back to the post diagnostic group to talk to people who had just been diagnosed with young onset dementia. He’s an inspiration.” Changes associated with ageing

Possible symptoms of dementia

Occasionally forgetting recent events, details of conversations and appointments but remembering them later.

Frequently forgetting recent events, conversations and appointments and having no recollection of them even when prompted. Noticing that you are forgetting personal information that you would previously have remembered such as your address.


ore than 40,000 people living with the condition are young. They work, have dependent children and mortgages. They’re leading active lives… where can they go for help? Mersey Care’s specialist young onset dementia service recognises that support for people under 65 with the condition needs to be tailored to their needs. Psychologist Sarah Butchard: “A diagnosis of dementia can be a life changing event you go through such a range of emotions no matter how old you are. But most people think dementia affects older people so it’s more shocking when you’re younger. “It takes time to come to terms with the diagnosis. In some cases people have been misdiagnosed for years with depression, stress, or for women the onset of the menopause. The symptoms many people associate with dementia such as short term memory loss may be less evident at early stages of a person’s experience. “ How does the service help people? “We offer people hope that you can carry on living well. And we make sure they have the right information and support. That’s really important for people to be able to manage their condition effectively and carry on with their lives.

Forgetting people’s names, particularly when you haven’t seen them for a while.

Not recognising people you have known well like family members and close friends.

You are more worried about your memory than other people are.

Other people are expressing a lot of concerns about your memory but you are less aware of these problems.

Getting confused about the day of the week or the date but being able to work it out.

Getting confused about the day of the week or date and being unable to work it out. You may also forget the year, month, season or be confused by the time of day.

“Our post diagnostic support groups bring people together with others who have been through the same experience and can answer questions, give ideas and be a listening ear. That can be so powerful in helping someone adjust.”

Sometimes struggling to find the right word in a particular situation (it will often come back to you when you stop thinking.)

Frequently forgetting words or using the wrong word in the wrong situation.

• Mersey Care dementia services: merseycare.nhs.uk

It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience of dementia, and of ageing, is very different. If you are worried at all you should see your GP.

• Alzheimers.org.uk • Dementiafriends.org.uk • Dementiauk.org 17



All in the same boat...

What began as a bit of fun has become more serious – we want to win.



hey’re all in the same boat – and there’s nowhere to hide. Dragon boat racing is for team players only and the Mersey Care team is going for gold in this year’s corporate games.

What began as a bit of fun has become an attempt to become winners. The team, funded by the Trust, is taking on tough opposition in a bid to beat its previous fourth place. Team Captain Lynda Nunnen explains: “Everyone’s on different shifts so training can be difficult but we are all determined to beat our rivals in competitions this season - even the all male teams!”

get everybody back in sync on the same stroke. At the beginning of the race we have to be ready for the call, the control and timing required is tremendous. Like any team if you all help each other you get results and the sense of achievement is amazing.”

Did you know?

We have to be in sync, focused and working as one.

Dragon boat racing has ancient Chinese origins and its history has been traced What’s the secret to dragon boat back more than 2000 years. The sport success? “We’re on the same wavelength, involves teams of up to 20 paddlers in we have to be, it’s a tough sport. Even a 40 foot boat with a drummer and a short race that lasts two minutes feels helm, paddling frantically to beat the a long way when you are paddling fast other teams down the course. The drums, and hard. We have to be in sync, focused shouting and colourful boats make it an and working as one. If one of us is out impressive and exciting sport both to of stroke the drummer makes the call to watch and to compete in. The Mersey Care team

Team captain Lynda Nunnen takes to the water



Mersey Care’s Irene Byrne Watts

The Government has recently reviewed the way we care for people with learning disabilities and decided discharge into the community setting as quickly as possible will be best for them.


e’re already a million miles away from large institutions where liberties were lost and much worse, to people being supported to live in their own home in their own community. I have seen and worked with skilled and compassionate staff who see the people they support as equal human beings working in equal partnerships with them, empowering and enabling them, and I have seen and worked alongside people who for one reason or another quite simply do not see themselves and people with disabilities as one and the same.


The NHS now has new direction and new policies. Policy is a great lever of change but making the real change for people with disabilities and their families comes about, not because of changes in policy, but changes in the thinking and behaviour of those who support people and changes in societal attitudes at large. Real change comes about when we work alongside people rather than working for them and sometimes even against them. Real change comes about when we see people with disabilities and their families as equals.

Real change comes when we stand with people rather than above them. It has been a delight to work alongside colleagues at Mersey Care and Calderstones NHS Foundation Trust and across the wider NHS looking at the new Transforming Care Agenda and working on collectively delivering it.

“Real change comes about when we work alongside people.”




oes music have the power to improve our emotional health and leave us feeling happier?

In the next few pages we look at Mersey Care’s work with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the research that says music really is good for you.

Viselli Petrenko, Chief Conductor, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra


Rehearsal time at the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra




ersey Care’s partnership with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra gives service users the opportunity to take part in one to one or group sessions with professional musicians.

“They’re extremely versatile. In the Brain Injury Unit. Mandy the clarinet player might prepare music for the session, but she’ll respond to service users and what they want to hear or play. Sessions might involve staff, service users and musicians and can be one to one or in a group.

Berenice Gibson, Programme Support Manager, explains how playing or listening to music can change a person’s mood and put them into a different frame of mind.

“The musicians work differently in different places. In our high secure service for example a musician may sit outside a seclusion room playing. What they do depends on the setting and the person.

“There are seven lead musicians from the Philharmonic involved with Mersey Care and what they do depends entirely on the setting and individual needs or preferences.


What music does is personal; I remember a session with two service users, a violinist and clarinet musician. One of the service users struggled with working in a group, but by the end of the session they were working on making music together. They were responding to each other, it was thrilling to watch.

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You feel it go through your body. It’s the most tremendous feeling.

“When I’m feeling down I like really reflective music, I like really calm music that takes me to another place. Everyone is different but I would probably listen to Unfinished Symphony by Massive Attack. I don’t listen to the words and I don’t really think about too much, it just takes me to another place and I think it’s a great piece.

ead musician Rachel Jones plays the viola with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and has worked for Mersey Care for five years. Rachel visits the Trust’s alcohol dependency services at Windsor Clinic and its drug dependency unit at the Kevin White Unit to play music to service users.

“He was planning to leave the centre and not go back after that day but he stayed and he came to my session the following week. I remember him saying about the effect it had on him and how he had overcome the tension he’d felt inside.

“One of the most memorable sessions I had was with someone who had been in and out of services for close to 40 years. I had gone to the session with another member of the orchestra and we ended up playing a Beatles song. This guy had decided he wanted to sing, he began to cry and got quite emotional. It turned out the song had been played at his mum’s funeral but this inner emotion had never come out.

“I’d say to people who don’t think they like classical music, just give it a go. A lot of music especially rap music and pop music is taken from classical music, Barber - Adagio for Strings, was changed into a dance tune and Pachelbel’s Canon “My life would be so dull without music. in D was changed into a pop tune by On stage we can feel the vibrations from the band The Farm. It’s everywhere, you the orchestra. You feel it go through your listen to it in the same way, it’s music body. It’s the most tremendous feeling. without words there’s something for everyone.”

“He has been clean for three years now and he is convinced that it’s down to whatever happened in that moment. I don’t think it gets much better than that. Afterwards he came to all the service user concerts; and he still talks about it today.

Rachel Jones plays viola with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra


Gary Barlow’s feel good favourite is “Don’t Give Up”, the 1986 duet between Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.

“I don’t think you can listen to this song without feeling inspired. I was having a very low moment in the 1990s and the song came on the radio. There have only been a very few times when I’ve had to pull the car over to listen to a song – this was one of them.”


FEELING A tune can lift you up, calm you down, take you back to a moment. But it’s more than just a moment. Put together these songs, these feelings, can improve your mental health.



candinavian scientists found that responses to different types of music regulate our emotions, something which is essential for good mental wellbeing.

Emotion regulation is an essential component to mental health, according to scientists. Poor emotion regulation is associated with psychiatric mood disorders, such as depression.

The research, published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Human Neuroscience’, investigated the relationship between mental health, music listening habits, and the brain’s responses.

It seems the feelgood factor comes from the release of dopamine, a chemical in the brain. It can help you focus, relax and as the song goes... ‘Express Yourself.’

Musicians from the Philharmonic Orchestra show their support for the Big Brew campaign.

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hat song lifts up your mood? What instantly puts a smile on your face and leaves your humming along or tapping your feet?

The Big Brew want to know the songs you listen to when you’re feeling down and need cheering up. Please tell us your favourite songs on Twitter @The_BigBrew or on our Facebook page facebook.com/merseycarebigbrew The Big Brew campaign aims to tackle the stigma that stops so many from asking for help. For more information go to merseycare.nhs.uk/ getting-involved/big-brew/

to cheer you up: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson “Hey Ho” by The Lumineers “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

Do you agree? Tell us your favourite



“My favourite song is ‘Rule the World’ by Take That. The words have great meaning for my husband and I, he’s such a support for me, I feel uplifted whenever I listen to it.” Clock View peer support worker Anna Wix 25


SELF HARM A round one in 10 young people will self harm at some point. Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Cecil Kullu sees first hand the increasing numbers of people with self inflicted injuries coming through A&E departments and established the HOPE psychological support service at Royal Liverpool and Clock View Hospitals.


• Statistic source: Royal College of Psychiatrists: rcpsych.ac.uk

Nurse Vicky Barwood runs Aintree Hope at Clock View

There’s a fear and disbelief that leads to myths about young people who self harm; that they are reckless and attention seeking. But that’s far from the truth says Dr Cecil Kullu. Emotional pain “If their lives are crumbling around them it may be the only thing over which they have any control. If the emotional pain is unbearable, inflicting physical pain provides a distraction. They are ashamed so they don’t tell anyone.” In a survey of people who came into A&E at the Royal Liverpool Hospital during a four week period, almost a quarter had or were intending to self harm. The programme aims to reach out to people while they are still in crisis. Dr Kullu: “We treated people’s physical injuries, but not the different reasons which caused them. We felt offering therapy would help people deal with the reasons and protect them from doing something even more destructive. “The Trust wants to eliminate suicide by 2020. Research suggests a link between severe self harm and suicide risk. Brief therapy has been shown to improve the way people feel, and reduce self harm”.

Therapy is powerful “The therapy is very powerful. It allows the person to be listened to and attend to their feelings which itself brings a change in them.”

The right help at the right time The Hope programme runs at Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Clock View Hospital. While people currently have their first of four hour long sessions within 10 days, Dr Kullu and his team have an ambitious aspiration of offering the first session within 48 hours of a visit to A&E. The HOPE programme is an example of excellent collaboration with psychotherapy services and Dr Kullu is full of praise for the teams: “They are incredible, they are totally committed to giving people the right help at the right time.”

• If you would like support for you or someone else please call 0151 706 2418 or 0151 706 3520 (HOPE service at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital) or 0151 330 7200 (the HOPE Aintree service).



OPE Liverpool, which is part of the Hospital Mental Health Liaison Team, runs clinics from the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

Assessment nurses Ella McCrink and Vicky Barwood lead the HOPE Aintree service at Clock View Hospital: Ella describes the therapy sessions as a place for people to talk about what could be uncomfortable feelings. “For some people it’s a method of surviving abuse and trauma so saying it needs to stop is a big thing. Often it can feel very raw, they have to feel safe with us. But they’re not alone, we have met lots of people in the same situation.” Vicky agrees. “The person may even have faced stigma from health professionals so to come to us takes courage. But the sessions are very relaxed. Don’t struggle on your own, there are people who can help you.” 27


STORY As a child I was always crying – the teachers couldn’t help me. But no-one talked about depression and I felt no-one was listening.


ursery nurse Emma Evans’ positive attitude to life is infectious - but for the 24-year-old nursery nurse more than a decade of self harming ended only when she underwent therapy at HOPE service.

“I’m very optimistic, I don’t like self pity; everyone has their struggles and I always think there are people worse off. But “I became homesick and went back to the I’ve wanted to please people and I know nursery. I love my job and my employers now that’s not always possible. couldn’t be more supportive. I’d never “I honestly don’t know why I decided been off sick even for a day. But last year “My friends are starting to settle down to self harm. It certainly wasn’t to get and I’d like to meet someone. I think I’ve attention and I’m not proud. Things had I felt so low I became so scared. I went not allowed anyone to be close to me, happened in my life; I’d been abused by to A&E at the Royal Liverpool Hospital a family friend when I was eight, but I was and asked for help. When I was referred I’ve always thought I don’t like myself so why would anyone else… but I’m happy too young to understand how serious it to the HOPE team I was sceptical, but I with me now.” thought anything was worth a try. was. I think now that fuelled it. “As a child I was always crying – the teachers couldn’t help me. But no-one talked about depression and I felt no-one was listening.

optimistic. I became a nursery nurse, then a holiday park children’s rep in Tunisia.

“I was 12 when I started self harming and it got worse when I hit puberty. I felt numb, and it didn’t help, but it was the only way out of the black hole that I was in. People say think of others, but it was like carrying a heavy weight, I just wanted to be dead.

“The therapy is only four sessions, but it unlocked something in me. I’ve tried to bury my past, there was so little that I’m proud of. I hadn’t realised that to go forward I had to go back and recount some painful memories. It felt like I was back there, I could almost touch it. It was intense and exhausting, I’d go home and sleep for hours, but I felt emotions I’d never felt before.

“Eventually my friend told the teacher. I had counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy over the years and at times I felt 28

Emma with her beloved dog Rufus.

WHAT IS Self harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It’s usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.

WHY DO PEOPLE DO IT? There are many reasons. Sometimes when people self harm, they feel on some level that they intend to die. More than half of people who die by suicide have a history of self harm. More often people want to punish themselves, express their distress or relieve unbearable tension. Sometimes the reason is a mixture of both. Self harm can also be a cry for help.

GETTING HELP AND ADVICE These organisations can support and advise you if you self harm or want to support someone. Samaritans - call 116 123 (open 24 hours a day) email: jo@samaritans.org or visit your local branch (you can find this at: samaritans.org) Mind - call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 (9am-6pm on weekdays) Harmless - email info@harmless.org.uk Young Minds Parents Helpline – call 0808 802 5544 (9.30am-4pm on weekdays)

Samaritans - samaritans.org selfharmUK - selfharm.co.uk NHS Choices - nhs.uk Harmless - harmless.org.uk YoungMinds - youngminds.org.uk (for children and young people)




Leaving home to go to university is exciting, but it can be stressful too. Making new friends and living away can make young people lose sleep – and not just from late night partying.


or mature students, balancing part time jobs, family life and study also takes its toll.

Students rarely seek help early, waiting until they are in crisis before getting in touch with their GP, university or other counselling services. Many aren’t even registered with a GP. Talking therapies service Talk Liverpool is staging free stress control classes both in universities and venues across the city. Classes are 90 minutes long (with plenty of breaks) for six consecutive weeks. They are tutor-led and you won’t be asked to share personal information. The first student course was held at Liverpool University’s Student Guild

building and is part of a rolling programme - go to the website to find out when and where courses are being held. Talk Liverpool senior practitioner Marcia Alldis said students need help for stress related problems long before exam time. “New students may struggle with being away from home; others have problems they had at home that carry on or even get worse. They may have come to Liverpool from overseas and have difficulties understanding the language or a lack of understanding of our health care system. We are offering support that is flexible, where they can refer themselves and in places they know well.”

Talk to us Call: 0151 228 2300 or go online at: talkliverpool.nhs.uk 30

• To enrol on a Talk Liverpool stress control course you need to be over 16 and either be registered with a Liverpool GP or studying at any university or college within the Liverpool city boundary.

Please call 0151 228 2300 for more information or to register your place on a course.

New students may struggle with being away from home.


ONE YEAR ON It is now over a year since Mersey Care helped transform the view of modern mental health care by opening Clock View Hospital. The £25 million 80 bed hospital, built on the site of the former Walton Hospital, has won plaudits and awards for its modern design developed in association with service users.


“I trained in a 1,000 bed asylum in Chester, so having worked in a proper Victorian asylum, and to come to something so modern firstly makes you “On a summer’s evening that’s what the feel old but it also makes you think rest of the population would be doing, how far we’ve come in mental health enjoying the fresh air and having a cup services,” she said. of tea. You couldn’t do that at Stoddart “Where I trained student nurses weren’t but you can do that here.” allowed on some wards. It’s important In addition to the innovative design that we have a collective memory of at Clock View, the space is utilised for where we have been and where we are “Many service users have said that Clock greater participation in activities with going.“ View is as good, if not better, than a organisations such as Everton in the private hospital,” revealed Noirin Smith, Community, the Reader Organisation modern matron at Clock View and a and the dance group Movema regularly stalwart of the project to oversee the visiting to run sessions. transfer of patients and staff to Walton. Clock View is Most importantly, for someone with 30 “The whole point of this is to measure it years of working in the NHS, Clock View as good, if not from where we started. Stoddart House represents a significant landmark in the better, than a was a particularly stark environment with journey from old fashioned methods of very little access to outside space without private hospital. care to a modern, innovative hospital for taking up a nurse’s time, whereas the mental health. Noirin Smith modern matron he use of open spaces, memory cabinets and ensuite facilities for every patient has earned rave reviews from all who have visited. For all its accolades, however, the litmus test for any new hospital is how staff and patients, many of whom were transferred from the dated buildings at Stoddart House, adapted to their new environment.

doors into the courtyard at Clock View are open and people can access that space.




ne in five police call - outs involve people with a mental health problem. More than a fifth of people in prison are estimated to have a learning disability.


Should these people be in the criminal justice system at all? If they’re not, how can we protect the public? Mersey Care Liaison and Diversion service is a highly trained team of mental health workers who step in

when police feel someone they have detained needs mental health assessment and support rather than custody. As the service prepares to celebrate its coming of age we meet the two men who were there at the start to find out more about how things have changed‌ and what the future holds.

We Never Stood Still

What’s happened since?

It was visionary when it was launched in 1995. Now Mersey Care’s Criminal Justice Liaison team has received £1.7 million from the government to develop its model into a national programme to support people with mental health issues and other vulnerabilities who find themselves caught up in the justice system.

Mark: “The biggest success is the strength and depth of our partnerships with the police and other justice services; we now speak the same language. We have offices in police stations and courts so that we are located in the same place; we’re an integrated part of their system.

“It’s definitely brought about a change Gary Smith and Mark Sergeant are to a more compassionate health culture. proud and optimistic in equal measures. The police now have trained mental Their team has grown…from four to 34, health investigators and new custody and although they’re not retiring just yet officers have mental health training. they have a legacy to nurture. “Our street car triage service where a Mark heads the service and is ‘the mental health nurse goes out with a strategic one’. Gary takes ideas and police officer to treat people ‘in situ’ is makes them happen. They laugh at nationally acclaimed.” being described by colleagues as ’like an old married couple,’ but agree theirs And the future? is an extraordinary partnership. As mental health nurses in the 80s they would treat offenders only to see them return after further offending. Gary: “Police and courts didn’t always recognise the links between mental illness and offending - and there was no system or process to support them if they did. Our vision was to develop a service that addressed the underlying problem - to see more than just the offender. We have a duty to protect the public. But if we address the problem we may stop vulnerable people offending, so everyone benefits.” Mark recalls the early days. “There was no model, but we shared an overwhelming belief and desire to improve things; we had the drive, we never stood still. Having partners on board was crucial, but we didn’t have to coerce people into our way of thinking.”

Gary: “We’ve recruited a great team and we’re expanding. People have heard how we do things in Mersey Care, they want to be part of it and we’re at the heart of national developments. The service is in good hands.”

Mark Sargeant and Gary Smith... at the heart of national development

Our Services The team offers services to people with what are known as common vulnerabilities, including: • Women in custody • Children and young people • People with substance misuse issues • Homelessness • Learning disabilities • Mental disorder • Veterans

• For more information about the Criminal Justice Liaison Team call 0151 255 0040

It’s brought about a change to a more compassionate health culture. 33





laire Dutton is a support worker with the STAR unit assessment and treatment centre for people with a learning disability who are mentally unwell.

it wouldn’t be simple but it was all I wanted. I studied Learning Disability Studies and Education studies at Liverpool Hope.

I’m planning a pizza night with non alcoholic cocktails – quite a few of our patients are around my age, 24. Before I leave I’ll go and say goodbye to every patient, it must be hard for them to see me going home when they can’t. But we share things; I tell them about my wedding plans, they tell me about their lives. It’s about making life as normal as possible while they’re here.

“Now Mersey Care is supporting me to study for a Health and Social Care degree at Chester university to become “I had a ride in a bath chair today – an Assistant Practitioner. Combining a service user was feeling down and I studies with working is challenging but was trying to persuade her to have a nice bath and wash her hair to make her I’m lucky, I work with a brilliant team. “I can plan tomorrow’s activities but feel better - she’d only go if I tried it! “We’ve a patient in segregation - he what happens will depend on what “I’ve been a support worker since I was always eats alone. I’ll take him to our people want to do. Whatever it is I’ll try snoezelen room so he can have some 15. My work experience placement to make it something good…” company. just happened to be at a special needs nursery. I knew from then that was it for me. After volunteering with young people and those with a drug problem Do you enjoy MC Magazine? Take our short survey. Click and learning disabilities in Texas, I knew surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MCMagazine

What do you think?





Everyone has the right to feel safe. Staff side and the Trust have worked hard together to develop Zero Hero, a campaign that helps people who are cared for by us, work for us or come into contact with us, to know what they can expect from us and what we expect from them. Zero Hero - let’s work together in giving the green light to positive behaviour. Please remember that we will prosecute people who are violent, threatening or abusive. 35

Suicide. Someone close to you could be about to snap...

Friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues may appear to be strong on the outside but they may be crumbling within. Desperate for help but afraid to come forward due to fear, discrimination or ridicule.

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Support the Big Brew campaign. Help us tackle the stigma that stops so many from asking for help.

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Support the Big Brew campaign. Help us tackle the stigma that stops so many from asking for help.

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The aim of our Big Brew campaign is to shatter the stigma of suicide. By arranging your own Big Brew event and talking openly, candidly about mental health and depression, we can help people open up, sharing thoughts and showing support is available.


The Big Brew

Support the Big Brew campaign. Help us tackle the stigma that stops so many from asking for help.

For more information and your FREE BIG BREW pack go to


The Big Brew

Contact Details Got some news you’d like to share?

Mersey Care NHS Trust, V7 Building, Kings Business Park, Prescot, Merseyside L34 1PJ

Contact us at the following addresses.

Telephone: 0151 473 0303 Email: communications@merseycare.nhs.uk

MC MAGAZINE is published by Mersey Care NHS Trust and produced by the communications team, Mersey Care NHS Trust, V7 Building, Kings Business Park, Prescot, Merseyside L34 1PJ T: 0151 473 0303 E: communications@merseycare.nhs.uk W: merseycare.nhs.uk. MC MAGAZINE is available in other formats on request. Please pass on for others to read and recycle.

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