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YOUR COMPLIMENTARY COPY

MAGAZINE

MC

BEING FREDDIE

Summer 2017

INSIDE Eye of the Beholder

Early Learning

Don’t Worry Bee Happy


MC

MAGAZINE 3 WELCOME 4 BEING FREDDIE 7 EARLY LEARNING 10 THE GOOD SAMARITAN

13 IT’S BREWFIE TIME

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14 IT TAKES TWO 16 LIFE ROOMS OPENS NEW DOORS

I’VE GOT YOUR BACK

What does it take to be a good Samaritan? We find out.

18 EYE OF THE BEHOLDER 22 STAY WELL FEEL GREAT

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26 DON’T WORRY – BEE HAPPY

PICNIC AL FRESCO there’s nothing like eating in the open air. Our recipes are simple, tasty and healthy!

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IT TAKES TWO Maureen’s husband and therapist have helped her regain the confidence she’d lost through ill health. MC magazine team: Managing Editor: Steve Murphy. Editor: Jackie Rankin.

30 A JUST CULTURE

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32 INTRODUCING…NEW HEALTH SERVICES IN SEFTON

STRESSED AND UNFIT?

34 DAY IN THE LIFE

The answer may be in yoga.

35 THE CARERS’ FRIEND

Contributors: Mark Hudson, Rachel Robinson, John Rowbotham. Editorial: Julie Crompton. Photography: Joel Goodman, Steve Murphy, Mark Waugh. Design: Jo Hadfield.

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

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If you have received this magazine as a member of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, we’d like to be sure that the information we hold for you is current and accurate. If you have moved house, changed your email address, or have a new phone number please email Membership@merseycare.nhs.uk with your name, date of birth and details that need to be amended.


WELCOME

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Maureen tells how talking to her therapist and the unstinting support of her beloved husband Brian have given her a renewed optimism.

e hope as summer goes on you’re spending more time, outside, connecting with people, going for a walk (even a short one does you good), or enjoying a hobby that takes you out of the house. Most of us have had to gear ourselves up to look in the mirror when we put on last year’s summer wardrobe, but some people’s perception of their body is so far removed from reality it can make them ill. We were truly humbled to meet two young men battling against a condition which dramatically alters – for the worse a person’s view of what they look like. They bravely agreed to both an interview, and a photo session, so others can learn more and seek help. The battle can extend beyond physical. In a special interview former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff tells how Freddie, (his nickname), developed into the much bolder brasher alter ego he thought people wanted, with disastrous consequences.

As hobbies go bees are the new black… Einstein said that if the bee population died out, humankind would follow within three decades. Beekeeping is on the up and as our expert tells us on page 26, even if you don’t get a hive you can put out a welcome sign to bees by planting up your outdoor spaces so they can thrive. Relaxation wasn’t in retired health care worker Maureen’s vocabulary, but years of life trauma left her depressed.

Physical health has a huge impact on our mental wellbeing. Staying active and eating well can change the way you think and feel. Our Stay Well Feel Great section is packed with ideas, from getting into yoga to a rainbow coloured picnic prepared by NHS Chef Lisa Murphy using readily available ingredients.

The MC editorial team.

Staying active and eating well can change the way you think and feel. 3


BEING

FREDDIE In conversation with Mark Hudson

Andrew (Freddie) Flintoff has our attention! Something he’s had to get used to, as a world class cricketer, popular television presenter or most recently as an unintentional spokesperson for mental health.

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ndrew made his first-class cricket debut for Lancashire in 1995. Since then the national and international honours have just kept on coming. He made his biggest impact for England in the summer of 2005, when he played a major role in regaining the Ashes from Australia. His contributions won him the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, followed in 2006 by being awarded an MBE by the Queen. Yet in September 2010 as one of the biggest and most successful players in the game he retired from professional cricket, still a relatively young man. The game he loved had taken its toll on him both physically and mentally.

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The game he loved had taken its toll on him both physically and mentally. He has since gone on to develop a hugely successful career on television and is an ever-present team leader of the much-loved Sky 1 sports panel show ‘A League of Their Own’ a BAFTA winning show now in its 11th series. Whether touring the UK

with his ‘Chip Van’, ‘Being Alone in The Wild’, or winning the Australian version of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ Andrew with his trade mark ‘laddish’ charm and sense of fearless fun has established a fan base world-wide. Strange to think that this self-confessed, quiet and painfully shy Lancastrian once found it difficult to fit in, to find his role in an established team, who for the most part were older and more comfortable with dressing room banter and ritual. “I was just awkward, and never really knew what to say’’. That was until, at the end of season’s trip and still only sixteen, the lads bought him a pint of Guinness and


HOWZAT! Freddie Flintoff ... alternative persona, through who he could be braver, bolder and on occasion more controversial.

in this creamy, rich, satisfyingly smooth pint Andrew found acceptance. He also found an uninhibited voice, and a bravado that would run throughout the rest of his cricketing career and beyond to, in part, define him. He had found in the view of one of his coaches – Freddie! Freddie Flintoff as in Fred Flintstone, a nickname that not only stuck but gave the young Andrew an alternative persona, through whom he could be braver, bolder and on occasion more controversial. “I became more stubborn, more single minded, things that I often think made up for any lack of skill”. “I played the role, just as an actor does. Freddie somehow gave me this voice that Andrew, might never have had. Suddenly people started seeing ‘me’, and Freddie definitely loved that.” As we talk I realise that although Freddie is very much part of Andrew, we are both talking about him as

though he is someone else. In many ways he is; he’s the ‘lad’ that everybody thinks they know, who everyone would like to have a drink with, someone who would never disappoint on an entertainment level. Andrew on the other hand is much more focused, driven and considerate. Freddie is the cricketer who famously at a party in Number 10 Downing Street, went missing, only to be found at the cabinet table pretending to be Prime Minister admonishing his cabinet. Freddie literally took Andrew by the hand and led him, not only into success but often into trouble.

Freddie literally took Andrew by the hand and led him, not only into success but often into trouble. “Freddie allowed me to be braver, I could suddenly talk to anyone, everyone in-fact who would listen. “Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all good.”

Andrew has been very open about a battle with alcohol. Andrew has been very open about a once intermittent battle with alcohol; an inability to switch off, the sleep deprived depression. All things that he has spoken about at length. Spoken about so eloquently that he has unintentionally become the ‘go to’ sportsman to speak about mental health, something that he has become passionate about. “I am passionate about it. I’ve been lucky with the help and support I’ve had. I know how tough it is sometimes getting out of bed and getting dressed in the morning. As a sportsman, your sole focus is on winning, it’s all or nothing. Constantly being compared to what you have done before and how you can better that. Now, there is a much better support network out there, because we have spoken about it and we do understand much more about mental health and how it affects us. If we’re being honest we all need help sometime in our life. The first step for me was talking about it. I made a television documentary about addiction and depression in sport and I figured if I’m asking others to be honest then I should lead by example.”

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I like setting myself goals, facing new challenges.

“Depression is part of me, of who I am. I’ve learned to exist with it. There is no logic to it, it just is. Often, it’s activated by something trivial. It’s part of me. It has never stopped me working, and in some ways working, for me, is the best medication.” “I don’t like this idea that we talk about the ‘stigma’ of mental health as though it isn’t something that we should talk about, of course we need to talk about it; it is part of all of us. For many it’s an everyday occurrence and this constant labelling I think isn’t helpful. We use the word stigma so often now when talking about mental health we are in real danger of inadvertently reinforcing the very thing we are all trying to fight against.” These days it’s hard to see the difference between Andrew and Freddie, they have somehow seamlessly become one and

the same, the best of both working in harmony on the next phase of Andrew’s journey. As for the future? “Much more television, which is great to do. I also want to do other things. I like setting myself goals, facing new challenges and since I stopped playing cricket this has served me well. I also like tackling obstacles head on, for me I’m not sure that achieving a goal is as meaningful if my journey to it hasn’t required me to work harder, learn something about myself, think a bit and fight”.

DO YOU NEED HELP? If you read this article and feel you or someone you know needs help you can contact your GP or another health professional. Our self help guides can be downloaded at: merseycare.nhs.uk

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Andrew recently made his acting debut in ‘Pacino and Bert’ a short film for Sky’s Summer Comedy Shorts. He has just finished filming Kay Mellor’s new television drama, ‘Love, Lies and Records’ for the BBC and later this year will be making his professional theatre debut in Fat Friends the Musical. What would that shy, apologetic 15 year old Andrew say of his achievements? “Not bad for a fat lad”.


When the NHS develops new approaches to healthcare discovering a flaw down the line can come at great cost. So why don’t we iron out the issues at the outset? And shouldn’t the people at the sharp end – staff and patients – tells us how it should be done?

EARLY

LEARNING

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EARLY LEARNING CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7

THE RIGHT

STUFF

KATE’S STORY

Mersey Care is among healthcare organisations in both the US and UK to pilot a pioneering global programme combining leading edge technology and servicer users who have ‘been there’ to get it right first time. We look at how it’s working on the ground.

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dramatic rise in the number of people who self harmed while staying in Mersey Care inpatient hospitals – 1400 in 2015 compared to 400 four years previously – caused serious concern. The Trust is the country’s first to commit to Zero suicides among inpatients by 2020. People who self harm are 50 times more likely to die by suicide. The Trust joined a group of UK and USA healthcare organisations taking part in a unique programme with researchers from The Risk Authority Stanford to reduce clinical risk in selected areas. A mixture of technology and talking, it uses leading edge software (to analyse data and identify the risks) and a new approach known as Design Thinking gaining an understanding the issue by talking at the design stage to people who may use the service. The approach is then tailored to what the software and patients tell. The plan is to monitor impact over six to twelve months, compare and contrast and roll out the most effective interventions.

Programme Director Tim Riding: “We knew there were issues with self harm on some of our hospital wards and we wanted to address it as a priority because of the obvious impact on those affected. But we need to analyse the risks so we get it right from the beginning. Learning early on what doesn’t work as well as what does is vital in providing the Trust’s vision of perfect care, and also reducing costs. By prototyping, testing, feeding back and adapting at the start of the process rather than, as is often the case, after significant investment of time and resource, improves care, is more effective and saves money. In the case of self harm, as service users develop more positive coping strategies for dealing with their psychological distress inpatient lengths of stay may also reduce.” While the project team has provided the impetus, ward managers are the real champions of change. Tim Riding: “Their role is key, they have to take account of the evidence, make sure everyone knows their role and is given the support they’ve said they need to make it work. “

We knew there were issues with self harm on some of our hospital wards... 8

“Going into hospital was the best thing to happen to me. I’m terrified of the world, scared of my surroundings. I went in because I’d tried to kill myself. I knew if I went home I’d do it again. I’ve lost a lot of family members when I was young. I had problems at home and I used to self harm as a kid. As I got older the depression got worse. When my mum died I ended up living with relatives but we didn’t get on and I ended up leaving and getting in debt. I wasn’t eating. Even getting washed and dressed was too much, I didn’t want to be here. I thought ‘If you aren’t here you won’t have the stresses, the debts will all be gone’ When things became really bad I ended up in Broadoak Unit. The nurses told me about the emotional coping skills group I thought ‘this isn’t for me’. But I kept going it’s helped me realise some people can’t control their emotions. One of the biggest things I’ve learnt is how to distract myself. I do the five senses; touch, hearing, sight, taste and smell. I smell the lavender bush in the courtyard, it’s relaxing. I listen to songs on my headphones to make me happy, I cuddle a teddy. For taste, I think of an Italian restaurant I like, it’s not just the food it’s the lighting, music and the nice staff, I just think it’s a happy place. I have a letter from my grandad – just reading it calms me down. No-one had told me before the course that you can do this - that lashing out, shouting at people doesn’t help. Now, when I get like that, I fight through, spring back. My anxiety is a hundred times better, for instance, the other day when someone was agitated, I just walked away. I know now to sit somewhere quiet and use what I’ve learnt.” Name and some identifying details have been changed to protect identity


Donna Gardiner

EARLY LEARNING

Many of these women have been through traumatic experiences... self harm has become a coping strategy.

SOOTHING THE SOUL

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linical psychologist Donna Gardiner says caring for these vulnerable patients creates a constant dilemma for staff: “Many of these women have been through traumatic experiences. The need for emotional release can be overwhelming and self harm has become their coping strategy. Staff are trying to support a woman in extreme distress but also preventing her from using the only coping mechanism she knows, which may increase distress and lead to further urges to self harm. We needed alternatives for patients and staff.” At Clock View’s Dee ward and Harrington ward in Mersey Care’s Broadoak Unit, staff have trained as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy coaches. DBT is about learning to manage difficult emotions by letting yourself experience, recognise and accept them. Patients have their regular session with a psychologist but the coaches are on hand to help them use the skills as a coping strategy. Formal DBT is traditionally a year long programme. This pilot introduces people to DBT skills by condensing it for people who may only be staying in hospital a few weeks and promotes a more psychologically informed approach to managing self harm on the wards.

When MC magazine visited a ward at Liverpool’s Clock View hospital more than half the women - 17 in total - were there because of their self harming. A full programme of activities includes creating soothing boxes in which items that trigger calming; happy memories are gathered and kept in a box to be brought out when times get tough. Patients are encouraged to use ice packs on eyes and necks - known to produce a calming effect. Since the programme began incidences of self harm have dropped. The self harm programme is also running in Mersey Cares secure services in Poplar ward for women at Scott Clinic and Arnold ward for men in Ashworth Hospital; with each developing their own tailored approach. Mersey Care’s Consultant Psychology Lead for Liverpool services Claire Iveson says the approach is backed up by evidence and patient feedback: “We are competing with a very powerful coping mechanism – these people get a huge release of emotion by self harming, but all the evidence is that our alternatives can work.”

Harrington Ward manager Natalie Jones agrees: “We can see it working on the ward, patients know there’s someone they can go to at any time and that in itself makes them calmer.” And Dee ward manager Nicky Kelly says the approach will improve staff confidence in their decision making. “Having psychological support available is good for the women but it provides us with the information to help us provide the right care at a given time and that’s so important.” For further information, or to get involved, contact Tim Riding at tim.riding@merseycare.nhs.uk or on 0151 478 6580 / 07798 844 634.

HELP YOURSELF

Happy memories are gathered by patients in a ‘soothing box’ for when times get tough.

Mersey Care has a number of self help guides that may help with a number of issues. These can be downloaded for FREE at merseycare.nhs.uk

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e meet Samaritan Sheila Williams at the Liverpool centre in Clarence Street. We only get a glance inside and are not allowed to listen to calls – the call room is somewhat smaller than imagined; the three volunteers, or listeners as they are known, sit in small bays separated by blue felt covered privacy barriers. There’s a calmness, sense of intimacy; it’s a safe place.

A call to the Samaritans is confidential. It lasts as long as the caller needs. Tonight Sheila has already taken a call from Leicester, a lady who simply wanted to unburden herself of the pressures of caring for an elderly mother – and another from a young local man who was having suicidal thoughts. She’d talked to the young man for half an hour and he left saying he’d ask to speak with a university counsellor. Sheila gives no further detail. A call to the Samaritans is confidential. It lasts as long as the caller needs; although the average call is 45 minutes it can be two or three hours - and once it’s finished caller and volunteer are unlikely ever to speak again. But in that crucial moment Sheila is there, unconditionally. What happens is determined by the caller. “When we say ‘hello Samaritans’ we have no idea what will happen next. Some people cry, some shout and get angry, others say nothing, sometimes for a few minutes. When that happens I would gently let them know I’m still here when they’re ready to talk. If the silence isn’t broken after a few minutes I’d tell them I’m going to end this call and then reassure them we’ll be here whenever they’re ready to call back.” In the 60s the Samaritans was known as the suicide line, a hotline for people who couldn’t discuss such a taboo subject with anyone else. Calls were charged. Now they’re free and it’s

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opened the floodgates. Samaritans volunteers responded to more than 5.7 million calls for help in 2016, an increase of nearly 300,000 on the previous year. “We thought we may get hoax calls, but they’re rare. We do sometimes bear the brunt of someone’s anger and it’s not pleasant, but it’s not directed at us we’re just the outlet. We get the odd sexually explicit call but we’re trained in how to respond.” While listeners have the skills to deal with those outs of calls, it’s the predictable types that often hits hard. “ When you feel you’re getting through to someone and making progress then they hang up you have to deal with knowing you may never get to know what happens to them.” It must be difficult to respond if someone says they’re planning to take their life? Isn’t that a massive responsibility, and how do listeners deal with it?

We do sometimes bear the brunt of someone’s anger. “ We undergo 10 weeks of rigorous training and are mentored for a long time before we go on the phones, but yes it can be scary at first. There will always be a leader on each shift, someone who can help you while you’re dealing with the call and afterwards. They may suggest coming off the phone for half an hour afterwards, then we have a debrief and support for longer if the call was particularly difficult. You do sometimes take calls home in your head, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t.” What makes a good Samaritan? Sheila smiles: “There isn’t one single thing, we’re a diverse lot. Above all you have to deal with the person in that moment, you’re not here to sort out their entire life. The distress is now, they don’t want cliches, we are the ear, not the voice. And you have to be consistent.

You have to deal with knowing you may never get to know what happens to them. Isn’t life experience essential? It can help, but when I hear our young volunteers handle calls I’m in awe. They have skills and an empathy beyond their years. Texting and social media have made a massive difference - some people can say things in a text they’d never say on the phone or face to face. We’re out there at festivals and events, people say how can that be confidential? But it works. It’s not just festivals. The Samaritans trained 15,000 Network Rail staff in preventing people taking their lives on the railway and supporting those affected by rail suicide. Since the training suicides and suspected training have declined by 18% in two years. Is there a worry that by talking about suicide you may make things worse, especially if someone having suicidal thoughts. “Asking someone if they are suicidal won’t make them think that way if the thought aren’t ready there. If it is talking can make the difference to what happens next; it’s about giving the person a sense of control.” It’s not an average volunteer role yet it sounds compelling? “I feel a sense of privilege that I’m the person they’ve decided to talk to… even if it’s just to say goodnight. I can’t change their situation but I can help to make sense of it. People think they’re weak…I say ‘hey you’ve found the courage to call, you’re the strong one here’.” HOW TO GET HELP You can contact the Samaritans on 0300 302 0890 samaritans.org


TRUE LIFE It’s 9pm – Samaritan Sheila Williams takes a break from the nightshift to speak to MC magazine. She’s already done a day’s work as an accountant and will be here until 2am, sleep for a few hours, then get up for her day job.

INTO THE NIGHT WITH

GOOD

THE SAMARITAN

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HOW TO START A

DIFFICULT CONVERSATION If you’re worried about someone and don’t know how to tackle it, there are some things you can do to help them open up. Often people want to talk, but wait until someone asks how they are. Try asking open questions, like ‘What happened about...’, ‘Tell me about...’, ‘How do you feel about...’

Respect what someone has told you, don’t pressure them. If they don’t want help, don’t push them. Sometimes it’s easy to want to try and fix a person’s problems, or give them advice.

Repeat back what they say to show you understand, and ask more questions.

But it’s usually better for people to make their own decisions. Help them think of all the options, but leave the choice to them.

Focus on your friend’s feelings instead of trying to solve the problem - it can be of more help and shows you care.

FIND OUT HOW THEY FEEL Don’t forget to ask how this person is feeling. Sometimes people will talk you through all the facts of what happened, why it happened and what actions they are thinking of taking, but never say how they actually feel. Revealing your innermost emotions anger, sadness, fear, hope, jealously, despair and so on – can be a huge relief. It sometimes also gives clues about what the person is really most worried about.

Being there for them in other ways, such as socialising or helping with practical things, can also be a great source of support. If you say the wrong thing, don’t panic. There is no perfect way to handle a difficult conversation, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it didn’t go as well as you had hoped.

SHOW YOU UNDERSTAND Ask follow-up questions and repeat back the key things your friend has told you, using phrases like ‘So you’re saying…’, ‘So you think…’ Hearing someone else’s worries or problems can affect you too. Take time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, and if you need to talk, find somebody you trust to confide in. Be careful not to make promises to people you may not be able to keep; this could relate to someone telling you they are experiencing abuse. Don’t take on so much of other peoples’ problems that you yourself start feeling depressed.

If you feel able to, put things right. Maybe say “Last week I said … and I realise now that was insensitive so I’m sorry. What I meant to say was …”

Suicide. Why it’s time to start talking about the word that no one wants to talk about Cue the Big Brew. Talk over a cuppa. For more information go to www.merseycare.nhs.uk 12


You’ve been nominated for the #brewfie challenge!

We believe that the power of a cuppa to bring people together can be harnessed as a tool to prevent suicide. Reaching out and talking to someone who is suffering may be the turning point they need. If you agree, accept our #brewfie challenge by taking a photo featuring yourself, a loved one - or even a pet with a suitable brew! Upload it to social media using #brewfie to show your support, then nominate three friends to take the challenge, and help us to spread the word of our Big Brew campaign!

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ACCEPT OUR #BREWFIE CHALLENGE

2

TAKE A ‘MUG-SHOT PICTURE’ WITH YOUR BREW

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4

UPLOAD THE IMAGE TO SOCIAL MEDIA USING #BREWFIE

NOMINATE THREE FRIENDS TO DO THE #BREWFIE CHALLENGE

The Big w Bre HOLD A BIG BREW EVENT For more information and your FREE BIG BREW pack go to

www.merseycare.nhs.uk

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Retirement sums up visions of long unhurried days, gardening – becoming a free spirit. It can also bring change – and it’s often hard to find someone who understands. We talk to a retired healthcare worker who used talking therapy to get back on track after depression and anxiety.

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itting in the evening sun Maureen and Brian are clearly enjoying their delightful garden. But a year ago Maureen was dogged by depression and anxiety to the point where she struggled to get out of bed. The 68 year-old has battled cancer, escaped an unhappy and violent first marriage and they’ve dealt with Brian losing his job. The bond between the couple is clear to see. They fell in love by chance when Maureen went on a last minute night out with workmates and met Brian in a local social club. They were blissfully happy, then in 2001 Maureen, then 53, developed cancer, then five years later, chronic arthritis. In constant pain her resilience finally caved in.

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A year on she’s still tearful as she recalls the worst times: “I couldn’t go to the shops or do housework. I stopped putting on make up and avoided friends. I even turned on Brian and my daughter. I was a mess.” Brian takes up the story: “Mo’s a very strong willed woman. When she’s had problems in the past she’d always get ‘back on the horse’. I’d never seen her in that state. She’d lost her sense of humour; I think it was because her independence had been taken away.” It was Maureen’s GP who suggested talking therapies, but she found it hard to take the first step. “I couldn’t speak at the session; Brian had to fill in the forms.

My therapist Orianna is so supportive she’s helped me get back to enjoying life.” Talk Liverpool’s courses encourage people to make the changes that will help them regain all or part of the lifestyle they had before they became unwell. Participants keep a journal marking activities as routine, necessary, and pleasurable then identify what’s important and what’s not. Therapist Orianna Mulvenna says while retirement can be liberating lack of routine can remove the sense of purpose that makes us get up and go each day.


IT TAKES

TWO

When someone retires they no longer have the structure of the working day and they can lose their sense of purpose.

“When someone retires they no longer have the structure of the working day and they can lose their sense of purpose. The situation may be made worse by ill health so it’s important to focus on what someone can still do rather than what they can’t and build on that.” The journal made Maureen realise the important things in life. “When you feel down you can look at the journal and remembering what you’ve achieved makes you feel better. Writing everything down would help me through the day and looking back at it gave me a boost. I’d thought I couldn’t do anything. But Orianna would joke with me that my diary was busier than hers!”

Feeling stressed? Difficulty sleeping? Feeling low? Talk to us Talk Liverpool is a free NHS talking therapy service. For people registered with a Liverpool GP.

Orianna says success is reliant on input from the participant. “There’s a lot of homework and Maureen was totally committed – that’s why she’s gaining so much from the therapy.”

HOW IT WORKS Participants have a one to one therapy session with a Talk Liverpool counsellor. The course requires you to read materials and complete exercises – these will be the staple part of your therapeutic process and will improve your chances of recovery. Contact Talk Liverpool: Tel: 0151 228 2300 Email: talkliverpool@merseycare.nhs.uk

For more information call: 0151 228 2300 or go online at: talkliverpool.nhs.uk 15


LIFE

ROOMS

OPENS NEW DOORS As Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust opens its second Life Rooms centre for learning, recovery, health and wellbeing in Southport town centre, Director of Social Inclusion and Participation Michael Crilly tells why it’s the same as the first one, but different. And how both can help people to move to a life beyond mental health services but maybe even prevent the need to access such services in the first place.

I’ve listened to many stories of people’s journeys into services. No-one wakes up and says ‘I need a mental health service’, it just happens, often because of circumstances and life events. Yet it always feels like we wait till people are in crisis before we give support. Then shocking things happen and it’s costly to the family and to the NHS. If at all possible we should be preventing people having to use mental health services. A classic example is someone being made redundant; they lose their sense of purpose, become depressed. Relationship problems and family break ups often follow and the person ends up with mental health issues that could so easily have been avoided.

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We had a vision to create a base that offered sanctuary in the midst of chaos.

support. There’s an area for art exhibitions or cultural activities.

Somewhere people could come to be calm, take a step back and discover new life opportunities in a way that challenges the stigma often associated with mental health. Rooms for life.

Our Recovery College runs a full programme of courses, it could be to regain lost confidence, understand depression and anxiety, or find pleasure from doing something different - there’s even a comedy course!

WHAT DOES LIFE ROOM SOUTHPORT OFFER? People can get information about physical and mental wellbeing, advice on money, housing and community services. We have a children’s area and meeting rooms for people and community groups to use. There’s a free IT suite available for everyone and interview areas for private confidential

a base that offers sanctuary in the midst of chaos.


What excites me is that we’re not replicating the original Life Rooms – what we’ve learnt there has helped us, but Southport Life Rooms feels different and so it should. People are not clones; their Life Rooms needs to reflect their community. WILL LIFE ROOMS SOUTHPORT FOLLOW THE SAME APPROACH AS LIVERPOOL? They’re the same but different. The décor and furniture will echo the calm tones of the Walton Life Rooms. People are struck by the calmness and the beauty of the Walton library building. Southport is a lovely traditional Victorian shop front, on Scarisbrick Avenue; it’s a bright airy space. In both Life Rooms we’ve tried to create what people wanted, an oasis where they can start to rediscover life. One of my favourite quotes comes from a 3rd Century saint, Irenaeus, who said: ‘the glory of God is the human being fully alive’. Our philosophy of Perfect Care is not just about keeping people physically breathing. Life is so much more than that. For me Perfect Care has to be about supporting people to be fully ‘alive’. In the Life Rooms we try to help people to discover for themselves a real life that is full, purposeful and happy. “What excites me about Southport is that we’re not replicating Walton – what we’ve learnt there has helped us, but Southport Life Rooms feels different and so it should. People are not clones; their Life Rooms need to reflect their unique community. Southport has many different communities with different needs. We’re listening to established groups who know the

landscape and the people. Southport is a major tourist destination and some of the early visitors have been from out of town so we also have a real opportunity to spread our message beyond the town itself.

DO PEOPLE LIKE LIFE ROOMS? I think so, they keep coming back! We’ve had more than 15,000 visits to Walton. GPs are starting to tell us what we are doing is proving invaluable, we’re working with colleges to look at opening Life Rooms for students, but we need the hard evidence to prove what we do makes a difference to people’s lives, so we’re undertaking a major evaluation looking at people we’ve worked with before and after to see if there’s a change in their recovery rate. It’s hard to say we’re the answer to the world’s ills but we’re definitely helping people to choose life.“

LIFE ROOMS SOUTHPORT OFFERS: • professional advice to help people get back to work, through volunteering opportunities and further education • access to tailored support through our Pathways Advisors • advice sessions about physical and mental wellbeing, advice on money, housing and community services • family friendly area and spaces for people to just relax or read a book • learning rooms offering a range of courses from Mersey Care’s Recovery College • meeting spaces for community groups • an IT suite, free for everyone • interview areas for private one-to-one conversations enabling confidential support • an art exhibitions and cultural activity area. For more information on what’s going on go to liferooms.org

Life Rooms Southport on Scarisbrick Avenue.

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EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

People with BDD are repulsed by their appearance.

18


We all have our hang ups about our appearance – the classic phrase ‘does my bum look big in this’? applies to most people at some time about a part of their body they find unattractive.

B

ut for the one in every 100 people in the UK affected by Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) a small blemish can become a major issue and have a significant impact on their life, leading to depression, self-harm and even thoughts of suicide. BDD is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look. And it’s not down to vanity – quite the opposite. People with BDD are repulsed by their appearance - in extreme cases they feel too ugly to be alive. Andy Warhol’s partner once said “he was incredibly self-conscious and had such a low opinion of his looks; it was a serious psychological block with him.” They are often secretive about how far they would go to resolve the issue. Michael Jackson’s extreme cosmetic surgery was evident to all, yet he denied having surgery at all. Mersey Care Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist Paddy Conroy says the problem stems from the view the person has of themselves. “Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they cannot see themselves as others see them. No matter how much they are reassured they can only see themselves as ugly, distorted and different.“

EXTREME CONSEQUENCES BDD often begins in the sensitive teenage years and equal numbers of men and women are affected. It often accompanies other disorders such as depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or eating disorders. Author Sylvia Plath’s depression

is well known, but in her notes she consistently criticises her appearance: “how did I get to be thick big, complete self, with the long-boned span of arm & leg, the scarred imperfect skin?” The disorder can have extreme consequences on someone’s wellbeing and ability to function and impacts on families and relationships. Paddy Conroy:“In its more extreme presentation it’s very disabling. Cognitive wellbeing is about how we think about ourselves, the world and the future. When someone has an extremely distorted view of themselves and their appearance the world is a threatening, attacking place. Their view of the future is often ‘I have no future’.

“A lot of the psychotherapeutic work is done to help someone let go of unhelpful beliefs that maintain the disorder, to face situations they have avoided and to stop behaviours – like checking - that may maintain the disorder.” • You should visit your GP if you think you may have BDD. If your GP suspects BDD, they can refer you to a mental health specialist for further assessment and any appropriate treatment. • Mersey Care’s Positive Body Image course runs at the Life Rooms in Liverpool. • Read two participant’s stories on page 20 and 21.

“Their life is emotionally exhausting, depressing. They may feel the need to check the perceived blemish repeatedly and incessantly in order to ascertain if it is getting worse. They avoid any situation that may trigger the anxiety. They may try a home remedy or even seek surgery to “fix” the perceived distortion in appearance. They can become suicidal.

WHAT HELP IS OUT THERE? “In therapy there is holistic assessment that tries to understand the person and how the disorder relates to them; how it originated and developed and its impact on the persons life. The therapists will gain an understanding to formulate a plan with agreed to goals to work towards to help improve the person’s functioning and self confidence.

Andy Warhol

19


TRUE LIFE

Ste (left) and Kyle

STE’S STORY

I’VE FINALLY FOUND

THE REAL ME

I

’m a carer for the elderly. I’ve done it for 11 years and I’ve been that big bubbly person, always happy, always there for people. But behind closed doors I’ve had depression and anxiety and an eating disorder - I was the fat bulimic. I’ve spent my life trying to be thin. I was so unhappy and felt being thin was the only way to be accepted. I think I became bulimic as a child. I couldn’t accept how I looked. I self-harmed, cutting, overeating, trying to drown and strangle myself due to the depression. At the same time I dyed my hair mad colours, red, blue, green and no-one knew it was because I was so unhappy with myself constantly wanting to change myself. It took a major breakdown to realise I needed help. In some ways it was a relief. I went on medication it helped me a lot, but it caused my weight to balloon from

20

13 to 20 stones. I went into crisis, I hated myself even more.

I HAD EVERYTHING BUT IT MEANT NOTHING On the face of it I was doing well, a young lad buying his own house who had everything – a supportive family and friends. It should have been exciting but it meant nothing. In fact it became part of the problem. Some days I’d plan to go out then I’d look down the hallway and see a corridor that was too long to go down. I’d go back, sit down and become agitated, twitching. I couldn’t even go shopping. I withdrew from everything. My partner would ask why I hadn’t been out; but he understands my illness and he’s supporting me. It took me years to accept my illness and I didn’t realise there was help out there, I

thought it was just ‘take some medication’ and that was it. The support I have received has been fantastic. My GP referred me to the community mental health team. They’ve slowly helped me to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I’ve said some outrageous things to them, but they take it all on board. I finally feel I’m getting back to normality rather than just withdrawing from life.

KNOWING THE ILLNESS IS THE START OF RECOVERY There’s a lot of stigma, even when people don’t mean it. It’s hard for people to understand unless they have been through it. My friends and family ask ‘Are you better yet?’ They wanted me to be the way I was. But I’ve had to live with these illnesses and now I have finally found the real me. Knowing the illness is the start of recovery.


KYLE’S STORY

I FELT TOO UGLY TO

BE ALIVE

My worries about my appearance have prevented me from living a normal life. When I was a child, I had an accident which bent my teeth and as I grew up, I was teased. People joked and made light of it but they didn’t realise how much it hurt.

A

t sixth form, a group of boys shouted a certain name at me every time I walked past them. It crushed my confidence and I became depressed and withdrawn. I’d look in the mirror and feel sick at how ugly I was, and I couldn’t attend anymore because I felt like my ugliness was drawing attention every time I went out. I moved away to University but the struggles didn’t go away. I drank heavily to gain the confidence to leave my room but I still couldn’t sit in groups or attend lectures. I don’t know how I passed my exams. As I got older, the problem worsened and it turned into a phobia. Whenever I saw a child or a teenager, I’d panic because I believed they’d shout stuff or attack me.

I avoided going out and when I absolutely had to, I’d check the school time table first to make sure no children would be around. I even avoided my own windows because I believed that children would throw things if they saw my face from outside. Simple things became impossible. I couldn’t cut the grass or put the bins out and I became very angry and frustrated. Everyone else was moving on with their lives but I was stuck. I felt like I was too ugly to be employed so I’d gamble in a desperate attempt to win the money to ‘fix’ my face. It’s a horrible, never ending cycle and I’m ashamed to admit that at times, I failed to manage the anger appropriately.

My eyesight deteriorated to the point where I’m now partially sighted without my glasses. I still can’t wear them because they make my face look even worse. People ask me how I cope walking around without them but they don’t understand. It’s not vanity; I feel I’m too ugly to be alive. My medication was changed and I’m now receiving Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I also have a supportive GP who recommended the Life Rooms to me. The course really helped and it was a huge relief to meet people who understand. Although it’s been scary sharing my story, it’s worth it if it helps other people realise they’re not on their own.

HELP YOURSELF

Everyone else was moving on with their lives but I was stuck.

Mersey Care has a number of self help guides that may help with a number of issues. These can be downloaded for FREE at merseycare.nhs.uk

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STAY WELL FEEL GREAT

PEA, MINT AND RICOTTA

INGREDIENTS

TOMATO AND BASIL BROWN PASTA WITH CHARGRILLED • MEDITERRANEAN VEG INGREDIENTS Chargrill or roast: 1 each pepper, courgette and aubergine (all chopped) Boil: 200g cooked brown pasta Cook together in a pan: 1 tin of tomatoes 1 onion (chopped) 1 clove garlic (crushed) Pinch of dried mixed herbs Then add: The cooked pasta, chargrilled pepper, courgette and aubergine Seasoning

Shop bought pasta sauces tend to be full of sugar and oils – making your own is quick, cheap, easy and better for you

• Tinned tomatoes have the same health benefits as fresh... • Wholegrain pasta gives you more energy for longer, it contains lots of fibre, protein, iron which helps to transport oxygen to the muscles and the rest of the body. It also contains nutrients that encourage stronger bones and immunity which aren’t in white pasta (phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and selenium) 83 kcal per 100g

100g frozen peas (defrosted) 2 sprigs of mint A splash of vinegar 30g ricotta Pinch of salt and pepper Mix together and serve • Peas are low in calories and high in goodness contain antioxidants, are an anti inflammatory, are high in fibre and contain Vitamin K. • Ricotta is naturally low in fat and also contains contains protein, calcium and omega 3 and 6 • Mint aids digestion, soothes the stomach and strengthens the liver. It is cooling and can relieve asthma as well as being a decongestant with cancer busting properties 67 kcal per 100g

GORGEOUS GREEK SALAD INGREDIENTS • 5 tomatoes (quartered) Half a cucumber (chopped) 2 spring onions (chopped) Half a block of feta cheese Handful of black olives • Splash of olive oil Splash of white wine vinegar Mix all of the ingredients together then serve 87 kcal per 100g

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All recipes with nutritional content and benefits can be found at Merseycare.nhs.uk. Recipes and information by Lisa Murphy

Tomatoes contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories Cucumbers contain antioxidants and are hydrating Feta has lower calories than most cheeses and you don’t need much due to its strong flavour. It also contains calcium, protein, phosphorous, zinc and vitamin A and B12


EAT AL FRESCO

NHS chef Lisa Murphy celebrates the season for eating outside with a colourful and healthy picnic that will fill you up without leaving you bloated, and gives you long lasting energy to have a game of rounders or a power walk round the park!

23


STAY WELL FEEL GREAT

Yoga brings a settled feeling, contentment with life.

UNFIT AND STRESSED?

The answer may be in Yoga.

24


Yoga – it’s a love it or hate it sort of thing. Those who practise it wax lyrical about the benefits, while there are some who yoga summons up thoughts of tangled limbs and positions from which they may never recover. We asked practitioner and teacher Kerry Harvey what it is that makes her keep on doing it. YOU RUN TO KEEP FIT, WHY DO YOU DO YOGA AS WELL? I run to keep active, but if I’m stressed or feeling under pressure, yoga is more than a physical activity. It affects all aspects of me; social, psychological and physical. It brings a settled feeling, contentment with life.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING YOGA? I’ve been practicing for 10 years going to different types of classes using various methods. Hatha yoga is becoming increasingly more popular. It focuses on the physical and breathing aspects of the yoga practice, putting you in touch with yourself. The asanas, or postures are about the movement of your body, but you don’t have to be physically fit. In fact even if you’ve not done it before and aren’t particularly active you’ll still be able to do it.

ISN’T IT A BIT ‘FAR OUT’?

WHO’S YOUR INSPIRATION?

People think there’s something mystical about yoga, but it’s just a way of taking you away from the stresses and strains and bringing you into the present. It’s not competitive and there’s a feeling of community, it’s a way of making friends.

My yoga teacher Mohanan, Director of International Shiva Yoga Centre. He’s from Southern India and he’s very authentic in his teaching methods. I enjoy traditional yoga, it focuses on breathing. People don’t always realise that a lot of aches and pains can be improved by breathing in the right way.

WHAT IF YOU CAN’T DO IT PROPERLY? It doesn’t matter. If you can’t touch your toes, don’t worry. It should be steady and comfortable, wherever you are, that’s fine. You’ll be taught to focus on your breathing and that will naturally lead to you holding your body in a way that feels comfortable and you getting the most from it. Although you’re working to get your body ready to stay in the postures longer, don’t focus on the physical, it will come naturally.

• Kerry Harvey is a programme manager with NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group • You can find a yoga class near you by searching online • Mersey Care runs a yoga course at Life Rooms call 0151 478 6556 or go to liferooms.org

A lot of aches and pains can be improved by breathing in the right way.

25


STAY WELL FEEL GREAT

Looking after bees is therapeutic, it can lift your mood. Beekeeper Andrea Ku wants us all to become honey bee friendly. Not only because Einstein’s theory that if bees became extinct humankind would also die out within three years, but because it can make you feel better.

MAKE A

Once you get past the idea that the bee is going to sting being around them is very relaxing” says fine artist and landscape architect, Andrea Ku. “Unlike wasps, which are addicted to sugar and get very agitated if you remove their fix, bees will live harmoniously in your garden. Even if you flail your arms about and make them feel threatened they’ll ‘bounce’ you first, as a warning sign that if you carry on they may just sting you.” She’s not alone in her love of bees. Membership of the British Beekeepers Association has risen from 8,500 in 2008 to 24,000.

KEEPING BEES IS NOT NEW Aristotle had hives (although he did inadvertently contribute to Greek mythology by telling followers that bees find their babies in flowers – a new take on the stork theory!) Sherlock Holmes kept bees when he retired and Hollywood actress Scarlett Johanssen took up the hobby after being given bees as a wedding gift. They’re part of folklore and there’s even a bee opera!

26

BEELINE

Andrea’s love affair with honey bees began after she wrote a book looking at wildlife in urban spaces as part of her masters in landscape architecture, and realised that many open spaces don’t have what bees need to thrive. She’s now working in communities and schools to tell us how to do our bit in our own spaces, however small.

Being around them is very relaxing. “Bees leave the hive and look for places to forage. They follow a line from plant to plant - each plant is a pit stop. It’s like going down a street of individual restaurants, each one serving different dishes. But parks are becoming stale. More of us have decking and paving and fewer diverse plants, so bees get to our gardens and have nowhere to go. By having bee friendly plants in the garden or in pots we can make sure they survive. So much of what we need depends on the survival of bees, they literally are our future – but it’s also a great hobby.” Andrea is running courses at Life Rooms in Walton, Liverpool, to help people either set up their own hives or adapt their gardens to attract bees. She brings an observation hive so people can get up close and personal – and she says people get a real buzz from the experience.

“Looking after bees is therapeutic, it can lift your mood, you’re doing something productive. Honey bees are beautiful intelligent little creatures – and there’s nothing like the smell of honey while you’re working!’’


TAKING THE

LEAD

P

et therapy – using animals to help people recover from illness – has been around a long time. But it seems each can improve the other’s mental wellbeing too. Toni O’Gorman, fundraiser with Merseyside Dogs Home, which is linking with mental health trust Mersey Care to pair up pooches and volunteers, explained how each can offer support in his or her own way. “Most of our dogs come to us after being abandoned and unloved and sometimes show signs of being nervous or anxious around people. By pairing someone with difficulties with the right dog, it can help both animal and person.” For more information contact the Life Rooms Walton, the home of Mersey Care’s recovery college, at liferooms.org

SIT DOWN NEXT TO ME Stroking a pet can give you the same feeling as doing exercise. Simply having an animal next to you, stroking its fur and having its acceptance can, says the Society for Companion Animal Studies, lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and release the feel good endorphin that comes with physical activity. It also gives a sense of elation (phenethylamine), happiness and bonding (oxytocin), and energy (dopamine). SCAS: scas.org.uk 27


STAY WELL FEEL GREAT

PURRFECT COMPANIONS

A ginger cat named Bob transformed the life of a homeless man with a drug addiction. James Bowen went on to write his bestseller ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’, now a film. But while he’s now treading red carpets and doing TV interviews James finds time out to share his story with people who have experienced his old lifestyle.

A

t Scott Clinic, Mersey Care’s medium secure unit men and women with mental health issues and addictions studied James’ writings as part of their recovery programme and finally got to meet him and his feline friend. Occupational Therapist Sam O’Shea said: It was amazing; they could relate to so many aspects of his life. To see how having the responsibility of going from begging to caring for Bob had helped James turn his life around was inspirational, and Bob is brilliant! The lovely part was that James thanked us and said how privileged he felt for being able to give something back.”

WALK THE WALKIES

W

hether or not you have a dog it’s proven that walking improves your brain function, halts vascular dementia, or stop it developing in the first place. A 20 to 30 minute walk gets the blood pumping without putting undue strain on the cardiovascular system.

28

According to the Stroke Association, it keeps high blood pressure in check, reducing the risk of suffering a stroke by up to 27 per cent. • For details of walking groups go to walking-uk.com

A FURRY TALE James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet he couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat he found injured in his shelter. He slowly nursed the cat back to health and then sent him on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas. The two became inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.


JUST CULTURE It’s fine when things are going well in a workplace - but what happens when something goes wrong? This man could have the answer.

29


SIDNEY DEKKER

M

ersey Care is adopting a ‘Just Culture’ approach – where if mistakes are made, we look at what happened and why, rather than who is to blame, and use what we learn to change things for the better.

Trust is a brittle commodity, really easy to break and really hard to fix. We’re being supported by Professor Sidney Dekker – a former airline first officer and expert on safety within systems. His book ‘Just Culture’ is the

30

‘go to’ text for organisations across the world who are redefining what accountability means, offering a way for workplaces to respond to mistakes and restore relationships and trust. During his recent visit to Mersey Care we asked him what is Just Culture? How can it work in the NHS? And how are we doing so far? “In a Just Culture, if we are confronted with something that hasn’t gone well, rather than say ‘what rule was broken?’ or ‘who screwed that up?’ we would ask ‘who’s hurt?’ ‘what do they need?’ ‘whose job is it to meet those needs?’ ‘What do we do differently?’

Chief executive Joe Rafferty said Just Culture would not compromise accountability. “This is not an ‘anything goes’ culture. It supports the demands for accountability. Staff involved in incidents are now encouraged to contribute to investigations, and families are involved where appropriate.


People must be less defensive and ready to talk…families are looking firstly to be heard; they want to know that there’s someone on the inside who listens to their grief, their story and their pain and takes that seriously for what it is.

“For staff it’s knowing that the boss has your back - that they welcome you to talk about things that have gone well but also the things that haven’t gone well – and that you won’t put yourself in jeopardy when you do that so people can receive the perfect care they think they deserve. “For patients and their families it would mean they go into a healthcare system that is willing to learn from things that go well and things that don’t – where people trust and have confidence in each other, and where patients too have a voice. It’s where someone listens to them and recognises that they are the reason why that organisation exists.”

Professor Dekker is on record as saying trust was crucial for culture change to happen: “None of this works without people having the trust and confidence in each other to do the right thing. Trust is a brittle commodity, really easy to break and really hard to fix. But that doesn’t mean there are things that you can’t do and shouldn’t do after a failure that harms patients, or families get to tell their account of how it has affected them. This includes the care giver, the family and colleagues who were affected by the event.”

Sidney Dekker began his airline career as a First Officer flying on Boeing 737s in Europe. He went on into Australian academia where he founded the Safety Science Innovation Lab. His book “Just Culture” has become a standard text for organisations across the world who are redefining what accountability means, offering a way for workplaces to respond to mistakes and restore relationships and trust.

A nurse said to me ‘this is very much intuition, common sense’ – so I’d say there’s already a culture (in Mersey Care) of accountability, restoration of confidence and trust in each other to do the right things. 31


INTRODUCING... Being physically well has an impact on your mental wellbeing. If you live in South Sefton your physical health services, previously provided by Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust are now being offered by Mersey Care. We’re also proud to be providing your community based addictions services across Sefton. You can find details of all these services at merseycare.nhs.uk

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WHAT ARE COMMUNITY PHYSICAL HEALTH SERVICES?

WHAT ARE COMMUNITY ADDICTIONS SERVICES?

We aim to support and coordinate the health and wellbeing of Sefton residents. We want people to live independently at home for as long as possible, and where possible prevent them from being admitted to hospital.

We understand that when you have an addiction reaching out for help is often the most difficult step to take. We are here to support you with the issues associated with drug and alcohol misuse. Our service, Ambition Sefton, offers a wide range of recovery focused treatment pathways. Some of these are open access, where you just walk in, others need a referral, by you or in some cases a health professional. They include:

Services to enable residents to be cared for within their community are delivered from health centres, community venues, patients’ homes and a rehabilitation ward in Aintree Hospital. These services include community matrons, district nursing, treatment rooms, speech therapy, physiotherapy, urgent care, palliative care, podiatry, adult diabetes and dietetics. Our services are working with partners to deliver high quality flexible physical and mental health services that are wrapped around our patients and will make a real difference to the lives of local people.

• Access to community detox, Specialist prescribing services, Specialist alcohol services, Take home naloxone, Harm reduction advice/ service including needle syringe exchange, Blood borne virus screening and vaccination, Brief interventions: one to one support, Access to inpatient detoxification pathways.

• Access to Intuitive Thinking courses, Peer support mentoring and access to mutual aid groups and psychosocial support and service. Ask your GP, practice nurse, other health professional or voluntary sector agency to refer you, or contact your local service: Ambition Sefton Sefton House Canal Street Bootle L20 8AH Phone: 0151 944 5334 Ambition Sefton 8 Church Street Southport PR9 0QT Phone: 01704 534 759 You can find out more about these services at merseycare.nhs.uk

Sefton

Mersey Care is committed to ensuring that we provide the highest quality of physical and mental health care. Mersey Care Director of Integration, Trish Bennett 33


A DAY IN THE LIFE...

We become part of the families, and our support goes way beyond healthcare.

AMANDA COONEY DISTRICT NURSE

I’ve been supporting a family where the husband, a young man, was terminally ill. I was privileged to spend those hours with them and to be able to give his wife who was emotionally exhausted and having a break in the garden a gentle word that he was nearing the end of his life. She held him while he died, it was heartbreaking, but also so rewarding that I could enable him to stay at home.

34

W

e become part of the families, and our support goes way beyond healthcare. Sometimes it’s using a bit of diplomacy when there’s conflict among family members about the best care for a patient. We care for the whole family unit so they have the strength to carry on caring after we leave. You learn to read situations and find solutions. Older people especially are reluctant to leave their pets to go into hospital – it has been known for district nurses to even find foster homes for animals to encourage the patient to get the treatment they need! I worked as a healthcare assistant when my daughters were babies, but I knew district nursing was where I wanted to be so I trained, working late at night when my daughters were asleep. I couldn’t drive, so to get my first job I learnt in ten weeks!

I love being in the community. Each area is different. In some everyone looks after each other, some patients don’t like bothering their busy families so I may be the only person they’ll speak to that day or even that week. It’s so sad. The support within the team helps us all get through. My mentor Jane and I worked together from the early days and are best friends. It’s important to let the staff know you appreciate them. I don’t know where our team would be without our admin assistant Gill Gribbin, she does most of our general paper work, which is invaluable, giving us more time with patients. We’ve just had a letter from a lady whose father was in our care. I nearly cried when I read it and the person who gave it to me said it was an example of the Perfect Care Mersey Care strives to give – for our team every day is like that.


COUNCIL OF GOVENORS

H If you’re a carer looking for someone to speak up for you Mersey Care Governor Hilary Tetlow’s credentials would be hard to beat. A friendly and compassionate woman, she’s also full of energy and a passionate campaigner for carers. Most of all she’s ‘been there’ as a carer for her mum Betty when she developed dementia.

THE CARERS’

ilary gave up an impressive career in merchandising to care for ex magistrate Betty until her death last year. In the 70s the former Belvedere student had turned down a Foreign Office job in London to work for Littlewoods. From knickers and vests to Jacques Vert and Austin Reed, she progressed through the ranks and beyond, going on to set up the first Children’s World store from scratch. Becoming a carer had a huge impact on her life but she embraced the experience. “I thought ‘this is my job now’ so I set out to learn as much as I could. I heard Mersey Care was hoping to become a foundation trust and I thought dementia could get lost. So I set up a carers group, signed them all up as members of the Trust - and canvassed them unashamedly so I could look out for them in the future.”

FRIEND

As lead Governor for the Trust, she attends ‘every event I can get to’, where she listens and watches how those responsible for our health and social care actually perform. Her campaigning doesn’t end locally. She’s working with Downing Street, contributing to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on how Dementia care will be delivered in the future. And as an expert by experience for University of Liverpool’s Doctorate of Psychology Programme she’s influencing the way people study mental health. I’ve always had lots of energy, I had a cerebral job and I’m technically minded. It’s like being at work, except that I’m using my skills and experience to improve the support for carers like me.”

I’m using my skills and experience to improve the support for carers like me. 35


WE ARE PROUD TO SAY: Patients said staff were ‘supportive, caring, respectful, helpful and kind.’ Services at our Specialist Learning Disability division’ were rated ‘Outstanding.’ High Secure services achieved an audit score of 100%.

A big thank you to everyone who helped us achieve a Good CQC rating.

Contact Details

MerseyCareNHSFoundationTrust

Got some news you’d like to share?

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

Contact us at the following address.

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

MC MAGAZINE is published by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and produced by the communications team, Mersey Care NHS Foundation 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.

MC Magazine - Summer 2017  

The Summer 2017 MC Magazine looks at how some people's perception of their body is so far removed from reality it can make them ill. We also...