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Issue No. 5

Winter Edition 2019

NEW THINKING FOR EMOTIONAL WELLBEING & SUPPORT

MAVAM

Supported Housing launches its new program

EMPOWER

Pre-Tenancy

Training

Helping people find homes and managing them

Meet Matthew someone who uses our services

YLOH

Creating the buiding blocks for supportive caring relationships

Seeking an ENLIGHTENED Way of Helping


MAVAM GROUP IS THE HUB THAT HOUSES ALL OF THE MAVAM INDIVIDUAL COMPANIES AND SERVICES SUPPORTED HOUSING

Provides accommodation and support for people with mental health distress and/or a learning disability, as well as people who have complex issues that require support.

YOUR LIFE OUR HELP - YLOH

Providing a range of services in the community designed to help and support people overcome the problems and challenges that they are experiencing. Ensuring that people are at the heart of our services, which are currently; Help in Cluttered Homes, Student Support Services, Supported Living and Community Outreach.

TECHNICAL SERVICES

Provides a comprehensive IT and marketing service for the Mavam Groups as well as providing a hardware & software development service for external customers.

Mavam Group Ltd 2

WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT?

We offer a wide range of bespoke support packages, all tailored to the individuals need. We are flexible in the way that we support people, flexible in the way that we manage our staff teams and flexible in the use of and access to accommodation.

CONTACT US Mavam Group Ltd Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich, IP8 3AP Freephone on: Telephone No: Email:

0800 1337 355 01473 487 373 info@mavam.co.uk

www.mavam.co.uk

delivering support for vulnerable people since 2010


Our Reason New Reason is back! We are delighted to have this opportunity to share with you the work that we do here in The Mavam Group, and to be part of a rich wider network of people in Suffolk, doing their best to help others. As we planned this edition, we thought a lot about rejuvenation and the energy that breathes life into the work that we do. We reflected on the passion and commitment of our staff, their incredible spirit that makes such a difference to the lives of others and which inspires all of us to keep developing and growing. We discussed how amazing the people that we help and support are. How they survive and overcome adversities, how they navigate the complicated world of services and systems.

Matthew Morris

Director of Operations Your Life Our Help - YLOH

In this edition, we let you know what is happening in the world of Mavam, how we have developed our ideas and our services. We introduce you to Matthew, someone who has experience of receiving help from both Mavam Supported Housing and YLOH and, we invite you to envision a new way of viewing peoples emotional distress in our New Thinking article. The Mavam Group is now nine years old, and our reason for being is the same today as when we started. It is something that the years have taught us is more important and more precious than we realised at the time. That reason is that people, all people, need help some times. That when we need help, we all need others who will respond with kindness, compassion, with honesty, with hope, with a willingness to do things for us and with us. This has been true for us all who work for Mavam as well as for those people we are asked to help. Having this approach means always seeing a person as a person, getting to know them and listening to their stories, discovering from them what would be helpful, regardless of what part of Mavam you are. Throughout the Mavam Group we are bound by a belief that we are all just people helping people, but that when people come together with open hearts and minds, it is people helping people where good things really happen. We hope that you enjoy our magazine. Please let us know what you think if you have any ideas for things that we may include in future editions, we would really like to hear your ideas.

Subscibe for our Magazine - Delivered directly to your Inbox or via Royal Mail - www. mavam.co.uk/new-reason-new-thinking 3


CONTENTS Winter 2019

FRONT COVER 12 MEET MATTHEW and his story 14 Matthews time with Supported Housing 24 Matthews Journey with YLOH 37 Matthew and the help from TSF

REGULARS 5 CONTRIBUTORS 3 OUR REASON 6 OPEN LETTER 28 NEW REASON, NEW THINKING

FEATURES 2 WHO ARE WE?

and what makes us different.

7 SUPPORTED HOUSING

“working with an individual’s strengths to develop daily living skills’.

18 YLOH - YOUR LIFE OUR HELP

Creating the building blocks for supportive caring relationships

20 MAVAM INFORGRAPIC

How we support people

34 THE STONE FOUNDATION

“helping people find somewhere to live and to be able to keep it...” 4


CONTRIBUTORS

Meet the people who have taken part in the creation of

New Reason.

Matthew Morris Director of Operations Your Life Our Help -YLOH

Matthew Morris is our Operational Director for Your Life Our Help - YLOH. Having worked within the NHS, Voluntary and Independent Sector, for a combined 30 years, Matthew has a particular interest in developing services that see difficult feelings and unusual experiences as being understandable in the context of people’s lives. Services where people can be helped through relationships that build on strengths and are based on people living the life they choose for themselves.

Louise Rackstraw Creative Director

Mavam Technical Services

Company Photographer, Videographer & Creative Designer. Louise has established her creative skills within the Mavam Group, sharing the companies’ vision of the Mavam way of working with the public. Her work can be seen on our website;

www.Mavam.co.uk

From design layout, leaflets and video interviews.

ADVERTISING & PRODUCTION DISTRIBUTION & PRINTING

Louise Rackstraw Tel: 0800 133 7355 louise.rackstraw@mavam.co.uk

Mavam Group Ltd, Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich, IP8 3AP 5


Open Letter Welcome to the Winter edition of New Reason, the magazine from Mavam Group Ltd. We hope that through our publication we can interest, surprise, inspire and inform, through the stories people have supplied as well as from the people we work for. With New Reason comes new hope, new opportunities and endless possibilities. For us these possibilities are created through skilful but simple human interactions and qualities such as; empathy, honesty, compassion and the belief in the innate human capacity to survive and thrive.

Share your Story We would love to hear from you about your own experiences, whether its of personal experiences or the support you gave a friend or family member. Sharing your experiences not only shows that we are not alone but also highlights problems that we all face in our day to day lives. Help us to promote a better understanding of the issues we all face and contribute to the development of better mental health focusing. We look forward to hearing from you.

info@mavam.co.uk


Mavam Supported Housing provides bespoke supported housing across Ipswich, Stowmarket and Sudbury, with support packages designed to meet people’s needs. Many of our rooms have their own bathrooms, whilst some projects contain self-contained flats.

“We focus on the needs of the individual, not their diagnosis.” OUR PHILOSOPHY

SUPPORT

Mavam Supported Housing believes in working with an individual’s strengths to develop daily living skills which will improve their quality of life and may give them the confidence to live independently within the community once again.

We offer a range of support packages which are based on an individual’s need.

Working in a structured way, we look to develop a service user’s self-reliance, understanding and self-belief so that they may reach their goals and reclaim their autonomy.

All staff undertake a comprehensive training programme which includes: Safeguarding awareness; Positive Behaviour Support; First Aid; Person Centred Planning; Mental Health Awareness; Autism Awareness, Substance Misuse Awareness and Self-Injury Awareness. Staff work towards attaining the Care Certificate and can study higher NVQ qualifications whilst working for the organisation. 7


We recognise that sometimes people are so overwhelmed by feelings of distress that it is not possible for them to remain at home, however, an admission to hospital can be avoided by a short term supportive intervention in a safe environment.

Supported Housing

The Alternative to Admission

MAVAM Supported Housing Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich, IP8 3AP

www.mavam.co.uk Freephone: 0800 133 7355 Telephone: 01473 487 373


This month Mavam Supported Housing (MSH) launches its EMPOWER program, a complimentary social education course for its service users. Creator and chief facilitator, Rob Everett, discusses the thinking behind the program as well as MSH’s hopes for the course.

Rob Everett

Staff Development & Quality Assurance Manager

I had been involved with The Stone Foundation’s ‘Pre-Tenancy Training’, which seeks to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to maintain their own tenancy within the community. This course is aimed at individuals who are on the verge of moving on to their own accommodation and I felt there was scope to develop a course which seeks to lay an earlier foundation for independent living while individuals were living in supported accommodation.

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I named this training EMPOWER as it aims to empower individuals with the skills and knowledge needed for independent living and to, therefore, give them choice and autonomy over the way in which they live their lives. Empowering individuals is also a key feature of the NHS’ Five Year Forward plan and is part of The Local Government Association’s strategic vision for social care. The EMPOWER course is based upon the holistic model of support which Mavam Supported Housing delivers. As well as leading to a service user having the skills and knowledge to maintain their own tenancy and finances, the course also focuses upon ways that the individual can maintain their mental wellbeing, live a healthier life and develop their ability to socially network with others. Mavam Supported Housing feels that these life skills are essential in an individual leading a life of independence within the community and uses ‘The Independence Scale’ to measure such outcomes. Traditionally, in a supported housing environment, life skills are taught to service users through them modelling these on the efforts of support workers. The support worker would explain and demonstrate these to the individual before getting them to imitate and practice these (what is known in education circles as the EDIP model). Whilst this is a highly effective method to teach new skills it is dependent 10

upon factors such as the individual’s relationship with the support worker, their ability to learn kinesthetically (i.e. learning through carrying out the activity) and the individual’s motivation and ability to carry out the task. The EMPOWER program seeks to supplement this way of learning through presenting the individual with a variety of visual and auditory information and through engaging them in fun and informative group activities. It is the intention of MSH to make the course as informal and inclusive as possible, therefore maximising participation throughout the service. MSH will also carry out a review of the course after its first cycle (the course is delivered over 6 sessions) to test its effectiveness. MSH hopes that EMPOWER will improve individual outcomes as well as developing individuals’ resourcefulness and resilience to meet future challenges.


One of the

greatest things you can do to help others is not just to share and give what you have, but to help them discover what they have within themselves to help themselves -Rrita Zahara


Meet Matthew The service user that has used Supported Housing, The Stone Foundation and YLOH’s services. INTERVIEW BY BECKY INGRAM

Matthew grew up with his family in Wetheringsett for a large part of his life. They started at Pages Green then moved onto Lodge Farm where his father worked on a big farm. After several years the farming industry began to decline, so Matthew’s family moved to Diss. When Matthew came of age, he found work at the local Golf Club and happily worked there for 24 years. Unfortunately, like most of us have experienced at some point in our lives, he lost his job. Matthew’s life felt like it had fallen apart and this feeling overwhelmed him to the point where be became hospitalised Matthew is now happily living his life in his flat and working towards a better future for himself thanks to the support he has received from his support workers at Mavam Supported Housing, The Stone Foundations training and the continued support from YLOH (your life our help) team.

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Becky: Tell me a bit about yourself and a bit about your background. Matthew: I grew up in Wetheringsett for a large part of my life at school, I studied for the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and I got the brilliant bronze, silver and gold awards. I am really happy that I achieved all 3. I haven’t collected my gold yet, but I am going back to St James Palace to pick it up. My Dad worked on a big farm; he had two dairy herds and lots of cows and pigs. The bigger the farm, the easier it was, and it was a huge farm. You had to drive around the farm in tractors, helping dad on the farm feeding the cattle and stuff like that was good fun even during the winter months. Sadly farming started declining. That’s why I never went back that way. We then moved to Diss. I found work at the Diss Golf Club and worked there for 24 years of my life. I cut the grass and you had to make sure you cut the grass at different heights. I also did the changing of the holes, repairing water leaks and general maintenance. When I first started there, it was a nine-hole golf course, and we changed it to an 18, it was great seeing that take place. In March 2012, I lost my job at the golf course, which made me feel a bit down in the dumps. I was a little bit upset and disheartened, and I ended up going into the Little Plumsford Hospital, which was for about 6 or 7 months roughly. It was a secure and tight place, with locks and keys which I did not like one bit, mainly because you couldn’t get out and do what you wanted or anything. It felt like I was in prison. I did get a day where I was allowed to cut the grass there for them, which was quite a good day. Then in 2013, I think, I went to the Mavam Supported Housing project at Stowmarket. 14

Becky: How did you hear about Mavam or who referred you to us? Mathew: It was either Ed who was a member of staff in charge of my house while I was at Plumsford Hospital or the Social Worker, I can’t remember which one it was who referred me to Stepping Stones. That’s what Mavam was called when I went over to them then they changed the name to Mavam Becky: So when you joined Mavam Supported Housing. How did you find it? Matthew: I found it a bit strange to start off with because it was one bed, all you have is one room to yourself and everything else is shared which I’d never done before. You share kitchen facilities, washing machines and toilets, but in time I got used to it, and then I started doing the cooking with the staff and they really helped me with it. Once a week, we would be doing a cooking session where we would prepare food and cook. I also went swimming on Wednesdays as well as other things.


Becky: While you were there, did you feel supported? Matthew: I did feel supported there, it’s a lot better than the hospital because I had more freedom and I could do what I wanted within reason. Becky: What would you like to say about Supported Housing in your own words? Matthew: Supported Housing is a good idea because it prepares you for when you get your own place. They help you by teaching you how and why you need to do your washing and cleaning. They get you into the habit of cleaning up. They teach you how to cook and teach you how to socialise. Becky: Can you tell me what the supported housing staff were like? Matthew: At Hatfield Road, they were very good, very patient and very caring. They helped me with a lot of things. They helped me with the bidding of my flat and I got the one I wanted straight away. Becky: Did you have a favourite staff member? Matthew: All the staff at Hatfield Road are very good, they all cared and supported me in all aspects, but I did like Geoff, Pam and Phil who are there and who I got on extremely well with. Becky: Would you recommend Mavam Supported Housing and if yes why? Matthew: Yes, I would recommend Mavam’s support housing as it is a good idea it prepares you for a life journey through your own adventure. 15


Mavam Supported Housing have a range of projects in Ipswich as well as Stowmarket and Sudbury. As part of this, they are able to provide a respite service or a service where people are supported in order to prevent a hospital admission. The projects provide accommodation and support in a shared environment.

Alternative to Admission Mavam Supported Housing provides emergency accommodation as an alternative to a person being admitted to hospital. They recognise that sometimes people are so overwhelmed by feelings of distress that it is not possible for them to remain at home, however, an admission to hospital can be avoided by a short term supportive intervention in a safe environment. Respite A period of planned respite can be provided for a period of up to two weeks at any one time. This can enable a carer to have a break or attend planned appointments such 16

as for medical treatment. In addition, users of the service may benefit from a break from their usual environment especially during times of known stress. This can help prevent a deterioration in mental health. To arrange a visit or for further information; Freephone: 0800 133 7355 Telephone: 01473 487373 MAVAM Supported Housing Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich, IP8 3AP


Move out of your comfort zone.

You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something New!


People Helping People It is that Simple it is that Skilful

Cluttered Homes

Community Help

Student Support

Can help

OH YL

s on u c o f We ding buil ships on relati Your Life Our Help – YLOH, offers people help to live their lives and overcome whatever is restricting or interfering with them being able to. YLOH is designed to enable people to help others by utilising core human skills and by acknowledging that we all need helpful relationships in our lives. When you research the evidence that exists within health and social care, you find that the significance of the relationship between the 18

Supported Living

giver and the recipient of help is always the most important factor. Indeed, if you research the evidence for what makes a good shopping experience, holiday or meal, it is so often the way that people feel about how they were treated that is the difference between a good or a bad experience. Being helped, or not. In health and social care the evidence is striking. Regardless of the nature of the interventions, whether it is medication, therapy, social or practical, it is how


people feel about the care giver that determines whether that intervention will be seen as helpful. With the most needed qualities in those relationships being; compassion, honesty, empathy, kindness and hopefulness. In the longest running study in the world looking at wellbeing, it is relationships that have been identified as the most important factor in having a sense of wellbeing. In addition, the now world renowned Brené Brown, tells us that from her research into wellbeing, it is accepting vulnerability and having the courage to embrace it that brings a greater sense of wellbeing in people’s lives. What we have done at YLOH is designed a service that tries to put the relationship first. A service that encourages us all to focus upon those core essential ingredients, whether we are applying them to one another, colleagues from other teams, referrers, families or the people that we are asked to help. To aim to be helpful, to see people as people first and foremost, looking to get to know them, asking them what is helpful and offering the practical and emotional help that they need. In order to do this, we have designed a way of working called creative enabling. Creative enabling looks to give the relationship

the freedom to work around the unique qualities that people have, whilst still offering people and staff the structure that helps to keep them focused. What we also did with creative enabling is to try to remove some of the unnecessary barriers that are sometimes created in professional relationships. The language that professionals use was one example of a barrier. We call the people we are asked to help, people. Not clients, customers or service users. This was something that people had asked us to do, as some found the names that they were called put them into categories they either didn’t like or that made them feel more powerless. We don’t assess people, we get to know them. Again, this was something that people felt strongly about as they told us that being assessed increased their anxiety and increased a feeling of being judged. People have told us that a process of getting to know someone helps them to feel that we are interested in them as a person not as a set of difficulties or problems.

I am a person


YLOH - continued... This was also important as people’s difficulties exist as part of them and their lives as a whole, as part of their story. Therefore, to separate them out felt, to them, unhelpful and very difficult to do. The other professional barrier that we were aware of was risk assessment. People told us that professionals doing risk assessments on them was frightening and made them feel that they were either unsafe or dangerous, or both. We have therefore adapted the same

documents and made them safety discussions and planning. People are very aware of the need to feel safe and find discussions about maintaining their safety a lot easier. When we start working with someone, we work through a book that we have designed that incorporates, getting to know them, planning their help, capturing their story and planning their safety. This, Getting To Know You, booklet provides the structure for the help that is offered by the Team. In addition, we ask people to hold and complete journals with our staff to keep a record of what we are doing together. The aim of the journal is to ensure that records of the work that we do is written collaboratively and in such a way that is appropriate to everyone.


There are various components to YLOH, offering help in different ways. The thing that unites all YLOH services is the focus on and belief in relationships. Also, that in all YLOH services people are people first and foremost. We do not categorise people, we are happy to help anyone as long as we have the resources and capacity to do so. The different areas of are work are currently; Community Help and Support, Supported Living, Help in Cluttered Homes and Student Support Services. COMMUNITY HELP AND SUPPORT work across Suffolk and help people in their own homes. Utilising the approach described above we work with a wide range of people with a wide range of issues that are impacting on their lives. Our Team are trained and supported to help people to address and overcome these issues. SUPPORTED LIVING - means working with people that are living in properties that are provided via a charity called The Stone Foundation. These include flats with visiting support, shared living with visiting support and a flat that can offer up to 24 hour staffed support. HELP IN CLUTTERED HOMES - is a service that helps people who have

become overwhelmed in their own homes by their possessions. Our service offers people the practical and emotional help to address issues and get their homes back. STUDENT SUPPORT – We are accredited by the DSA QAG to provide Specialist Mental Health Mentoring and Study Skills help and support to students in higher education. Our student support team work across East Anglia and offer students the guidance and assistance that helps them to achieve their academic goals. At YLOH, we hope to demonstrate that people helping people is simple yet skilful. We hope to show that focusing on helpful relationships as the number one priority, provides people with a platform that enables them to address their issues in their way. It is an approach that trusts in the innate skills of human beings, the power of compassion and the ability that people have to address their own issues. At YLOH we are keen to learn and to grow and we hope to create climates where teams and services receive the nourishment that nurtures that growth. If you are interested in any aspect of YLOH we would love to hear from you, so please either call on 0800 133 7355 or email at info@yloh.co.uk. 23


Meet Matthew continued

YLOH’s services.


Becky: You then moved onto YLOH how did you find that transition? Matthew: At first it felt strange to start with but then after a little while I appreciated it because I could do whatever I liked, I was my own boss of my own little flat and to me that was lovely and I’ve got a balcony with my flat, which I like. YLOH gives me excellent support and they help me out a lot, especially Kelly and Rob. They came round and saw me in my flat which I was decorating during my first week and after that, they did visits and helped me with the cleaning as well as helping me with shopping and stuff like that. They even took me out for cups of tea at Tesco’s, Sainsburys and Starbucks to help get me out and about.

hospital appointments and such like.

Becky: Do you feel supported? Matthew: Yes, YLOH is an excellent team, they all help me, the ones who come to see me make sure that I know what we will be doing-especially when it comes to helping me with form filling and paperwork. They also help me with visits to the doctors,

Becky: Would you recommend YLOH to anybody and if yes, why? Matthew: Yes I would because they are very good, they help prepare you for life’s journey and adventures and all that kind of thing as well as prepare you for the ‘anything can happen’ in your life.

Becky: Do you feel the support provided could be any different? Matthew: No, I am very pleased with the support that I get; it is just what I need at the moment. Becky: What would you like to say about YLOH in your own words? Matthew: YLOH is a very good company. They are all good people who help me in so many ways. They give me the support I need in a kind and caring way.

Becky: Can you tell me what the YLOH staff are like? Matthew: The YLOH staff are all very Becky: So how are you finding support friendly, helpful and caring, they respect my from YLOH? Matthew: I’m finding it very good because it life and when I need help I get help, they are helps me to do things like filling out forms, very much appreciated. the important paperwork and stuff. They Becky: Do you have a favourite staff help me keep the flat nice and clean and tidy and they help me with the shopping as member? well as going out for cups of tea or coffee. Matthew: There are no favourite members, YLOH supports me from Monday- Friday and they are all very good at their jobs and they at the weekends I get a telephone call just to help me out with everything I need, they check in on me, making sure that everything are very much appreciated. They are an is alright. I enjoy the YLOH team coming excellent team. YLOH thank you very much round to see me and helping me. for your help.

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Becky: How do you feel in yourself now that you have had the support from Supported Housing and the support that you get from YLOH. Matthew: From the journey from the Hospital with the tight security onto Hatfield Road with more freedom and help from very helpful and caring staff to YLOH with the team who are very kind and helpful and friendly as well as getting the support that I need. I feel a lot more happier now, especially now that I’ve got my own place, Everything is easier and I have learnt to take care of and look after myself.


People Helping People It is that Simple it is that Skilful

We focus on what is most important, YOU! We provide a range of services that are designed to help people to live their lives. Student Support Community Work Supported Living Help in Cluttered Homes

can we help you?

Contact us Tel: 0800 133 7355 Tel: 01473 487676 email: info@yloh.co.uk


New Reason New Thinking

A New Age of Enlightenment by Matthew Morris

I was talking to a colleague the other day, and he was telling me that he had been reading about world history recently. He said that from what he had read, it appears that the United Kingdom missed The Enlightenment. This started a new train of thought for me and made me think more about world view concepts and how parts of the world adopt ideas and make them real. I had also just watched a documentary film called Behind the Curve, which follows the apparently rapidly growing flat earth movement. People who believe that the world is flat and that governments lie and fabricate evidence that we are a round planet within the solar system. This is a film that is great for making you think about beliefs, why and how we formulate our beliefs, what and how we trust. It is also interesting in exploring the idea of delusions and realising that rather than classifying a delusion as a symptom of psychosis. It is fairer and safer to accept that some people have beliefs that others don’t share. That often 28

it is not the idea that is problematic, rather why it is there, the passion and desperation with which it is held. Watching the film and thinking about the Age of Enlightenment interests me, as I am someone who believes that we have wrongly followed a belief that human distress is a health issue. That instead of seeing people’s feeling and experiences as symptoms of mental health problems. We would help more people if we saw their distress within the context of their lives. Asking what has happened or is happening to you, not what is wrong with you. That human distress is, therefore, a social issue, not a health one. Behind the Curve and lost Enlightenment challenged me to re-examine my beliefs. It required me to ask myself, why do I believe what I do? Where is the evidence? Who do I listen to? Where do I get my information from? And, importantly am I more interested in being right than finding the truth?


In fact, what has happened is that I have felt galvanised, and further exploration has given me greater focus. This was further helped when I was invited to take part in a radio show for BBC Suffolk. Mucha Murapa, the presenter, had read something I had written in a blog called, “Finding Clarity Through Clutter”, and asked me to appear on an expert panel. The show was exploring how people can become overwhelmed in their homes by their possessions.

their stories and who they are. What I have found, is that the reality is, that to really help people requires spending time with them to hear their stories, being in their home to understand the scale of the practical challenges that they face. To acknowledge what they have experienced and to relate with them as people, that every person is unique, their stories are unique and the help they want and need has to be unique. Of course, this is true for us all. We all need to be heard, we all need to be validated, we all need acknowledgement of our experiences, and we all need people to be able to see the bigger picture. The bigger picture being the social, cultural, economic and political landscape which we live within.

In the show, the two other experts both said that they felt that the creation of a diagnosis of a Hoarding Disorder was a good thing. They felt that this might raise awareness and result in getting people more help. For me, while I recognise the compassion behind the reasoning, I However, this is not what ‘what is making can’t agree that classifying happens; this is not what us ignore the distress and problems as bloody obvious...’ professionals do when we a disorder is ever helpful ask for help. It is not what or fair. Or will result in people talk about on the receiving the help that will actually be news; it is not what people campaign helpful. about; it is not what doctors say and how they interpret our pain when we The people I meet who are overwhelmed go to our consultations. They see a in their homes by their possessions problem as being something wrong already have many labels and problems. with us, they form a judgement based They are already facing challenges on a diagnostic manual, and they in relationships, their health, what prescribe something to numb our has happened to them in the past, in pain or to eradicate our experiences. their social situations, with money, discrimination, loneliness and isolation. So I wonder what happened to our My observation and opinion, having enlightenment? How and why did listened to many people’s stories, is we, in the western world, adopt such that the situation with their possessions concepts? Why do we go along with is related to all that they already have ideas that are counter-intuitive to our going on. Therefore classifying them natural understanding and recognition with a disorder called Hoarding only of emotional pain and suffering? serves to remove the focus from the reality of their lives, the uniqueness of Why are we denying the noses on the

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BEHIND THE CURVE available on Netflix

end of our faces, what is making us ignore the bloody obvious and believe in things that deny reality? Why do we work within and accept systems that have the same scientific validity as the flat earth society?

now, such a concept is, on the whole, considered unacceptable. However, homophobia is now a recognised disorder! A 180˚ change, so what changed? Did psychiatry have an enlightenment? Of course not. It was a civil rights struggle and gay activists that made the concept of a disorder absurd and redundant.

For me, the evidence is clear, that when it comes to emotional distress and unusual experiences, we experience them because of who Interestingly, what we are and what has also changed is that All human emotional happened to us. That how what psychiatry had people feel about their suffering is in there listed as “symptoms” of and classified as feelings and experiences homosexuality became a disorder... is shaped by how they are less and less common. viewed within their culture This was because they and society, who they are, where they could be recognised not as “symptoms” come from, and what they have learned but as the consequences of having from their experiences. an experience that others considered unacceptable. Experiences such as; We need to explore beliefs and how they low mood, isolation, fear and worry, can be formed around certain issues sleeplessness, suicidal feelings, anger and then perceived as illness. One clear and frustration. It would be interesting example of this is that of homosexuality. to explore how many other people who It was considered a disorder/illness until are diagnosed today, are feeling many relatively recently with men receiving of the same feelings because they may inhumane treatments in hospitals. Yet be different or are unable to express 30


who they are and what has happened to them.

and experiences. In my new manual, I will have just two official disorders; The first, IBO – Ignoring the Bloody Obvious Unfortunately, there are too many disorder and the other PDD – Power disorders in need of a civil Dysregulation Disorder. rights battle and an age Both being exclusively It required me of enlightenment. Rather reserved for professionals to ask myself, than tackling them one by who are tempted to forget, why do I one, perhaps we need one ignore or deny the reality believe what big movement and to take of people’s lives, or who I do? them all out at the same start believing that what time? they think is more important than the people that they are helping. Unfortunately, the current list of disorders is a very long one, whether The rest of the manual will be reserved you look at the Diagnostic Statistical for the acknowledgement that feelings Manual (DSM) Version 5 or the are neither universally good or bad International Classification of Disorders and an acceptance that lives can be (ICD). All human emotional suffering is challenging, unfair, cruel and unjust. in there and classified as a disorder or That individuals who have experienced illness. You can be diagnosed if you are cruelty, injustice, trauma are not sad following a bereavement, if you are responsible for this. That as people, we angry about injustice, if you challenge authority or if you worry about your future. In his wonderful book Cracked, Professor James Davies interviewed the lead authors of DSM 3 and 4, Professor Spitzer and Dr Allen Frances. In his interview, Professor Spitzer told James Davies that the disorders that went into the manual were agreed via consensus, as opposed to being based on evidence and research. He acknowledged that there was no scientific evidence of the existence of any of the disorders he was entering into his manual. Dr Allen Frances acknowledged that his edition had been responsible for three worldwide false epidemics!

need relationships, a sense of meaning and purpose.

So, as part of a new civil rights movement, what I propose is a new diagnostic manual, the manual of human emotion

My manual will tell people that human beings have the capacity for incredible love and compassion, but also cruelty

Available online from Amazon.co.uk

31


and destruction and everything in between. It will explore cultures around the world, where people have collectively and individually found ways to offer helpful and loving ways of addressing emotional pain.

I completely understand that emotional distress in incredibly painful and overwhelming. My manual would stress how important it is that people have expertise and resources available to help them. I believe however that it could help to herald a new age of enlightenment that helps to stop people feeling so isolated, stop believing that there is something wrong with them and that the problems are all theirs. That in doing so, the intensity of the pain would not be increased by the stigma and terror of the impact of their feelings on their lives and those of their families and friends.

My manual would seek to offer people hope, to let people know that their distress is part of being human and offer them some possible pathways to help themselves or to help others. It would aim to enable professionals to harness their natural human abilities in order to help others. It would also ensure that they acknowledge inequality, poverty, abuse and discrimination as the real issues to fight and campaign against At the very end of Behind the Curve, and to raise awareness of. Rather than some of the believers in flat earth label and blame the people conduct an experiment who are affected by such to disprove curvature in things and then campaign the earth. However, much We can have to raise awareness of their to their surprise, they do a new “mental health problems�. find a curve, which is a enlightenment real oops moment! I think My manual would that we need to make encourage us all to reject more people aware that, mental health awareness campaigns in the world of psychiatry, there have and days and instead fight against been so many oops moments. So many injustice in all forms, making people that it is incredible, and it is shocking aware of the link between injustice that it is still the most common world and distress. Encouraging us all to view. We need to explore what makes stop diagnosing ourselves with fake us hold such beliefs, how helpful is it to disorders and employ compassionate maintain them and to liberate ourselves curiosity to the feelings and experiences from them. that worry us. So, instead of concluding I have depression, why not wonder what We can have a new enlightenment; is happening to make me feel so sad. If we can create a beautiful round, blue not OCD, what is causing me such fear concept that we are part of the vast and and worry. Not I must be schizophrenic, complex universe. We can stop calling but what do these voices mean and ourselves and others names when we what are they really communicating are struggling with how we feel, and we about me. can engage our qualities of compassion, curiosity, kindness and truly be helpful. 32


The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the New.


The

Stone

Foundation Housing and Tenancy support for vulnerable people


About The Stone Foundation (TSF) TSF is all about helping people find somewhere to live and to be able to keep it. Many people for all sorts of reasons, struggle to find a decent home of their own and many more struggle to stay in it. Recent homeless statistics suggest that many more people are without housing because of cuts to welfare benefits, loss of income and breakdown of relationships combined with higher rents and fewer suitable properties on the market. Pre-Tenancy Training - Although TSF tends mainly to help those who have been living in supported housing or hospital for example and for whom ongoing support is still needed, we can provide others with a helping hand too through our Pre-Tenancy Training initiative. This is a 3-day course which provides individuals with all the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to access and maintain a home of their own. Course Content - How many of us know instinctively how to read a meter/how to save on electricity bills or how to deal with black mould? How many of us know what our responsibilities and indeed our rights are as tenants? How many of us are in debt/can’t budget/understand how to shop for and cook for cheap but healthy food? This course aims to provide information on all of these things and more, in an informal, friendly and practical environment. We learn from others’ experiences (as well as the presenters) some of the consequences of not paying the rent or bills or borrowing from

the wrong people. We play a few games and have some fun quizzes as well as discussing serious issues like homelessness or benefits. In short, the course prepares people for the potentially life-changing/life making roles of managing a tenancy, managing money and managing themselves with confidence. Everyone gets a pack containing all sorts of useful information, including a special notebook and pen. Venue - We run the course from either our own training house on the outskirts of Ipswich or in a town centre location such as 4YP in Lower brook street. We are also happy to take the course to a venue of choice if there are enough people referred and the facilities are suitable.

Duration - The sessions take place over either 3 consecutive days in one week or for one day per week over three consecutive weeks – we are very flexible in our approach. At the end of each course, attendees are presented with a Certificate of Completion. We think that prospective landlords will look more kindly on a person who 35


shows some ‘proof’ of having what it takes to look after their property over someone who doesn’t. Feedback - Certainly, in areas where this course has been running for some time, statistics show that people attending the course have far fewer debts that they had prior to the course, are saving more money and have managed to retain their accommodation. Greenwich Council won’t allocate housing to anyone under the age of 25 unless they have completed the course. We don’t have sufficient evidence as yet to prove our worth here, but feedback from attendees so far has been extremely positive. 36

Cost - Currently, the training is free of charge, but unless we succeed in obtaining more funding, we can only provide a few more courses before we will need to start charging.

Please email

info@thestonefoundation.co.uk or telephone:

0800 133 7355 01473 487373 for more information, for details of next course and/or for a referral form.


The Stone Foundation’s Services

Meet Matthew continued


Becky: You did the Pre-Tenancy Training course with The Stone Foundation how did you find it? Matthew: I found it very useful and a very enjoyable course. It was a 3-day course, I enjoyed making the meals but I can’t remember how to do them now. It was very good, friendly staff and they all helped me learn important things and we got booklets and stuff to help us in the end. Becky: Did you find the course helpful for you and how so? Matthew: Each day there was someone from a different company come in and on one of those days someone from Citizens Advice came in it was good. We also had lecturers on topics like how to save money, benefits and so on. It was all very useful, I learned new things. Becky: What would you like to say about the course in your own words? Matthew: It’s a very good course, it teaches you to become a good tenant, what you should know and what you shouldn’t do. Information-wise you were taught how to do paperwork and how being able to read small print on tenancy was very important as well and as making sure you know what to do and how to be a good tenant.

38

Becky: Can you tell me about The Stone Foundation staff? Matthew: They are all very good, Rob and Elaine who were running the course and who was also teaching the course are very good, they did a very good job at teaching the course and putting it all across in a very good way. Becky: Would you recommend the Pre-Tenancy Training to anybody and if yes why? Matthew: Yes, I would because it teaches you to become a good tenant, and to look after your flat in a good way as well as being a good tenant, that includes making sure that you keep your home neat and tidy so that your landlord will be happy too. Good information-wise and the course comes with a different variety of people coming in and giving talks. I really enjoyed it.


How?

Find staff through us

Contact our marketing team for more information

ADVERTISING & PRODUCTION Louise Rackstraw Tel: 0800 133 7355 louise.rackstraw@mavam.co.uk

Advertise with us

Contribute


SUPPORTIVE CARE Tailored for everybody Mavam Group Ltd is evolving and expanding all the time, so we are frequently looking for suitable staff to support our ever-growing number of service users.

www.mavam.co.uk/careers info@mavam.co.uk

Tel: 0800 1337 355 Tel: 01473 487 373

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