Today (4/12/15) was a great day for the foundation. Founder (Shawn Collins) met with Norman Lamb MP at his constituency office in North Norfolk with the intention of an Introduction to the foundation’s plans for the future.
Shawn discussed various issues around mental health including his own experiences with Alcohol, Drugs and acute anxiety disorder. Shawn also described how his life through the care and adoption systems had a profound effect on his mental health growing up and the impact it had which led to problems later in adult life.
After the initial chat around Shawn’s personal experiences the conversation moved on to experience with services received through the NHS throughout his life.
The services in Norfolk specifically are in my opinion very fragmented and men especially find services to be almost non existent, this seems to be the case nationally to.
Shawn went on to explain that although the GP’s try their best for patients, the waiting time between an initial appointment to referral of Psychologists services are far to long and the fact is many men drop off and out of the primary care system and potentially end up among the suicide statistics, and also those that find themselves in deep depression and a feeling of “there’s no way out”
Over the years I have been to speak with GP’s, been prescribed medication and told that I would have to be referred for CBT and that I could be waiting for some months. I was advised that if I felt I was struggling then I was to arrange another GP appointment to have the same discussion, and yeah, you guessed it more medication or higher dosage
The meeting then took the course of discussing what if anything a project like The Collins Foundation could do to address the gap as described above. Ideas around creating a community hub that service users and providers alike can utilise to keep open lines of communication between services and therefore provide better services for the community as a result.
Also peer led activities that can be an incredible tool as lived experience counts for a lot when dealing with personal and mental health issues as a matter of trust and empathy not to mention the fact of commonality. This in turn can potentially assist with the wider issue of the NHS and it’s problems managing the health of the nation. If projects can be set up outside the NHS but assist in implementing a community led recovery service it would help free things up so that better care can be given in other areas elsewhere in the NHS.
The foundation intends to work with the NHS on this and the meeting today with Norman Lamb has been productive in that contact has been made to Key people working in mental health both in and out of the NHS and we will report on this in due course.
The Collins Foundation wants to focus on this problem with both a local and national outlook. What this means is that whilst working towards a local project set up in Great Yarmouth the foundation intends to work with national partners to tackle the wider issue of mental health Stigma, addressing it in the work place, socially and at home. There are lots of ideas being discussed for the future so please do visit this site again or follow via Twitter to keep up to date. Looking forward to 2016.