Mental Health newsletters over the years..

Here you can see the last 9 editions of the Mental Health newsletter supported by VoiceAbility and one from when it was supported by Camden Council

CBUG newsletters


Conference on violence and agression

VoiceAbility secured some free tickets to a conference called “Violence and aggression: short-term management of violent and physically threatening behaviour among adults, children and young people with a mental health problem” which happened yesterday.

Violence and agression

Here is Dean (volunteer Peer Mentor)’s account of the day:

“I attended a conference today around violence on secure wards and how best to manage these incidents. we heard from a wide variety of speakers who shared their experiences and how they feel they are best addressed. there was also a solicitor who spoke on the legal aspects of patient restraint which was very interesting and gave some food for thought.

I feel I have benefited greatly from this experience. I learned a lot about different ways they debrief the staff and patients after an incident and they gave lots of examples of deescalating a situation that could turn violent.

There were speakers from Rampton and Ashworth hospitals and there were lots of different people to network with. If this conference is run in the future, I would recommend anyone that does peer support or have any contact in the mental health profession should attend.”

Regards Dean @ VoiceAbility

VoiceAbility CEO Jonathan Senker: On TV

JS speaking

In July 2013, Advocacy service providers appeared before the House of Lords Committee charged with investigating the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Jonathan Senker (Chief Executive Officer of VoiceAbility) was among those who spoke about their experiences of representing vulnerable people.

Service users have expressed an interest recently, you can find the full video here:

Guardian: “Four million people in England are long-term users of antidepressants”

Data obtained by the Guardian shows that one in six people in England were prescribed antidepressants in 2017


More than four million people in England are long-term users of antidepressants, new figures obtained by the Guardian show.

You can read the full article on the Guardian website here:

BBC Minds Matter programmes

“One in four of us will experience some kind of mental health problem over the course of a year – so most of us will either have experienced it ourselves or know at least one person affected by it.”

BBC 1 in 4

The BBC has launched a campaign called #1in4 to try and break through the stigma associated with mental illness and making it easier to talk about your mental health.

You can find out more information and see the programmes on the BBC website here:

CBUG & Peer mentoring at St. Mungos Mental Health festival!

VoiceAbility supported CBUG volunteers Romano, Davide and Mark and Peer Mentors Maria and Jahanara to run two stalls at the St. Mungo’s Mental Health festival on Thursday 5th July.


Above: Mark (CBUG), Ani (VoiceAbility Peer Mentor Coordinator) and Jahanara (VoiceAbility admin volunteer).

The festival was great fun for everyone involved with activities like spray painting & graffiti workshop, drum playing, dancing and hand henna design. There was also a delicious grill, salads and drinks. Our volunteers made the most of this opportunity to promote the Peer Mentoring Project and CBUG with flyers, banners and forms.

All in all it was a great sunny day! 4 people showed an interest in becoming peer mentors, 5 people enquired about CBUG and a couple of people were also interested in Camden Frontline and the Sunday Project (substance misuse groups).


Above: drumming at the festival.

We had interesting conversations with many attendees who showed interest in VoiceAbility projects. We also did some networking with the stalls of other organisations who promote mental health awareness.

There was Yoga, music performance by the charity Key Changes, stand-up comedy, massage and flower arranging!

Evaluation of Service User Involvement in Camden

Tonic report front page

Camden commissioners hired an independent organisation called Tonic to do an evaluation of service user involvement in Camden. Tonic heard from 123 users of both mental health and drug & alcohol services and they have produced a report which you can read here.

Tonic: Camden Service User Engagement report

The report proposes the following options for the continuation of Camden involvement. Watch this space because commissioners will decide soon!

Option 1: Refine and review the current specification. Commission an independent organisation to co-ordinate service user involvement across the Borough for mental health and substance misuse. This service would operate as the ‘go to’, impartial, service for service users to share views, or for the council to seek input for consultations.

Option 1a: Commission two separate independent organisations to co-ordinate service user involvement; one for substance misuse and one for mental health.

Option 2: Offer independent funding directly for service user groups (e.g. directly from the council to service user groups e.g. CBUG)

Option 2a: Stipulate in new contract with independent provider that some of the budget should be retained for service users to apply for grant funding for new initiatives.

Option 3: Contract with a current commissioned provider to provide and coordinate independent service user involvement activity across the cohort (either substance misuse or mental health). Key to this option is that service users feel confident that their views will not affect their care from said provider and this function is seen as an adjunct to the other activities offered.

Option 4: Do not commission an independent service user involvement service outside of the current service providers, as they already promote service user engagement as part of their individual contracts. This would, however, not benefit from a resource to pool together all of the separate service user engagement and feedback into one place for providers and commissioners and service users may be concerned they cannot give honest feedback to the service providers about their care/treatment.