Bulletin April 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of our e-bulletin.  In this edition: 

Update on the Physical Health and Severe Mental Illness (SMI) Project

In the last bulletin we told you that we had completed an interim report and were in the process of presenting our findings to various groups and organisations, including NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, our Experts by Experience and other stakeholders.

In the next phase of the project we were planning to do further engagement with a diverse range of communities across Derbyshire and Derby City. Unfortunately, those plans have been put on hold due to the current situation with COVID–19.  As with everyone, we have had to adhere to government guidance with social distancing and working from home.  This has provided some challenges, but also some real positives.  

We remain committed to the SMI project and have been doing some work via phone calls, emails, Microsoft Teams and on Skype.  A key priority at the moment is focusing on Physical Health Monitoring Clinics run by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. These clinics are a relatively new concept and provide physical health monitoring for people with severe mental illness (SMI) for the first year following diagnosis.  We want to focus our attention on the patient journey while attending the clinics, the positive health outcomes to regular monitoring of physical health and the transition from secondary care back into primary care for annual physical health checks. If you, or someone you care for, have any experience of these clinics we would love to hear from you.  Please do not hesitate to give Aileen a call on 07704 005303, or email her on  You can also contact Niki, or Kath at the Mental Health Together team. 

Experts Sharing During Unprecedented Times

Isolation is something we all know should usually be avoided in order to look after our mental health.  However, we all understand the need to do everything we can to slow down the spread of coronavirus and follow the social distancing measures currently in place to give our healthcare systems the best chance of coping.

The MHT team are all currently working from home and still in contact with the volunteer Experts by Experience, who came up with the great idea of sharing things that are helping them to get through this difficult time.  We'd all like to share some of those things with you in the hope that you might see something that helps you too.  

  • Rufus May is a psychologist who has used his own lived experiences to promote holistic ways of responding to the experience of hearing voices.  The openmindedonline website has lots of videos including yoga punching exercises as well as discussions.
  • has been set up by those who find it helpful to turn to creativity at times of additional strain. One of our Experts, Tony, is a diarist for the site which also has a substantial list of resources including everything from 'practical and financial help', 'mental health and wellbeing' to 'how to video call your family' and 'things to do'.
  • Trying to keep some kind of routine, simply ensuring that you get up, get dressed and have meals at usual times is important for most people.
  • It's a good time to get on with some of those jobs that we never seem to have time for such as cleaning a leather sofa or clearing out a cupboard (you never know what you might find)
  • Essential volunteering roles, such as work carried out safely at foodbanks has never been more important.  We're proud to say that some of our volunteers are helping out.
  • Healthflix is an online community built by leading experts in health and wellbeing to help us all get through the stress and isolation of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.  Some of the lessons are delivered by Ruby Wax who you might remember from her days as a comedian.  Lessons that you miss can be caught up via YouTube.

Some of the Experts sharing these ideas are pictured here when we signed the Equally Well UK Charter last December.

Simply thinking about what gets you through the day and sharing what might in your mind seem quite basic ideas, can be quite therapeutic and also helpful to others.  So if you'd like to join in and have something to share (websites, pictures, and/or a few words), please let us know by clicking on the button below to send us an email and we'll share what we can in the next bulletin.
Sharing things that help during social distancing

High Peak Mental Health Engagement Group

Unfortunately, the weather put a stop to our engagement meeting that was due to take place on 27th February.  And by the time we got to the middle of March, it was clear that our meeting on 2nd April couldn't go ahead.  In the meantime, we are in contact with regular group members via email and can share information specific to mental health service receivers, professionals and carers in the High Peak area.  So if you have anything that you'd like us to share please let us know.

We will start to consider whether virtual meetings could be a viable option in the future.

Urgent Mental Health Care Update

Quite a number of you attended the Urgent Care Stakeholder Event last July so we thought you might like an update on progress.

Mental Health Triage Hub  -  this is the facility which brings together staff from Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, police and ambulance service and takes calls from across the system, particularly from the 111 call centre. The Hub is being expanded to include voluntary sector workers as the first point of contact who can signpost people to suitable places for help. This service is being provided by P3 and they are currently recruiting and training workers. The Trust has also recruited more community psychiatric nurses to work in the Hub to provide a robust service and ensure they have enough cover for staff sickness. Ultimately the aim is to have the Hub available 24/7 and to have a system whereby if you call 111 you can then press 2 for mental health as opposed to physical health. Many of those callers will get put through to the triage hub in future and hopefully avoid them ending up at emergency departments.
Safe Havens -  this is another crucial part of providing better alternatives to the A & E department.  There has been a step forward recently as the Mental Health System Delivery Board have approved the go-ahead of a pilot Safe Haven in Derby City. Originally intended to be open by June but now probably more like September. 

This will be run by Richmond Fellowship at their base on Burton Road (where the crisis beds are also located).  It will be a separate building from the crisis beds and will provide a non-clinical space for people who need time out in a safe place but do not need a crisis bed or hospital bed. There is a large room on the ground floor which will accommodate up to six service users at one time and toileting/showering facilities.  There is an additional room on the first floor with a kitchenette which can be used to make drinks and snacks. 

Some work will need to be done to make the place as suitable and welcoming as possible. It is expected to be open from 6pm to 1am, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It is also expected to include peer support by people with lived experience as well as duty workers. 
Towards the end of 2020/beginning of 2021 there will be a least one Safe Haven for County as well. This will be adapted according to any lessons learnt from the City one and is likely to be run by P3/Rethink/Fed for Mental Health who deliver the peer support and recovery service.

Access to the safe havens will initially be via the mental health triage hub and the crisis teams only
Crisis Cafes  -  there are still plans in the pipeline to set up crisis cafes around the county. These will be for anyone who needs to drop in and get some support particularly out of hours when other services are closed. We understand that commissioners are currently looking at data showing where crisis calls come from, to see where they are most needed. They are also looking at what already exists in communities that could be extended to offer crisis café facilities and of course where there is nothing currently available.


Co-production Training

In early March, Niki and Aileen went to London for some advanced co-production training.  They enjoyed meeting up with others at the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).  Unfortunately, their trip was cut short as the Equally Well Day to be hosted by Equally Well UK the following day was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

MHT Contract Extension

Those who work more closely with us will be more aware that our initial contract of three years (reduced in size after a year due to funding cuts) was due to end at the end of March 2020.

We're very pleased to announce that we have now received confirmation that funding has been provided for us to continue: supporting our network of Experts by Experience, facilitating the High Peak mental health engagement meetings, and reaching out to you our membership; for a further two years.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the service and allows us to continue ensuring that your voices can be heard.
Other News

Latest Coronavirus Information

With lots of websites providing loads of information and updates on coronavirus it can be difficult to know where to go for information, with the confidence that you are looking at the latest advice or guidelines.

Joined Up Care Derbyshire are currently in the process of putting together web pages that will bring  together all the latest information for the people of Derbyshire:

While the pages are being developed, our colleagues at Healthwatch Derbyshire will try to keep you informed of all the latest information via the website:  They also have a Facebook which is being used to share local information they are made aware of:

Derbyshire County Council Community Response Unit

Derbyshire County Council has set up a COVID-19 Community Response Unit to bring agencies and volunteers across the county together and support residents and businesses as they tackle the infection and its effects.

The service will help people self-isolating with shopping, prescription collection or simply someone to chat with on the phone. 


Mental Health Support Lines

Two mental health support lines, to help those who experience increased distress or anxiety have been made available for Derbyshire residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Derbyshire Recovery and Peer Support - Emotional Support Helpline
  • 01773 734989
  • 9:00-17:00, Monday-Friday
  • For anyone feeling they need emotional support 
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - Mental Health Support Line
  • 0300 7900596
  • 9am-midnight, seven days a week
  • For existing service users and carers experiencing a reduction in service
  • Also for those experiencing immediate distress due to COVID-19
Further details of each service can be found via the buttons below, and an introduction to the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust helpline can be found in their Dimensions newsletter available by clicking here
Derbyshire Recovery & Peer Support Helpline Flyer
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health Support Line

Citizens Advice - Increased Phone Support

While currently unable to take face-to-face enquiries, Citizens Advice have increased their capacity to provide telephone support.  They can provide free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on any issue, from holiday cancellations to financial worries.

The Derbyshire District office can be contacted between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday on: 0300 456 8390 (calls charged at the 01 or 02 number rate).

They also have a number dedicated to helping people claim for universal credit: 0800 144 8 144 which is a freephone number available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. 

The website also provides simply explained answers to lots of the questions raised during these difficult times: 

Mentell - Support for Men

Mentell is a self-help process based on 7 guiding principals that offers all men the opportunity to work through any personal issues in a safe and supportive way.

The circles work best for those who are willing to start making changes in their lives, however small that change might seem.

Further details are available from the website: and you can email: with any questions that you might have.

Support for Carers

Derbyshire Carers Association would like to reassure Carers that during the current national crisis they are busy making sure they are able to support Carers in a more effective and meaningful way. They feel that Carers may require even more support at this difficult time and are proposing changes that support families in a more appropriate way for the current situation.

The team will be contacting Derbyshire’s most vulnerable Carers to review their current situation, address any concerns and make sure that Carers and their families are connected to support services. These include services such as food deliveries, prescription collections and befriending. They will be creating emergency plans for individual Carers addressing concerns in the current situation. Carers requiring further support will be contacted regularly so throughout this crisis no Carer feels alone.

If you are a Carer or concerned about a Carer during the COVID-19 crisis, Please feel free to call 01773 833833, email, or refer online (see the website: for details).  All calls and emails are responded to daily.

Emergency Changes to the Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act must continue to function effectively throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to ensure the safety, care, and treatment of people severely affected by mental illness. Emergency legislation has been introduced to Parliament which includes temporary measures to change the Mental Health Act. This is because the government is concerned that COVID-19 will reduce the number of mental health professionals available to help people whose mental health places them at risk.

We know that a number of you are understandably concerned about the removal of some of the safeguards that are normally in place.

Click on the button below for an explanation of the changes.
Mental Health Act Changes

World Autism Awareness Day

Thursday 2nd April was World Autism Awareness Day.   Autism Information and Advice for Derbyshire County is a new service for people in Derbyshire aged over 16, that was going to be officially launched on this day via a drop-in session in Belper.  Unfortunately, the session had to be cancelled due to social distancing, but to mark the day instead, the service launched their YouTube channel. The channel is going to be used to support those with an autism spectrum condition throughout the period when we all have to stay at home.  There will be lots of ideas to help maintain physical and mental wellbeing including ideas to help the whole family.

If you would like to learn more about the longer-term aims of the services click here to open the website.

Care Quality Commission's (CQC's) Online Participation Platform 

The role of the CQC is to make sure that health and social care services give people safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care. 

They have created an online participation platform ( to invite people to connect with them and others involved in health and social care
. You can see the various projects that they are working on and get involved
 through discussions, reviewing documents, polls, surveys and idea boards.

In addition, if you have any feedback relating to a personal experience of health or social care that you would like to share with them, you can also tell them about that here: 

Other Things that Might Help

At the start of this bulletin, we shared some of the websites and ideas from our Experts by Experience.  As I'm sure you've already discovered there are lots more websites with ideas to help keep us mentally and physically active and supported during times of isolation.  Here are just a few that have been shared with us over recent days:
  • Why not join the library for free access to e-books, e-magazines, e-audiobooks and e-newspapers
  • / is a new resource to help you find ways to feel a bit calmer and for ideas to help you cope
  • Derby and Derbyshire Age UK are asking people to write friendship letters to make people isolating feel connected to the outside world.  For full details please click here
  • Insight Timer is a website that claims to provide the world's largest collection of free guided meditations (over 40,000 titles)
  • Headspace shares meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you out, however you’re feeling. 
  • Mind has an information hub with tips to help you cope during this time of additional challenge
  • The Mental Health Foundation gives advice on how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
  • Derbyshire Recovery and Peer Support are running peer support sessions on Zoom.  Click here for further details

Focus on the Good

Whilst acknowledging that these are very difficult times for us all, especially those who already have or care for those with mental health conditions, it always helps to consider the things that we do still have.

We're all very grateful for the frontline staff working to help keep everyone safe and well whilst putting themselves at greater risk.  THANK YOU to those of you reading this who are frontline workers.

Finally, we'd like to share a YouTube clip to remind us all of the wonderful world out there which we all hope to be able to enjoy again when the pandemic is over, and alsocollage of photos, along with inspirational messages put together by Aileen.
Wonderful World Clip
Aileen's Photos & Thoughts
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