Bulletin February 2021

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

Looking Forward

With the publication of the government's roadmap out of lockdown, many of us are hopeful of a more 'normal' summer. In the meantime, we continue to meet virtually and cope as best we can under current restrictions. Putting in the effort to look after our mental and physical health has never been more important.  As well as providing an update on the work we've been doing, hopefully, this bulletin will provide a few ideas to help.

Experts by Experience Continue to Support Each Other

The current lockdown continues to isolate us physically but our Experts by Experience, who feel able, continue to meet virtually and share their experiences of lockdown as well as information from other meetings that they have attended.

At our January meeting, experiences of accessing support for both physical and mental health issues were shared.  Some were even able to tell us how receiving their vaccination had felt.

The meeting also provided the opportunity to talk about th
e Mental Health Act White Paper.

One of our Experts also shared her experience of helping to put together a survey for people assessed under the Mental Health Act and their carers.  See below for details.

Mental Health Act Assessment Survey

Our Experts by Experience often help professionals to gather feedback in order to improve services.  Here Shelagh, one of our Experts shares her experience:

"The mental health act assessment survey is an attempt by the AMHP's (that is the social workers involved in assessing capability and where deemed necessary sectioning someone) to find out how this process is experienced by the individuals and carers involved in the assessment. And how they can make improvements.

They welcomed my contributions as an expert by experience and valued my input.

They are an easy group to be involved with and actively encourage the participation of 'experts'.

The finished survey and accompanying letter addresses the individual who was assessed rather than the carer first. Important I think in terms of our empowerment."

If you are a Derbyshire resident (excluding Derby City) who was assessed under the Mental Health Act between November 2019 and November 2020, or you care for someone in this group of people, you can find out more and fill in the survey here: Mental Health Act Assessment Survey

For service receivers and carers living in Derby City a similar survey is available here:

Both surveys close on 8th March 2021.

High Peak Mental Health Engagement Group

It was good to catch up during the first virtual meeting of the year in January.

Although it's early days, we were interested to hear about the move to single-sex wards at Stepping Hill.  One big difference at the moment is the level of sound between the two wards.  There are also concerns that the inability to move people between wards will increase the need for out of area beds. 

The carers in the group reminded us of the additional pressures they are facing during the pandemic.  Some are closely involved with the Living Well Derbyshire Project and are hopeful for the improvements this will bring in the future.


Derbyshire Living Well Project

The Derbyshire Living Well Project, a new model of care for people who need mental health support, continues to progress in the High Peak and North Dales. 

The 'Prototyping' team have started to work with a group of new clients and are adopting a very person-centred model of working.  Mental Health Together has an engagement officer dedicated to this project who is gathering vital feedback from these first clients which will help to shape future community mental health services in the area.
Other News

COVID-19 Vaccination and Severe Mental Illness

Equally Well UK has produced a guide for people with severe mental illness and their carers on what to expect from the COVID-19 vaccination programme and how to ask for any adjustments.

Click here for further information.

Carers Have You Registered as a Carer with Your GP?

Unpaid carers are in group 6 of the COVID-19 vaccination first phase priority groups.  So Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA) are encouraging carers to make sure that they register as such with their GP.

For a reminder of all the services that DCA can provide see the poster and leaflet opened from the buttons below.  Their February Newsletter which
includes Easter events can be opened here.


Derbyshire Carers Association Poster
Derbyshire Carers Association Leaflet

Exciting Job Opportunity for Someone with Lived Experience of Mental Illness

The EQUAL Forum at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust brings together patients, carers and nominated staff from across the Trust.  It is an opportunity to create change in the Trust and shape the culture of the organisation through engagement.  The EQUAL Forum works in partnership with leaders, including Executive Directors, and is in place to ensure that patients and carers feel able to raise issues, and can work together to plan ways to deliver improved services.
There is now an exciting opportunity for someone with lived experience of mental ill health as a recipient of care; to lead and support the EQUAL forum and sub-groups and work closely in partnership with the EQUAL independent Chair to facilitate and provide regular support to sustain and grow the membership and develop the network further, so that members feel valued, engaged and have a vital role to play in the work of the Trust.
Further details of this job opportunity are available on the Trust’s website:

Please read the full Job Description and Person Specification for further details.  Closing Date 4th March 2021.

Mental Health Helpline and Support Service

The Freephone 24/7 mental health helpline and support service, run by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has become a permanent service as part of improvements being made through the Joined Up Care Derbyshire programme. The helpline team now consists of staff from the charity P3, as well as clinical staff from Derbyshire Healthcare. 

Please call 0800 028 0077 any time of the day or night if you need support for yourself or someone you care for.

More details of the service are available from the Trust's website:

Mental Health Act Review - Give Your Opinions

The Government has finally published the Mental Health Act White Paper. setting out their plans to reform the Mental Health Act 1983. 

Derbyshire Mental Health Forum provided an overview in Forum News, which you can view by clicking here.

Summaries are also available from:

The government wants to hear your views on the proposed changes.  The consultation is open until 11:59pm on 21 April 2021, with further details available here 

You can provide your feedback via the following link:

Veterans' Information Point

Derbyshire Alcohol Advice Service has launched a new Veteran Information Point (VIP) for Derbyshire Residents as part of its veteran community services.

Their STAND TO VIP team of veterans and staff are available to help with enquiries from Derbyshire veterans or their families between 9:30am and 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, on issues from COVID impact to substance misuse, housing, finance, relationship problems and much more.

You can connect them on 
01246 959 333 or by emailing

 For more information see the website or flyer.


Derbyshire Recovery and Peer Support Service 

The Derbyshire Recovery and Peer Support Service provide practical, goal-based support to help individuals develop the tools to manage their mental health independently.  Each individual creates a tailored plan of support to meet their recovery needs and will work towards an identified goal with an allocated mental health recovery worker.  The service also supports a network of peer-led support groups across the county, providing each group with an individualised package of funding, training and ongoing development support.  Alongside this, their dedicated Volunteer and Peer Support Coordinator provides an individualised package of training and support to each Peer Supporter within each group.

The interactive map provides the most up to date information about the status of groups across the county, and people are encouraged to come forward with ideas for new support groups.  For further information please contact the appropriate group development worker:


For one-to-one support, you can self-refer or make a referral by contacting the Single Point of Access on 01773 734989 or by completing the referral form opened from the button below and returning it to

Referral Form for one-to-one support


The Tech Buddy Scheme aims to address the increasing issue of digital isolation by matching tech-savvy volunteers with individuals who may be too anxious or lack the confidence to use technology to stay connected with friends, family and other support networks.

Click here for more information about the scheme, or on the appropriate button below to apply for support or to volunteer. 

Apply for Tech Buddy Support
Volunteer as a Tech Buddy


Do You Know Someone Who Needs Help with the Internet?

As well as the Tech Buddy Scheme offered by Derbyshire Recovery and Peer Support Service, Rural Action Derbyshire also have a Cyber Buddy Scheme.

If you want some help with digital, or you know someone who does, please email: or leave a message on:
01629 592970

Click here for more details.


The Make it Click Project

The Make it Click project, from the Good Things Foundation, can support people as they grow their digital skills and confidence.  The project runs until the end of April 2021 and is aimed at limited users of the internet (aged over 18) who are looking for work, a new career or starting their own business, with resources covering the following subject areas:
Build a business, Calendars, Documents, Email, Careers, Online security, Photos, Presentations, Social media, Spreadsheets, Work from home.
Support is being delivered by Derbyshire Libraries (currently over the phone): they can help people as they access and use the resources on the Make it Click website:
“The ‘Make it Click’ programme aims to help adults achieve positive life and work outcomes, particularly around employment, by supporting
them to understand how digital skills can change their life, and give the practical skills and knowledge to build their confidence to do so.”
Those taking part can also enter a prize draw with a chance to win one of three laptops.
To find out more about this opportunity, or book a support slot, people can contact the project team via the Derbyshire Library Information Service by phone: 01629 533444 or email:


Range of Services Offered by First Steps 

Lockdown is a difficult time for most of us.  First Steps eating disorders charity have put together an email to tell us about the services they can offer ranging from creative workshops and befriending to counselling and psychotherapy.  Click on the button below for details.

Services Offered by First Steps

Derbyshire Autism Alliance

The Alliance is a collaborative venture between Autism Information & Advice and Living Well with Autism

The quarterly meetings are an informal safe space where individuals living with Autism, parents/carers/friends/family and professionals can come together to share their experiences of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) benefit from peer support, meet a guest speaker, learn a little more about ASC and feed into services available in Derbyshire. 

It is open to anyone aged 16+ living in Derbyshire County and Derby City and meetings will be chaired by a team member from each service.

Minutes of the last meeting with future dates available here

To book onto the meetings, please call
01332 228 790  or email and you will be given the Zoom meeting login details. 

Autism Dialogue

Autism Dialogue is coming to Derbyshire. The Dialogue sessions will take place on Zoom over six Fridays between 11am and 1pm starting on 26th February.
The project is open to anyone with a connection to Autism:

  • Autistic people (18+)
  • Close family members and carers of autistic people
  • Professionals working within the Autism community
  • Academics in autism
  • Must live or work in Derbyshire county.

This is a chance to have your voice heard and connect with others in the Autism community. It is a safe space to share your thoughts and experiences and will be an Autism friendly environment.
Each session will include:

  1. Check in – a chance to introduce yourself if you wish and find out who will be part of the Dialogue session (not compulsory)
  2. Dialogue – a slow-paced opportunity to share your thoughts and experiences around Autism
  3. Check out – a chance to reflect together about the discussion during the Dialogue (not compulsory)

 You will need to commit to as many of the Friday sessions as you are able to form a safe, sharing community.  For more information and to book a place please email:  

Autism Dialogue Flyer

Support Men in Your Community

We hear a lot about the importance of conversation for our mental health.  But often men, in particular, find it difficult to open up, talk and offload.  Mentell provides free circles for men aged 18+ to talk (or just listen) in a safe and confidential space free from advice and judgement.

Click here to see a short presentation that the Chair recently gave to members of the NHS on how Mentell circles support men in all areas of life.

Reading some of the member stories might be the encouragement needed to make the first step and sign up.


Have You Heard of Kooth or Qwell?

If you’re a young person (11 to 25) in Derby or Derbyshire with experience of using digital mental health services; or a parent, carer or guardian of a young person who requires mental health support, Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group want to hear from you.
Please visit their website to find out more about these two services and access the surveys which are now open:
They would appreciate you sharing this engagement opportunity with your friends, family, colleagues and any other relevant networks, and will be keeping the surveys open until 12th March 2021.
If you require these surveys in any other language or a more accessible format, please contact them by phone: 01332 868730 or email:

Study About Differentiating Borderline Personality Disorder from Autism 

Clinical experience indicates that autism and borderline personality disorder (BPD), otherwise termed emotionally unstable personality disorder, can often be difficult to differentiate, and can lead to misdiagnosis. Kim Guest ( is carrying out research that looks at how to differentiate Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), from autism, from co-occurring BPD and autism.

She will be looking at the social factors involved in the process of differentiation, as well as asking what care is appropriate for someone who has both diagnoses.

Kim is looking for research and clinical experts to take part in the study, as well as experts by experience who have either both conditions or have been misdiagnosed with one condition before being diagnosed with the other.

Click here for further information.

Tips for Staying Healthy in Lockdown

Future Learn has gathered together some ideas on how to stay healthy during the lockdown. Hopefully, they can give you some inspiration as the lockdown continues.

Click here to open the blog.  

Choosing Health and Wellbeing Apps

There are lots of apps and online tools that promise to help with your health and wellbeing.  However, it can be difficult to know which ones to trust.

Derbyshire County Council has partnered with ORCHA - the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications - to showcase a range of quality assured apps to help support your health and wellbeing.

ORCHA carry out independent reviews of 100s of apps, scoring them on how well they meet robust criteria including data and privacy, clinical/professional assurance and how easy they are to use.

Each app has a detailed scoring and information card to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Click here to discover more.

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