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Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10-16 May and this year’s theme is ‘Nature’.

There are two main aims of this week. Firstly, to inspire more people to connect with nature, noticing the impact that this connection can have on our mental health. Secondly, to convince decision makers at all levels that access to and quality of nature is a mental health and social justice issue as well as an environmental one.

Read more about Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

If you would like some inspiration of where you can enjoy nature in Northumberland take a look at the links below:

Northumberland Country Parks and Visitor Centres

Northumberland National Park

If you are looking for support with your mental health we have a dedicated page on our website to point you in the right direction of local mental health services, useful information, self-help leaflets and apps – find mental health support.

Singing group

Singing for the Brain

Alzheimer’s Society Northumberland is running virtual singing sessions for people in the early to moderate stages of dementia and their carers.

Singing for the Brain sessions use singing to bring people with dementia together in a friendly and stimulating activity using Zoom to connect with others. The activity has moved online due to the current pandemic.

Singing for the Brain is based around the principles of music therapy and singing. In between songs the group chats and reminisce about the songs and what they meant to them. The sessions are run by experienced leaders and volunteers along with the support of a member of staff.

The sessions are open to all Northumberland residents and take place online via Zoom on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 2.00pm to 3.00pm.

Upcoming dates

  • 5 May
  • 19 May
  • 2 June
  • 16 June
  • 7 July
  • 21 July

If you would like to attend, email: northumberland@alzheimers.org.uk or call: 01670 813 255 for the Zoom link and joining instructions.

Care home visit

Care home visits: public forum

At our previous forums we have heard how visiting restrictions in care homes have affected people living there and their relatives. We have also heard about other ways people have been keeping in touch during Covid-19 and experiences of the changes to allow one or two designated visitors for in-person visits. We have also heard from representatives at Public Health and Northumberland County Council on the visiting guidance for care homes.

At our next forum on Friday 4 June at 10.30am we’d like to hear about your experiences now we are two months into the changes in visiting policy. We would also like to hear your feedback on preparing for you and your loved ones to have visits outside of the care home.

We will also be sharing the results of our recent online surveys for care home staff and relatives/friends of those living in care homes and looking at the next steps for this feedback moving forward.

If you would like to register for the event please contact Helen Brown at: helenb@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or call us on 03332 408468.

If you cannot come along but have a question you would like an answer to, send it to us and we will ask it for you.

More on care home visiting guidance

Roving Vaccination Service

Covid-19 vaccination pop-up pilot launched in Northumberland

People in Northumberland are soon to benefit from new pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

As part of its commitment to reducing health inequalities in the county, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with the Cramlington Seaton Valley Primary Care Network (PCN) to set up a Roving Vaccination Service. This will see vaccines safely transported to people in the most rural parts of Northumberland as well as minority groups including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, those affected by homelessness and residents from a BAME background.

A transit van has been specifically modified and customised to help ensure that residents in remote communities and hard to reach groups are not left behind in the vaccination programme.

Already more than 200,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to Northumberland residents and, thanks to the CCG’s partnership working with the PCN and Northumberland Fire and Rescue, another 100 received their first dose of the vaccine at the pop-up clinic at Bellingham Fire Station in Hexham on Thursday 15 April.

The vaccination team will be led by a team of healthcare staff from the Village Surgery in Cramlington, which includes a community paramedic, two practice nurses and a healthcare assistant. They will be supported by an admin team from the same practice, who will provide a vital support service to this clinic as they have done so far within the local vaccine sites.

Vaccinating from the pop-up clinic is Paula Jamieson, senior practice nurse from the Village Surgery in Cramlington. Paula said, “This new service provides people who live out in our most rural communities in Northumberland, who may find it difficult to travel to a large vaccination centre or their more local vaccination site, more choice as to where they can get vaccinated.

“Northumberland has a really unique geography with a diverse and disparate population and we’ve worked in collaboration with lots of different organisations to find the best and most practicable solutions to roll out Covid-19 vaccines. Piloting our pop-up vaccination service demonstrates this and also shows our commitment to ensuring as many people in Northumberland as possible are protected from Covid-19.”

Richard Hay, Head of Planning and Operations at the CCG said, “We have never seen a vaccination programme on this scale before and our teams in primary care have been working flat out to get the vaccine into as many people’s arms as possible whilst following the national roll-out guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) and have done a phenomenal job so far.

“We understand the uniqueness of Northumberland and we’ve had to overcome some big challenges with this roll-out. For example, the distance people have been expected to travel to attend a large vaccination centre.

“The introduction of the Roving Vaccination Service will make sure no-one is left behind. It’s a fantastic example of our local GPs working in collaboration across the county to deliver innovative services for the benefit of residents.”

Residents are being reminded not to contact their GP practice to seek a vaccination appointment from their practice or the Roving Vaccination Service. Practices will contact people when it is the right time – no one will be missed. People are also being reminded not to turn up too early for their appointments.

Find out more about the Covid-19 vaccination programme here

Yoga class

Wellbeing sessions from Northumberland Recovery College

Northumberland Recovery College is offering a range of free courses and workshops to support people with their mental health and wellbeing.

What is a recovery college?

A recovery college is not a building or a place, it’s an opportunity to become your own expert in what works to manage your wellbeing. The college provides learning experiences, mutual support, and activities at a pace that is right for you.

Details of upcoming sessions are below and will take place via Zoom. To book a place please email: nrc@mentalhealthconcern.org.uk

All On Board Families: Tuesday 13 April, 2pm and Thursday 22 April, 2pm. Practical skills for your family to stay connected while supporting your child.

Mindfulness: Thursday 29 April, 10.30am. Introduction to what mindfulness is, how it helps so many people and how to use mindfulness in your own day-to-day life by practicing it in fun and creative ways.

Yin & Yang Yoga: Monday 3 May, 1.30pm. Four-week gentle yoga practice for all levels and abilities.

 

Find out more about Northumberland Recovery College.

Mental Health Support and Services

Is NHS 111 First making a difference?

From 1 December 2020, the NHS has introduced a new system called NHS 111 First. This means that NHS 111 can now book you an appointment at your local A&E or get you an urgent appointment at an alternative health service. The NHS 111 First campaign encourages people to call NHS 111 before going to emergency departments.

During COVID-19, people have relied on NHS 111 more than ever to get urgent medical advice. Healthwatch England’s latest research looks at people’s experiences of NHS 111 and awareness of the new A&E time slot booking service.

Find out more about NHS 111 First

To better understand public attitudes towards NHS 111, including awareness of the new services offered by NHS 111 First, and support the best possible roll-out of this new service, Healthwatch England commissioned YouGov to run a UK representative online poll of 2076 adults (18+) between 27 – 28 January 2021.

Through the Healthwatch network, the views of over 400 people who had used NHS 111 in the last six months were also recorded.

  • The majority (84%) of polling respondents said that they were aware that they could call NHS 111 for urgent medical advice. Almost three-quarters (70%) agreed that they were more likely to call NHS 111 than go straight to an emergency department when they had an urgent medical problem.
  • More than three out of four people who had used the service and got through to an advisor (79%) felt they had got the help they needed.
  • Almost three quarters (72%) of those that have used the service agreed that they generally had positive experiences when they called NHS 111​, while 12% disagreed and 13% were neutral.
  • Not feeling confident in the advice given by NHS 111 call handlers was a common issue. Only 55% of all polling respondents said they felt confident that when they phoned the service, the person they spoke to would be qualified to help them.
  • Those who did use NHS 111 First and had a timeslot booked for them at A&E were highly likely to rate their experience as very good, suggesting that that the new system is working when people are given the option.
  • However, awareness of the new service is low. 80% of polling respondents were not aware that NHS 111 could reserve timeslots at GPs and 73% were not aware they could reserve timeslots at A&E.

Read the full report

 

Age UK virtual events

Fancy trying something new from the comfort of your own home? Age UK Northumberland has lots of fun virtual events to enjoy from exercise classes to reading groups, gardening chats to crafts and activities. There is something for everyone and it’s a great way to stay connected with the outside world.

All you need is a computer, phone or tablet with access to the internet to take part. See what’s on offer here: bit.ly/AgeUkVirtualEvents

International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day takes place on Monday 8 March and this year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge”. The theme focuses on the idea that we can choose to challenge and call out gender stereotypes and bias, and we can choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements to collectively create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Northumberland County Council asked Healthwatch Northumberland to create a short video on this year’s theme which will be part of a live streamed event on the day.

Our Project Coordinator, Derry Nugent, talks about some of the health inequalities and bias that women face. For example, did you know coronary heart disease kills twice as many women as breast cancer in the UK? However due to a common misconception that heart disease is a man’s disease, women face inequalities in awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care following a heart attack.

Hear what Derry has to say on the video below, along with Stephanie Edusei, Chief Executive of St Oswald’s Hospice, and Fareeha Usman, Founder and CEO of Being Woman.

Watch the video here

If you would like to know more about the issues raised in the video, you can read more at the sources below:

British Medical Journal

British Heart Foundation

Mental Health Task Force

NHS Clinical Research Project

Can you help the NHS to improve services and treatments for patients?

We are working with NHS England to undertake some research on what patients, current users, non-users and those with specific health issues including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental health and genetic factors, think about getting involved with clinical research.

This research will be really valuable in helping the NHS develop new medicines and learn more about better health and care for the future.

We want to know how patients and the public feel about clinical research, how they can get involved in research, what digital access they might need and if there are any barriers in place for involvement.

The survey will run up until Friday 12 February 2021.

Take the survey

Have your say on SEND services

Northumberland County Council and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group are asking for feedback on how to strengthen support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The 2020-2023 Northumberland Strategy for Special Educational Needs sets out the local partnership’s vision for developing and improving the support provided for children and young people with additional needs and their families.

The consultation will run for 7 weeks, from Monday 1 February until Friday 19 March. If you have any queries, please contact 01670 623 960.

Share your views here

Events

Care home visit

Care home visiting Northumberland

At our previous online forums we have heard how visiting restrictions in care homes have affected people living there and their relatives. We have also heard about other ways people have been keeping in touch during Covid-19 and experiences of the changes to allow one or two designated visitors for in-person visits. We have also heard from representatives at Public Health and Northumberland County Council on the visiting guidance for care homes.

At our next forum on Friday 4 June at 10.30am we would like to hear from you about your experiences of visiting your loved ones in care homes now we are almost two months into the changes in visiting policy. We would also like to hear your experiences of the other ways you have been keeping in touch and any feedback you have on preparing for you and your loved ones to have visits outside of the care home.

We will also be sharing the results of our recent online surveys for care home staff and relatives/friends of those living in care homes and looking at the next steps for this feedback moving forward.

If you would like to register for the event please email Helen Brown at: helenb@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk or call us on 03332 408468.

Government guidance on care home visits

Visit our Covid-19 Information Page

online events

Choices4Growth Parents Forum

Join Choices4Growth for their first Parents Forum, an opportunity to take some time out, speak to other parents and find support in a friendly virtual group.

The forum will take place on Monday 10 May from 1.30pm to 2.30pm via Zoom.

For more information, please email Michael at: C4G@mconnaughton.co.uk

Bridge Northumberland Earth Day Cook-Along

Join Bridge Northumberland for a cook-along to celebrate Earth Day. The event will take place at 11.30am on Thursday 22 April with Georgia Evans from Full Circle Food cooking a vegan spaghetti bolognese.

Visit the Bridge Northumberland YouTube channel to join in on the day.

Yoga class

Northumberland Recovery College: Yin & Yang Yoga

Four-week gentle yoga practice for all levels and abilities. The session will take place via Zoom.

A recovery college is not a building or a place, it’s an opportunity to become your own expert in what works to manage your wellbeing. The college provides learning experiences, mutual support, and activities at a pace that is right for you.

To book a place please email: nrc@mentalhealthconcern.org.uk

Berwick upon Tweed

Northumberland Recovery College: Mindfulness

An introduction to what mindfulness is, how it helps so many people and how to use mindfulness in your own day-to-day life by practicing it in fun and creative ways. The session will take place via Zoom.

A recovery college is not a building or a place, it’s an opportunity to become your own expert in what works to manage your wellbeing. The college provides learning experiences, mutual support, and activities at a pace that is right for you.

To book a place please email: nrc@mentalhealthconcern.org.uk

 

Family in woods

Northumberland Recovery College: All On Board Families

This session from Northumberland Recovery College will give you practical skills to help your family stay connected while supporting your child. It will take place via Zoom.

A recovery college is not a building or a place, it’s an opportunity to become your own expert in what works to manage your wellbeing. The college provides learning experiences, mutual support, and activities at a pace that is right for you.

To book a place please email: nrc@mentalhealthconcern.org.uk

Family in woods

Northumberland Recovery College: All On Board Families

This session from Northumberland Recovery College will give you practical skills to help your family stay connected while supporting your child. It will take place via Zoom.

A recovery college is not a building or a place, it’s an opportunity to become your own expert in what works to manage your wellbeing. The college provides learning experiences, mutual support, and activities at a pace that is right for you.

To book a place please email: nrc@mentalhealthconcern.org.uk

Online event – mental wellbeing support for young people

Are you a parent, carer or someone who is looking for initial support for a child or young person’s mental wellbeing? Perhaps you work with young people and want ideas about what mental health support is available in Northumberland? Come along to our online event on Wednesday 10 March from 10.30am to 11.30am and find out more about Kooth, an online counselling and support service available to all young people aged 11-25 across Northumberland.

Kooth is a safe, confidential and anonymous way for young people to access wellbeing and mental health support through self-help resources and articles, peer support and discussion, and access to fully trained and qualified counsellors until 10pm each night, 365 days per year.

This event is an opportunity to hear more about Kooth from Northumberland’s Kooth Engagement Lead Malcolm Connelly who will give a short presentation and introduction to Kooth, what it involves, how to access it and what you can expect. There will be a Q&A session following the presentation.

Find out more about Kooth here.

If you would like to come along to the event please contact Helen Brown at: helenb@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468 to register.

We would also like to hear from young people who are using or have used children’s mental health services in Northumberland so we can understand what is working well and what could be improved. You can share your views here.

Parents, carers and relatives of young people who have used services can also share feedback on our website.

Care homes – keeping in touch with loved ones (online forum)

As we enter a further period where visiting relatives in care homes is restricted, we want to hear how this is affecting you and your loved ones. What information have you had about keeping in touch and maintaining communications about care and wellbeing?

We are particularly keen to hear if you managed to be tested and have an ‘in person’ visit during December.

We would like to know your experience of:

  • Using video calls (FaceTime, Zoom etc) or telephone calls. Does the home support these?  How many times a week and how long?  Does a member of staff help your loved one with the call?
  • Socially distanced visits. Does the home support ‘window’ visits.  How many times a week and how long?
  • How does the home keep you informed about how your loved one is getting on (apart from necessary issues about their care or health). Eg manager updates, photographs, videos
  • Does the home have a programme of group and 1 to 1 activities? Has your loved one taken part?
  • Has the home asked you what, within the current restrictions, would make this time easier?
  • What, within the current restrictions, would make it better for you and your love one?
  • When restrictions are eventually eased (not totally lifted) what would help you and your loved one?

The forum will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Haugh: laurah@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

If you can’t make the forum and would like to tell us your story, or would rather speak to one of our team in confidence please get in touch.

 

Remotely Christmas

Remotely Christmas is an online event being streamed from the Leading Link YouTube page. This is a huge project to help unite the four corners of Northumberland and spread some Christmas cheer!

  • Interactive craft and food workshops
  • Track Santa across Northumberland
  • Special guests
  • Games and quizzes
  • And lots of festive fun!

See how to get involved at the Leading Link website.