BWWW Conference Report 2018

BRIEF BACKGROUND TO CONNECTING COMMUNITY NETWORKS

As part of Birmingham and Solihull’s Connecting Community Networks Programme, Common Unity hosted the 2018 World Mental Health Day Conference in Birmingham with a bit of a difference. Common Unity use the E.P.I.C approach in respect of mental health and wellbeing meaning that we work upstream to Educate, Protect, Intervene and Champion programmes and approaches that support mental health and wellbeing across communities…. after all, as Benjamin Franklin stated, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What is Connecting Community Networks all about?

Connecting Community Networks (CCN) looks to protect and enhance citizen wellbeing and promote life quality. It oversees the delivery of a number of much needed holistic services that has real, evidenced based wellbeing benefits for some of our most vulnerable members in the community. CCN takes a different approach from many other traditional services by starting from a premise of vulnerability and risk due to life challenges and looking to demonstrate a positive resolution for the individual based on improved wellbeing…. Read more  BWWW_Conference_Report_2018

Combined Brochure

HOW WE WORK
Our upstream approach achieves both indirect and direct benefits for our communities, and with this in mind, we ensure that our partners, our associates and others’ working alongside us have the same core belief. Our input is offered based on a number of dependable factors including years of historical direct experience and specialist skills acquired in the field of Health and Social Care, a strong knowledge base of networks and “can-doers” in the field , the utilisation of innovative practice to achieve the outcomes required and a driving ambition to do what is right and what is effective for the benefit of our communities.


Through our varied workstreams including training in suicide prevention and wellbeing, tailored peer support programmes, innovative community centred resource development and health and social care sector strategic support (to name but a few), we ensure that stakeholders across the board are effectively engaged at all levels to realise improved quality of life and wellbeing.

 

Download the document here:  combinedbrochure

Man Made Family Evaluation

An Evaluation of the ManMade Family Programme May 2016

The MandMade Family programme successfully supported men to be able to talk more openly about their emotions, to build their confidence and selfesteem, to know where to go for help and to support others in the community. This was achieved through an eight week workshop programme which includes peer discussion, information sharing and self-reflection on a range of health and wellbeing topics, underpinned by person centred facilitation approaches.


This report presents findings of an evaluation of The ManMade Family programme, delivered in Sandwell from February – March 2016. ManMade is an eight week programme of workshop sessions designed to support and empower
unemployed men to take care of their own mental health and wellbeing. It was developed by Forward for Life and Common Unity in response to high levels of poor male mental health and suicide, associated with gender identity. Five men took part in this programme, which was more explicitly focused on supporting men with caring responsibilities.

 

Download the document here : Man Made Family Evaluation Final 060516

 

 

MANMADE BRIEFING

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE MANMADE PEER SUPPORT PROGRAMME

This short briefing paper is intended for reference by health and social care decision makers in respect of 3 Peer Support Programmes delivered across the West Midlands during 2015 and 2016 to support the wellbeing of men.

 

Download the document here : ManMade_Briefing

Cohesion Consultation Event and Cohesion Programme

Cohesion Consultation Event – The Community Cohesion Programme

The Community Cohesion Programme focuses on the working with all communities and front-line staff.

They work to increase knowledge of mental health and well-being, encourage greater self-awareness and self management and stimulate community engagement, all geared at the improving the lives of Birmingham's residents.

Delivered by the wide community Development Service.

Supported by the Joint Commissioning Team

 

Breaking Silence – Mental Ill Health In The South Asian Community

BREAKING SILENCE MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DVD

Caron Thompson developed a short film about mental ill health in second generation South Asian women, which looked at cultural conflicts that can lead to mental ill health.

The story was influenced by the experiences of a service user who suffered mental ill health as a young single mother without the support of her family. The production uses a fictional character to illustrate the conflicts many women face between their Eastern and Western values, and takes the viewer through a series of life experiences aimed at highlighting the issues many women face.

The DVD raised the issue of self-harm and mental ill health particularly among the South Asian community where the subject is considered taboo. Self-harm and mental ill health is often hidden and considered to be a growing problem in the South Asian community.

 

 

Caron Thompson, Executive Producer said “It is important that we highlight issues such as this to the wider community, because the subject is still taboo in many families, women are suffering in silence. With this DVD we aimed to raise awareness and funding to be able to support many more women within their communities, hopefully breaking the stigma attached to mental ill health.”

The film has become part of a training pack that is being delivered to raise awareness of mental ill health in the South Asian community.

 

Connecting Community Networks

model-done

UPSTREAM SOLUTIONS FOR COMMUNITY WELLBEING

Life can be hard…but for some, because of particular circumstances, and more often than not, through no fault of their own, life can be much harder still. Connecting Community Networks recognises this and looks to protect and enhance citizen well-being and promote life quality. It oversees the delivery of a number of much needed holistic services that has real, evidenced based wellbeing benefits for some of our most vulnerable members in the community. CCN takes a different approach from many other traditional services by starting from a premise of vulnerability and risk due to life challenges and looking to demonstrate a positive resolution for the individual based on improved wellbeing

 

Download the flyer for CCN here

5 Ways To Wellbeing app

The 5 way app has been designed to get people thinking about ways of using each of the Five Ways to Wellbeing by offering practical examples as well as links to services or activities available in cities such as Birmingham. 

The Five Ways to Wellbeing Programme, commissioned by the Joint Mental Health Commissioning Team, the application which has been developed by Caron Thompson of Common Unity to challenge stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health issues to address stigma and discrimination associated with poor mental health, and explore how individuals can use the five ways to improve their own mental wellbeing. 

Using the Five Ways to Wellbeing doesn't have to be difficult or costly, there are many simple things you can do to include the Five Ways to Wellbeing into your daily life. Being active doesn't have to mean joining a gym or joining a football club to join, although it could. There are plenty of other things we can do to be more active, for example, walking instead of using the car or public transport, gardening or exercising at home. 

Beauty Shop

The Beauty Shop is a community enabling package and the sister magazine to Barbershop. Common Unity worked in partnership with the founders of Barbershop Preston and Barbershop Birmingham to develop The Beauty Shop Magazine.

 

Many communities see mental illness as a taboo and often not talked about subject, this is normally due to the lack of knowledge, understanding and the belief that it is not a health issue but spiritual. Individuals with mental illness can often be rejected by their own community and are either confined within the family home, sent back home to their country of origin or are left isolated without any family/support network.

The Magazine promotes positive mental health to women in areas of deprivation. In particular, it will target those women who are least likely to engage in health and community participation, namely:  BME women, women who are victims of domestic violence, drug users, asylum seekers, and those not in employment or further education. It has a multi-cultural focus addressing issues of faith, culture and race in mental health. It also promotes an understanding and co-operation between communities.

 

The identified benefits:
• Enable service users to take greater responsibility for their own health.
• Develop new skills that may lead to employment
• Form a social network and a safe arena for sharing experiences
• Raising health literacy in communities and individual’s ability to better understand effective interventions.
• Empowering communities to take control of their health needs
• Create community brokers that could bridge the cultural gaps between communities and services

The magazine is distributed to key venues within Heart of Birmingham identified as those giving the best chance of access to South Asian and black women in particular (aged 18-45), but also to those from other communities experiencing similar problems.

URBRUM – Magazine

Hey everyone, want something cool?, we have just released URBRUM Magazine issue 3!

Download link below:

Download URBRUM Issue 3 here

We have something very exciting for you, you can download your copy of URBRUM Magazine issue 2! below

Which has some of our amazing articles to inspire the whole of Birmingham.

Whether your a Football player, Singer/Song Writer, an Artist with a passion, or an average joe we have something for everybody.

The magazine features:

 

  • GRAFFITI ART In Birmingham,
  • HEALING TEAMWORK Ignorance To Mental Health Issues
  • SHE LOVES ME She Loves Me Not
  • DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH "Nothing Worth Having Comes Easily"
  • And Much, Much more

 

Download your Free Version here:

URBRUM MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 Single page spread

URBRUM MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 Double page spread

 

Or Read Online:

Why not read me online!

 

 

 

 

 

 

BVSC Update Magazine

Common Unity is a health and social care social enterprise which delivers a proactive approach to service co-ordination and development, writes founder and managing director, Caron Thompson.

Common Unity was established in 2009 by community engagement activists who were born, lived and educated in the inner city parts of the West Midlands.The organisation offers a range of holistic services that promote mental wellbeing to disadvantaged communities, delivering activities in the urban areas of the WestMidlands. Engagement activitiesmainly take place in the heart of thecommunity, which means we arecompletely integrated within thecommunities with which we work.Common Unity lends itsknowledge and specialism to otherorganisations to achieve bettercommunity engagement and accessto health and social care. We’vebeen commissioned by variousorganisations – including the localauthority, NHS primary care trustsand third sector organisations– to support them in researchand consultation with specificcommunities. We have extensive networks with community leaders from diverse ethnic backgrounds, as well as excellent working relations with current community development workers and other health care professionals.There are many communities that have pertinent issues but are
not able to communicate or engage using the generic routes, meaning they do not access the service they require.

 

These communities areclassed as ‘hard to reach’, but it’s notthat they are hard to reach, we justneed to know how to reach them.Our multicultural focus provides a personalised approach to community engagement, to support the mental well-being of all communities.Barbershop Birmingham Barbershop is a ground-breaking programme in Birmingham that has a holistic, social-based approach to engaging our communities – especially youth – on the issues around mental health and well-being. Its main products are a citywide magazine and a website, but these are just a small part of the whole venture. Barbershop is a programme that offers opportunities – through education in IT, website development, report writing, journalism, volunteering opportunities and payments for work undertaken towards the magazine and web-site. It engages young men on the subject of mental health and well-being in a way that is meaningful and relevant to those individuals. Barbershop develops cohesion between and within communities and promotes individual self-esteem and resilience through active engagement, effectively challenging the stigma that exists around mental health problems. All of the key partners in Barbershop Birmingham are Birmingham-based, not-forprofit social enterprises and third sector organisations. The BeautyShop magazine Common Unity, as the lead organisation for the Barbershop programme, has supported the development of Barbershop magazine. We have developed a female version of the magazine with support from Preston, the founders of the Barbershop brand. The magazines have contributed to effective community cohesion.  

Download the document here 

Download BVSC issue: June 2011 207 Download BVSC issue: February 2012 213

 

 

 

Barber Shop issue 4

The Barbershop Programme is a groundbreaking scheme in Birmingham that has a holistic, social based approach to engaging our communities, especially the youth, on the issues around mental health and well-being.

The main products from this programme are a city wide magazine and web-site, but this is just a small part of the whole venture. Barbershop is a programme that offers opportunities through education in I.T., web site development, report writing, journalism as well as volunteering opportunities and payments for work undertaken towards the magazine and web-site. It engages young men on the subject of mental health and well-being in a way that is meaningful and relevant to those individuals. It promotes cohesion between and within communities. It promotes individual self esteem and resilience through active engagement and it effectively challenges the stigma that exists around mental health problems.

All of the key partners in Barbershop Birmingham are Birmingham based non-profit social enterprises and third sector organisations.

Download Barbershop Birmingham issue: 4

 

Barber Shop Report

The Barbershop Programme is a groundbreaking scheme in Birmingham that has a holistic, social based approach to engaging our communities, especially the youth, on the issues around mental health and well-being. The main products from this programme are a city wide magazine and web-site, but this is just a small part of the whole venture. Barbershop is a programme that offers opportunities through education in I.T., web site development, report writing, journalism as well as volunteering opportunities and payments for work undertaken towards the magazine and web-site. It engages young men on the subject of mental health and well-being in a way that is meaningful and relevant to those individuals. It promotes cohesion between and within communities. It promotes individual self-esteem and resilience through active engagement and it effectively challenges the stigma that exists around mental health problems. All of the key partners in Barbershop Birmingham are Birmingham based non-profit social enterprises and third sector organisations.

Download Barbershop Birmingham Consultation Report

SOS Campaign

Download the document here: sos

 

In Britain each year, over 6000 people kill themselves; that’s 4000 more deaths per year than occur on all our roads – but unlike road safety awareness, suicide prevention is a subject that professionals nor our communities are willing to openly talk about. “It’s time this tackle this problem head on”. It’s time to act. It’s time to Shout Out Suicide.

Suicide is the most common cause of death for men under 35 and each year between 600 and 800 people aged 15-24 take their own lives – That’s the same as the number of people in a small secondary school. Young people must be heard. Are you listening? It’s time to tackle this problem head on. It’s time to act. It’s time to Strike Out Suicide.

It’s tragic that in times of recession more people take their own lives.
In the UK, in 2011 there were over 6,000 suicides in people aged 15 and over – that’s an increase of nearly 10% compared with the year before. It’s time to tackle this problem head on. It’s time to act. It’s time to Stomp Out Suicide

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ASIST

The World Health Organisation (WHO)

 

 

knows that suicide is not being dealt with adequately because of a basic lack of awareness of suicide as a major problem and because of the taboo around suicide meaning many societies won’t openly discuss it. The WHO also recognises that suicide prevention requires involvement from all sectors if suicide rates are to decrease.

We recognise that everyone has opinions about suicide.

Some think people have a right to die, others, that life should be valued and suicide is wrong, others see it as a selfish act, a cowardly act, others as a brave thing to do – but there is one opinion we believe everyone shares, one that states that if there are steps we can take to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts in society, then we should look to adopt these steps and start building Suicide safer communities for a brighter tomorrow.

 

Why not download a few documents below:

 

ASIST-Briefing-Paper-150x150   tbeitr

 

 

ManMade | The Conference

ManMade | The Conference
Men Surviving Change in an ever Changing World
June 13th 2016

Download the document here: ManMade conference

Year upon year we are seeing an ever growing number of men die by suicide across the UK. Every two hours a man takes his own life in the UK and the numbers are rising.

These men are husbands, brothers, fathers, sons, work colleagues, guides, friends and soul mates and there is a story to be told.

 

To date discussions in Public Arenas have given us a wealth of knowledge in respect to clinical and wider service provision challenges, statistics, economic and human costs, theories as to the reasons specific groups of men may be more at risk than others. But whilst the debates rage on in the background and decisions are being made, individual stories from the front line have often go unheard. ManMade | The Conference provides the opportunities for stories of loss, survival, and hope. As part of Mens' Health Week 2016, ManMade | The Conference throws on the table an invitation to all (and we mean everybody from all walks of life) to better understand the reasons why many men may think they would be better off dead, the impact of suicide by men, what solutions are already being developed and implemented as best practice examples as well as provide a forum where new possibilities can be considered and new partnerships developed.

 

ManMade: The Conference // Who is it for?

We know that suicide doesn't discriminate. It affects all walks of life at all levels in our society. That's why ManMade: The Conference is for everybody. Everybody has an equal place…after all, suicide is everybody's business. If you want to become a small part of the solution in reducing both the number of men taking their own lives and the impact of male suicide, this conference is for you.

 

ManMade: The conference // The Purpose

ManMade organisers recognise that only through wider engagement across sectors can the stigma around men and suicide and the challenges of survival for men in modern day society be recognised and addressed.

Suicide – The Biggest Elephant in the Room

“Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse.
Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.”

 

The Elephants Story

 

Download the document here: The_Biggest_Elephant_In_The_Room

 

 


Human beings throughout history have taken their own lives, or more simply put, have died from suicide. It is a phenomenon that persists to this day in all societies and within those societies there continue to be strongly held opinions that are deeply rooted regarding suicide. However, these opinions nor the impact of these opinions are debated openly across and within communities – they are just understood “to be” – and because of this unspoken attitude that engulfs this phenomenon, the taboo of suicide in society has become so powerful that the silence that surrounds it at all levels only further serves to strengthen that taboo and cement the stigma associated with suicide.
This stigma serves no purpose to anyone, least of all a person who may be thinking of taking their own life and is unable to tell anybody due to their own inner feelings of guilt as well as their concerns as to how such an admittance would be reacted to by others. So suicide remains the “elephant in the room” that everybody ignores though it is blatantly there.


Forward For Life and Common Unity understand that most of us have strong, often deep-seated feelings and opinions about suicide, after all we are only human and suicide for many is an area that challenges the very concept of human "being" – some think people have a right to die, others, that life should be valued and suicide is wrong, others see it as a selfish act, a cowardly act, others as a brave thing to do – but there is one opinion we believe everyone shares and that is one that states that if there are steps we can take to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts in society, then we should look to adopt these steps and start building Suicide Safer communities for a brighter tomorrow.


So a number of approaches have been brought together by Forward For Life in partnership with Common Unity under the name of SOS. We feel that through community action, learning, campaigning, active use of social media, lobbying and influence we will all eventually not only see the elephant and openly admit to seeing it, but also all know how to get it out of the room!

Saving Lives

Saving Lives

 

Download the document here saving lives

 

 

Above: The Hertforshire delegates trained in ASIST in April 2014 – This group of dedicated professionals from across the County are now developing their own Suicide Prevention Network known as SING.

“I found the ASIST training really useful and it has made me for less worried about talking to someone wanting or thinking about ending their life." 

On-going research continues to best establish which suicide interventions are most effective. To date, we have the evidence to show that ASIST does give care-givers the skills and confidence to put an intervention in place. Recent evidence has also shown that for Crisis Workers on helplines, the ASIST approach is effective in saving lives. But we feel at Forward For Life that there is nothing more convincing than direct narratives from those on the ground who have been trained in ASIST.

So we asked the delegates who had been on our training whether it had been effectively employed in their day to day work – and this is what they said. 

Probation

“I used the ASIST training (2014) with one of my female offenders. She came for her usual appointment and was stating that she felt the world was coming in on her. She has a diagnosed Personality disorder but the Mental Health teams were not engaged with her. I completed the ASIST approach with her and although she had no plan in place we still looked at reasons to live and reasons to die. I drew a safe plan up with her and agreed with her that she would give me 24 hours. 

I referred to Mental Health teams for an assessment gave them all the information as to what i had done thus far for her and insisted that she be given an appointment as early as possible. They assessed and discharged but now have PD team involved and Forensic Mental health team. Most importantly my client, now feels that she can cope with the interventions I am putting in place with her and has another support network beyond her time with me.” 

Teacher

“I have been supporting a lovely 17 year old student during her restart year after suffering a breakdown in her first year. She was very up and down and felt she was very open with me and we had a good relationship. However a few weeks ago after stockpiling medication took an overdose, telling me later she hardly remembered taking them. She woke feeling dizzy and told her sister who called 999 and thankfully her life was saved. I was very shocked but so relieved when she came to see me, still low but happy to be still here.

My ASIST training (2014) helped me to say the right things, to agree a safe plan to which she agreed and to signpost more help. She came to me as a friend and mentor and I thank god I had the ASIST training to help her. She is now having much more help and bipolar disorder is suspected "

Counsellor

“I found the ASIST (2013) training really useful and it has made me for less worried about talking to someone wanting or thinking about ending their life. I have used the training in a telephone call in a previous job with someone who was suicidal and had the means and a plan of how they were going to end their life. Because of the training i didn’t panic but listened to the person for quite some time before identifying some things that he wanted to live for. I talked to them about these and arranged for them to see their GP. I got them to agree to see their GP and ensured that they were seeing a friend that evening, I also arranged to call them the following day to check in and see how they were. When i spoke to them the following day they were so grateful and said that if it hadn’t been for me listening to them and caring about what happened to them, they would have killed themselves the previous day.

I’ve also used the training in my role as a counsellor – I’ve used it on a couple of occasions with clients who had been having suicidal ideation although they weren’t actively planning to kill themselves. On both occasions the clients found it helpful to be able to talk through their feelings with someone who just wanted to listen.” 

Teacher

“I have had to put into practise ASIST on 2 occasions since completing our training in April 2014, and all I can say is that I felt prepared for both situations. Both situations were totally different, as one was for a member of staff and the latest situation was a Yr 11 student on the last week of term.

The member of staff was directed to me for support/off load, and with the guidance from our training I was able to ask the right questions which lead to a safe plan and contacting the member of staff's partner, and making an appointment at their Dr’s.

With regards to the yr. 11 student, with whom I had worked in the past due to self harming. I could see a difference in attitude than previously, which gave me the push to ask if they were thinking of suicide and what appeared to be relief when I asked the question she told me “yes” and told me how she wanted to end her life. Again I don't think I would have been so direct with my questioning if I had not attended ASIST. I have now in place, support whilst she is at school completing exams. Parents are on board too, contact numbers have been given to the student and parents and CAMHS aware and updated.

On the day of her telling me that she wished to end her life, we managed from not wanting to tell anyone, to agreeing a safe plan for the next 24hrs until we got everyone on board.”

Employment Consultant

“If I had not had the ASIST training (2014) with Forward For Life and Common Unity I would not have had the confidence to give support to two people. As a result of the training I was able to sit for an hour and a half with a man who had tried to commit suicide to work through some of the processes he had undergone. When I arrived he was not able to sit up and was in coherent and in tears. By the end of the meeting he was able to sit up and talk rationally with me about the events leading up to the attempt.

In another case the training gave me the ability to talk with a lady who admitted to me that she had contemplated suicide having been sexually harassed. The training gave me the confidence to support her. I have been able to assist her to see that her feelings of worthlessness and guilt coming out of the harassment were understandable and that what had happened was not her fault and she should not listen to her negative thought about concentrate on the positive ones.”

Company Director (Health and Well Being)

“Representatives from our organisation undertook the ASIST training (2013) for our management and support workers and we have been able to put the training to use straight away and have supported young people.

One Saturday morning after an incident on the previous night, myself and a colleague were able to help this young person in crisis who confirmed to us that they had felt suicidal for a long time but no one had noticed before. Without the training received, suicide would have continued to be a subject that we as a team felt was taboo – but now have the confidence to ask questions and give support.” 

Commissioner

“Fortunately, I have not had to use the skills and approaches learnt during the 2 day ASIST course (2013) with Forward For Life . However, attending the ASIST course has benefited me in other ways, such as helping people who are feeling low, going through bereavement, depressed, and generally feeling down. 

I highly recommend this both serious, and yet enjoyable course, as it helps in understanding a person’s deep-rooted misery, teaches essential techniques to stop a horrific tragedy, and enables wider awareness to further support, at risk and vulnerable individuals. Delivered in an engaging and interactive way, the ASIST course clearly meets it aims.” 

Company Director – Training Consultancy

"I found the ASIST training engaging, the facilitators from Forward For Life were skilled in approaching such an emotive and sensitive subject with essence of humour and reality. I've become a supporter of their work and endorse their invaluable training." 

We made the right choice

We want to be the best we can be when we deliver our suicide prevention training and our evaluations to date have always been very positive. But these evaluations had always been based on training at a local level being in the West Midlands – but the Suicide Prevention training in Hertfordshire was a completely new experience – completely outside of our normal stomping ground. We had been given the opportunity to work alongside the Hertfordshire County Council Public Health Service and agree the delivery of both half-day safeTALK courses and the two day internationally renowned ASIST course across the County with the vision of supporting Hertfordshire to become suicide safer.

 

So, in March, Forward For Life and Common Unity delivered the safeTALK course to over 100 delegates in 3 venues over 3 days through 4 safeTALK courses. Prior to this experience, we were somewhat concerned that such an ask may be too much to take on with suicide prevention training being so demanding on facilitators and some delegates in respect of the subject matter and the time frame – in addition to this Hertfordshire was an area that we had not worked in at any level before.

Ours fears though, it seems, were unwarranted with direct positive feedback from safeTALK delegates on the day being further backed up with great evaluation feedback. Similarly the ASIST course held in April went extremely well with the added benefit that the ASIST delegates agreed amongst themselves to establish a network for Suicide Prevention for the County utilising the skills they had learned so support people with suicidal behaviour to find reasons for living.

 

Download the document here: We made the right choice