Welcome to the Dorset Mental Health Forum

The Dorset Mental Health Forum is a local peer led charity. We exist to improve the lives of everyone affected by mental illness by promoting wellbeing and recovery. We were established in 1992 and employ people with lived experience of mental health problems whenever possible. Our main office premises are situated in Durngate Street in the market town of Dorchester.

We believe that people with lived experience of mental health problems have a wealth of specialist knowledge and valuable expertise. We believe in the effectiveness of partnership working in the design and provision of mental health services. Everyone has an equal right to enjoy all of the opportunities that life can provide and that is why we promote the principle that hope, mental health and wellbeing are essential to all.

World Mental Health Day - October 10th 2018

The aim of World Mental Health Day this year is to raise awareness of and get people talking about mental health. This year’s theme, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, focuses on young people and mental health in a rapidly changing world.

Our team will be marking the day by running and presenting at various events across the county in partnership with, amongst others, Dorset Healthcare and Bournemouth University.

Bournemouth University in particular have a number of interesting events running to mark the occasion, to view their programme please click the link to the .pdf below'

2018 World_Mental_Health_Day events.pdf.


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World Suicide Prevention Day

Monday 10 September was World Suicide Prevention Day and aimed to raise awareness and educate people on the effects mental illness can have on people worldwide.

More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year - an average of 18 a day.

Thankfully the issue is now being spoken about, alongside other areas of mental health it is very much in focus. Connecting with others and letting people know that it's ok to talk is the message for this year's campaign.

If you are thinking about suicide or know someone who is but you don't know who to speak to please call us here at the Forum and we will be able to put you in touch with someone who can help, there are people who care and are ready to help right now.

The Samaritans do fantastic work here in the UK and around the world and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week offering a safe place for you to talk through any problems you may be having. Their telephone service is free and available on 116 123 .

There are also other services and organisations that will be able to help - we have added some useful links below -

  • Grassroots are a charity who work solely around suicide prevention in the UK and their website is full of useful resources. Please click here for more information.
  • HOPELineUK is a national confidential support service for any young people (under 35) at risk of suicide, or anyone worried about a young person at risk of suicide. The helpline is open 10am-10pm Monday-Friday, Weekends 2pm-10pm, and Bank Holidays 2pm-5pm.Tel: 0800 068 41 41 Calls are free from all providers and do not appear on bills.
  • CALM Helpline -The Campaign Against Living Miserably offers confidential, anonymous and free support, information and signposting to men anywhere in the UK through their helpline. Monday-Friday from 1pm-11pm every day, calls free from landlines and most mobiles.Tel: 0800 58 58 58
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    Suicide Prevention Plan

    Suicide Prevention is high on the agenda and a key part of the Mental Health Five Year Forward View and every area across the country is expected to have a Suicide Prevention Plan published by the end of April 2018.

    Suicide has a profound effect on families, friends and local communities and across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole an average of 70 people die by suicide and so Dorset CCG and partners are pleased to introduce the Suicide Prevention Plan.

    The Suicide Prevention Plan is a high level plan with key themes taken from the National Suicide Strategy. Each organisation signed up to this plan will develop their own Suicide Prevention Plan targeting their areas of influence. Each organisation will then report progress through the Crisis Care Concordat working Group. It will be reported up through the CCG’s Integrated Community Primary Care Service (ICPCS) Board and to the Health and Wellbeing Boards. Please note the plan seen here is a working draft that will be finalised by 30 April 2018.

    Work on this plan will support the national intention to reduce the number of suicides and importantly will reduce the number of deaths by suicide in Dorset. Across Dorset there is strong commitment to delivering this plan and delivering it in partnership. Once published and finalised the partnerships will be strengthened and formalised to ensure that the reach of the plan is as wide as possible.

    Please click the link below to view or to download the local Dorset action plan produced by Dorset CCG

    Suicide Prevention Plan.


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    Mental Health Rehabilitation Review

    The NHS in Dorset is currently reviewing rehabilitation services in the county and are holding a stakeholder event on 11th July in Wareham.

    It will be an open event to all services and public to help reshape mental health rehabilitation, assertive outreach teams and the homeless health service in Dorset. Refreshments will be available and there will be parking available on site.

    For more information please click the link below to view or to download the information sheet provided by Dorset Healthcare

    Rehab Review Open event.


    The Retreat

    The Retreat is a safe and welcoming environment for anyone over 18 years of age, based in Dorset and who have self-identified their crisis and want to access support. It is an alternative to the traditional approach to crisis management as being solely assessed and defined by clinicians.

    The Retreat will not offer medication or formal therapy but will instead support and promote self-management with a strong focus on on valuing lived experience and peer support.

    The service is being delivered in partnership between Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust and Dorset Mental Health Forum and is staffed by both peer specialist and mental health professionals.

    The Retreat is based at Hahnemann House, Hahnemann Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5JW and is open Monday to Thursday: 16:30-00:00 Friday to Sunday: 18:30-02:00

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    Improving community health services for children and young people in Dorset

    The NHS in Dorset is reviewing community physical health services for children and young people provided in the community. This includes primary and community care as well as community hospital services for 0-25 year olds. The first stage is to find out what is being done well and what could be done better.

    They have developed a survey for young people aged 16-25 and parents/carers of children and young people aged 0-25.In addition they would appreciate feedback from local stakeholders who have an interest in the provision of health services for children/young people.

    The NHS will also be seeking the views of under 16 year olds in a variety of ways including at schools and youth forums etc. and also listening to children, young people and their parents and carers at events.

    To access the questionnaire (Deadline May 18th) and to register an interest to be involved please click the link below -

    Dorset Vision Be Heard Survey

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    Art, creative writing and recovery workshop in Poole

    Poole council, Poole Museum and Gemma Alldred (a local creative writing tutor) have got together to produce a free creative afternoon for people who are in recovery or working towards recovery. The event will be held at the museum on Thursday 19th April between 1:30 and 4:30pm and is based around their current exhibition 'Alternative Visions'.

    No previous experience of writing or knowledge of art is required and for more details please contact Anna Shiels at Poole council on 01202 633971 or a.shiels@poole.gov.uk

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    Dorset Mental Health Carers Survey

    Mental health services in Dorset are developing, so we are working with the Dorset Mental Health Carers Project to ensure that the views and voices of mental health carers are taken into account within this time of change.

    The team at the carers project have designed a short online survey around the support that carers need and what is currently provided. If you could complete it the Carers Project will then work hard to ensure the outcomes of the survey are shared with the NHS and Local Authority

    The survey can be found using this link. The deadline for completing the survey is 20th April 2018

    Many thanks.

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    The Recovery Education Centre Prospectus and Summer 2018 Timetable

    REC ProspectusEveryone has a right to wellbeing, to feeling positive about today and feeling hopeful for tomorrow. At times life can feel uncontrollable, and empty of opportunity, and most of us experience this at some point. At the Recovery Education Centre (REC), you will find courses that help to empower you to find hope, to see and embrace opportunity through building skills and gain control by putting these skills into practice in your life.

    Please download the REC Prospectus .

    REC Autumn 18 Calendar .

    REC additional course info .

    Contact the Recovery Education Centre

    By Post:
    Recovery Education Centre
    Hahnemann House
    Hahnemann Road
    BH2 5JW

    Tel: 01202 584478
    Mobile: 07787 836708
    Email the REC

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    Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP) Biennial Report

    Biennial Report

    The Biennial Report and Executive Summary for the Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership have now been published. The documents cover the period 2012-2014 and details the achievements of the partnership between the Dorset Mental Health Forum and Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust in supporting people using local mental health services and their carers


    To read and/or download the documents plus for some more information on the WaRP  

    please click here

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    Hidden Talents – Valuing the Lived Experience of Staff Working within Dorset

    The Hidden Talents group was set up five years ago, in partnership with Dorset Mental Health Forum.

    As well as providing a support network for staff who have been through mental health problems or emotional distress, it aims to raise awareness and help create a more inclusive working environment where such experiences are seen as a positive.

    The Hidden Talents group is aiming to challenge attitudes and stigma further and to bring about better understanding of mental health problems, through the launch and publication of a new film and information booklet, featuring inspirational stories from people within Dorset HealthCare’s workforce.

    The booklet, which has a foreword by Dorset HealthCare’s Chief Executive Ron Shields, provides more personal testimony alongside contributions from directors and senior managers about the need for change.

    If you would like to join the Hidden Talents group or to be kept out to date with our work then please contact us at Hidden.Talents@dhuft.nhs.uk and a member of the team will contact you. We would also be happy to come along and talk to your team - just let us know when is convenient for you

    The Hidden Talents film can be seen at: The Dorset Healthcare YouTube channel.

    The Hidden Talents booklet can be downloaded here. Hidden Talents booklet

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    Understanding the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 2007)

    Finding yourself or someone close to you detained under the Mental Health Act, (or “sectioned”), can be a frightening and confusing experience and it can feel hard to get straight answers or information in plain English. Mind produce an excellent guide giving general information about the most commonly used sections, your rights and a glossary.

    If you have questions or concerns about your own personal circumstances, or those of someone close to you, or you want to appeal your section, one of the Forum's team of Independent Mental Health Act (IMHA) advocates can help you. Go to the Advocacy page for more details.

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    Dorset Mental Health Forum Information Leaflet

    Forum Information LeafletIf you or anyone you know has an interest in helping to shape services you can get involved by joining the Forum. Download the Forum Information Leaflet to find out more about what we do and how you can be a part of it.

    It explains who we are and the many pieces of work and projects that we undertake, including:

    • Consultation and Representation
    • Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP)
    • Dorset Mental Health Advocacy
    • Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
    • The Forum's Employment service
    • The REACH sports and social program
    • The Recovery Education Centre

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