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.

Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

Have your say about the use of the Mental Health Act 1983. This is an important opportunity to influence future legislation in relation to the care and treatment of people experiencing acute mental distress.

The Government has set up a review to look at how the Mental Health Act 1983 is used and how practice can be improved. The purpose of the review is to understand the reasons for:

- Rising rates of detention under the Act.

- The disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under the Act.

- Processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system.

The review will seek the views of service users, carers, relevant professionals, and affected organisations in producing recommendations. It will produce a report with recommendations for change in autumn 2018.

For more details and the opportunity to ensure your views are heard please click this link. The deadline for completing the survey is 28th February 2018

Peer Worker Opportunities at The Retreat

The Retreat is an exciting and innovative approach, delivered in partnership to support people experiencing mental health crisis.

Based at Hahnemann House, Bournemouth, The Retreat will offer an open access service for people in crisis and distress. The purpose is to provide a space for people to be listened to, connect with others, access peer support and brief interventions.

This has been developed as part of the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group Acute Care Pathway Review.

The Retreat will be opening in April 2018, and will available for people to access between the hours of 4:00pm - midnight on Monday to Thursday and 6:00pm—2:00am on Friday to Sunday.

The Bournemouth Retreat will firstly run for one year before we then also establish a further Retreat in Dorchester and a Connection crisis support phone line (for which there will be separate recruitment). The reason Bournemouth is opening first is to learn from how it works before setting up the Dorchester team.

The staff team will be a multi-disciplinary team jointly managed and supported by Dorset Mental Health Forum and Dorset Healthcare and we are looking to recruit senior peer specialists and Peer Workers.

Senior peers are peers who have experience of intentionally using their lived experience in a variety of settings. In addition they have robust mentoring and recovery coaching skills that enable them to support others to share their experiences and manage their wellbeing. Peer specialists are representative not just of their own experiences but a broad range of people who access mental health services.

We are also looking to recruit peer workers who have lived experience of mental health problems but have perhaps have not used this directly before.

We encourage applications from across healthcare settings and the wider community. The role will involve getting alongside people in distress and supporting them to identify strengths and resources that may support their Recovery.

This role will report to both the Dorset Mental Health Forum and Dorset HealthCare. The role will work regular shifts in the Retreat and we will consider variable shift patterns. The post holder will need to start in post in March 2018 to help support the set up arrangements for the Retreat to open in April 2018.

Please take a chance to peruse the job description below, download the application form and once completed please email to recruitment@dorsetmentalhealthforum.org.uk clearly stating Retreat application in the email header. Closing date will be the end of February

Peer Application Form 2018 .

Forum Retreat Peer Specialist job description.pdf .

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Suicide Prevention Month

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, part of the wider Suicide Prevention Month organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK and ROI, 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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    The Forum's REACH group triumph in mental health football tournament

    Players who regularly attend our community football sessions run with AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust were offered the opportunity to play in a tournament hosted by Albion in the Community, at Brighton and Hove Albion FC earlier this month.

    The day saw teams from across the region who provide a platform for people experiencing mental health difficulties to play football, come together to play in a competitive tournament. The AFCB/Forum team led by team captain and REACH coordinator Steve Pender battled their way into the final beating some good teams on the way including local favourites Brighton.

    The final was watched by all who had attended the day and was a tense affair, ending in a 0-0 draw taking the match to penalties. A couple of successful penalties and great saves by Rhys Robert saw the team finish the day on a real high by winning the tournament.

    The whole day was a great experience for the players and we'd like to thank Albion in the Community for a fantastic day and our partners at AFCB for continuing to help deliver a fantastic project.

    If you would like to know more about our REACH social and sports activities in the county or would like to take part please click on the link at the left of this homepage.

    The REACH winning team

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    The Recovery Education Centre 2016/17 Prospectus and Spring 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 2016/17 .

    REC Spring 18 Calendar .

    REC Spring 18 Timetable .

    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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    Changes to the NHS in Dorset - Clinical Services Review

    The NHS in Dorset needs to change. Dorset CCG have developed a vision for how health care in Dorset could be changed and improve. Have a look at the animated film below to find out why the NHS in Dorset needs to change:

    Please click here to go to the film.

    A three-month public consultation on changes proposed in Dorset’s Clinical Services Review (CSR) started on 1st December 2016 and will run until 28th February 2017.Local residents are encouraged to take part in the 12-week public consultation to give their views about proposals that could see major changes to acute hospital and community care services across Dorset.

    The Clinical Services Review was launched in 2014 in response to major challenges which health and care face both in Dorset and across the rest of the country. These include:

    • a growing population with more people living longer.

    • an increasing demand on services.

    • workforce shortages that will be difficult to fill.

    • variations in the quality of care.

    • a potential funding gap of at least £158m per year by 2020.

    The CCG say that making the changes proposed in the CSR would mean high quality services would continue in Dorset for the future and more lives could be saved.

    During this important consultation, people will be asked for their views on proposals which have been developed by local doctors and health professionals, and representative groups of patients and the public. These include changes to the larger hospitals in the county and bringing more care closer to home through the development of community services including new hubs.

    Over the coming weeks there will be lots of opportunities to get involved and have a say about your NHS, with events being planned, thousands of consultation documents being available at venues throughout the county – including GP practices and hospitals – and the opportunity to complete the questionnaire online.

    Further information and resources can be found at The Dorset CSR website.

    Alongside the CSR consultation, Dorset CCG is expected to launch the Acute Mental Health Services Review consultation in January 2017 which will run for 8 weeks. Further information will be available here and on the CCG’s Dorset Vision website when it becomes available in January 2017.

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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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    Open Minds Dorset

    Do you have personal experience of hearing voices and would you be interested in joining a planning group to set up Hearing Voices Groups in Bridport & Dorchester?

    For more details please click here. Open Minds flyer

    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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    Mindful Employer Initiative

    The Forum supports the Mindful Employer Initiative - we are a signatory to the voluntary charter for employers who are positive about mental health. For further information, please visit the Mindful Employer website.

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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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    Welfare Reform Guide

    This Welfare Reform Guide is a very basic outline of some of the recent benefit changes and how they may affect people; it isn't intended to be used to calculate specific eligibility, but to help you understand the principles.

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    Nutrients Table for Improved Mental Health

    Please download this extremely useful Nutrients Table for Improved Mental Health developed by the Mental Health Foundation. It provides details of which nutrients may be lacking in your diet and suggests foods and vitamins that can improve your condition, aid recovery and maintain good mental health and wellbeing.

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    Supporting Staff Recovery & Hidden Talents

    The Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP) has published a collection of papers called Supporting the Recovery Journeys of Staff.

    The Wellbeing@work tool provides a simple supportive way to enhance work based conversations that focus on an individual's wellbeing. The Sharing of Lived Experience document looks at how all staff can use their own lived experience of trauma and life to create a recovery focused workforce and culture. The Lived Experience Survey highlights how commonplace and normal mental health problems are and the importance of seizing this opportunity to celebrate and utilise all lived experience and expertise.


    Hidden Talents is about NHS workers who have personal lived experience of mental health problems. It is a part of the Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership which is a collaboration between Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust and the Forum.

    Download the Hidden Talents booklet for more details.

    The three aims of this booklet are:

    1. tackle stigma of mental health problems through the use of recovery narratives and creative expression
    2. to take the opportunity to learn from the lived experience of staff and provide some initial guidance about how to effectively support people with their emotional wellbeing
    3. to improve the experience for everyone accessing and working within the service, by creating a discussion centred around how best to support people, underpinned by the recovery approach

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    'No Decision About Us Without Us'

    'No Decision About Us Without Us' document coverIn essence, this document describes why, how and the many ways that the general public can get involved in the shaping of local health and care services. It's very comprehensive and describes simply and accessibly many of the new bodies and groups that now exist around local service commissioning and provision.

    Please download the 'No Decision About Us Without Us' document to inform yourself of the changes to health services and see how you can get involved in shaping these services, now and in the future.

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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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