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.

A new Forum website on the way

Forum Logo

We have been wanting to redesign and modernise the Forum website for some time now, to give it a fresher more intuitive feel. As you can see from the image on the right, this process also includes a rebrand along with a fresh new Forum logo!

There is a lot of information on the current site and it's important to us that we work with you to ensure that we do not lose the content that brings you here in the first place. For that reason, as we are developing our new site, we would really welcome your feedback on our current website - what you like or dislike, what is helpful, what is not, what you would like to see on the new website and so on (content or design).

Your feedback would be very much appreciated..... please contact us here. We would be delighted to hear from you.

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Dorset HealthCare is looking for Mental Health Act managers.

MHA ManagersDetaining people under the Mental Health Act is a big responsibility and Dorset HealthCare needs empathetic, hardworking local people to ensure they only do this in the appropriate cases. Mental Health Act Panels are made up of independent people who review whether the trust has the authority to continue to detain a patient under the Act.

Dorset HealthCare is looking for people from a range of backgrounds to take on the important voluntary role of Mental Health Act managers. They’ll consider verbal and written evidence from doctors, nurses, social workers and others and make a decision with two other panel members on whether to continue a person’s detention or to discharge them.

DHC Non-Executive Director Sarah Murray, who serves as a MHA manager, said: “This is a hugely important and satisfying role which gives me real insight into mental health care in Dorset. We need more people with a range of experience and perspectives to ensure the panels carry out their duties effectively.”

Mental Health Act managers need sound English skills and the ability to read complex reports as well as the robustness to deal with evidence that can sometimes be distressing.

Dorset HealthCare welcomes applications from people who can give three to five days a month, have a clean driving licence and access to a vehicle as county-wide travel is involved. They would like to hear from people of different ages, social and ethnic backgrounds to provide greater diversity on the panels.

There is full training and a payment of £70 per half day worked plus mileage payments.

For an informal chat about the role please call Karen Crellin, Mental Health Legislation Manager, on k.crellin@nhs.net, 01202 492035. You can also apply on the Dorset HealthCare NHS job pages.

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The Recovery Education Centre Prospectus and Autumn 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 Spring 2019 Calendar .

REC additional course info .

Contact the Recovery Education Centre

By Post:
Recovery Education Centre
Hahnemann House
Hahnemann Road

Tel: 01202 584478
Mobile: 07787 836708
Email the REC

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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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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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    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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    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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