Monthly Archives: September 2013

Andrew Grundy ~ Mental Health Research Network event

The Mental Health Research Network is hosting a special event for World Mental Health Day as part of Nottingham Mental Health Awareness Weeks ( to enthuse and inform people with lived experience of mental-health problems, carers and supporters about opportunities for meaningful involvement in mental-health research. The event will include presentations by service-users in research and people championing user/carer collaboration in research. 

Date: 10th October 2013

Time: 13:30 (refreshments) for 14:00-15:30 (event)

Location: Seminar Room A07, The Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, NG7 2TU.

Spaces are limited, so please book a place via / (0115) 82 31302                         .

Programme outline:

13:30                    Doors open (refreshments/displays)

14:00                    Involvement… making a difference!

Karen Medd (Event Chair; service-user research champion)

Celebrating some of the achievements of Patient & Public Involvement

14:10                     “Nothing about me, without me!”

 Using lived experience at any level, or any stage of mental-health research

Andrew Grundy (EQUIP Researcher/Research Associate/service-user)

An interactive workshop exploring different involvement opportunities at various stages of the research process.

14:50                     Training for Involvement (Video presentation)

                                EQUIP Service-User & Carer Advisory Group members

15:00                     PPI Forum: supporting members, supporting research

Andrea Duncan (MHRN PPI Co-ordinator); Craig Beecroft (MHRN Clinical Studies Officer); Jonathan (MHRN PPI Forum member)

Information about the work of the MHRN PPI Forum and how to get involved

15:20                     Just ask 3 Questions to your Doctor to get you involved

                                Prof. Patrick Callaghan (Head of School of Health Sciences; EQUIP Lead, Nottingham)

                                Presenting a new resource to encourage greater involvement in research

15:30                     Close

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Technological Innovations in Mental Healthcare: apps, digital technologies & e-mental health

The event ‘Technological Innovations in Mental Healthcare: apps, digital technologies & e-mental health’ is being held on Monday 11th November 2013 at the Royal College of Physicians, London. It has attracted a wide range of speakers including: 

  • Dr Geraldine Strathdee – National Clinical Director of Mental Health, NHS England
  • Dr Louise Wood – Deputy Director/Head of NHS Research Infrastructure and Growth, Department of Health
  • Professor Chris Hollis – Clinical Director, NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-Operative
  • Rebecca Cotton – Deputy Director, NHS Confederation Mental Health Network
  • Professor Simon Lovestone – Director of Research, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health, SLAM & Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London
  • Professor Shôn Lewis – Director, Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester
  • Sue Dunkerton – Co-Director, HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)

There will be demonstrations of apps to support Mental Healthcare, plus a great opportunity to network over lunch and breaks.

Our “early bird” booking offer is open until 30th September 2013.

Further information on MindTech and the conference can be found via the website:

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Podcast ~ The Psychiatrists’ Bible ~ DSMV ~ Professor David Kupfer

On the 25th of September 2013 the BioMedCentral update included a podcast from Prof. Kupfer regarding the new DSM.

“The recent publication of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) marks the end of a 20 year period of revision. We talk with the Chair of the DSM-5 task force, Professor David Kupfer, about the implications of the resulting changes in diagnosing and classifying mental disorders in the USA”.

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Professor Tom Dening ~ Inaugural Lecture, 10 October 2013

The post below, written by Tom Dening, Professor of Dementia Research with the Institute of Mental Health,  has been invited to deliver an Inaugural Lecture for the University of Nottingham. The lecture will take place at the University’s A30 lecture theatre in the Arts Centre from 6pm on Thursday 10 October.

Inaugural Lecture

It is one of the expectations of a new Professor that he or she will deliver an inaugural lecture. The aim is to show off what you know but also to gather a broad audience and offer some entertainment too. This requires presumably some witty slides, the odd joke, and a clear narrative to set out your agenda for future research.

I think that’s where the auguries come in, i.e. as pointers to the future. I managed to lie low for a few months before eventually I was rounded up by the Vice Chancellor’s office and reminded of this serious obligation to scholarship and public education. Seized, as ever when faced with prospect of a speaking engagement, I managed to procrastinate for a while longer before bowing to the inevitable and agreeing to give it.

Several big issues immediately cropped up. One, the date. Two, the venue. Third, a snappy title is almost mandatory. Anyhow, the two problems were solved by the exhibition Art and the Asylum, which is currently running in the University’s Djanogly Art Gallery until early November, curated by my colleague Victoria Tischler. I warmly recommend this exhibition to anyone, by the way. We also worked out that the World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Day falls on 10th October and this year the theme is Older People. Voila, there we have a date and a venue all in one.

The title was more of a challenge, but I knew that I would be talking about dementia and I conceive of the thing as telling a story, some of it personal and some of it about research in dementia and where that is taking us at the moment. So the subtext would be A Journey in Dementia or something like that. The catchy bit was harder but, for various reasons, I have settled on Mrs Finch and the Fishbowl as being the limits of the journey. Mrs Finch I am keeping under wraps so to speak but the Fishbowl is an interactive website designed to showcase dementia research in Nottingham. It uses a particular methodology, featuring fish (who write blogs), experts (who comment on the blogs), and the public (who can comment on any part of it). We also plan to launch the Fishbowl at the inaugural lecture.

In the last few days, we have ben deciding which of the Asylum Art exhibits we wish to use for the posters, invites and programmes. I went for an abstract dinosaur image rather than a Louis Wain cat. I thought that if we added a cat to finches and fishbowls, the metaphors would become overwhelming. Anyway, personally, I don’t like cats much.

All (?) that remains is to write the lecture. I have already been in touch with a blogger in South Devon to use one her excellent photographs of seagulls, so you can see that the key ideas are fermenting in there somewhere. I think I know what I want to say but we’ll have to see how it turns out. You’re welcome to attend, just email if you need further information and you will need to register as numbers are limited.

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Upcoming Event ~ TCTC Research Seminar, 26 September 2013

The Consortium of Therapeutic Communities Research & Development Group is hosting a research afternoon focusing on therapeutic communities (TC) and enabling environments (EE).  Come and hear about ongoing and recently completed research, discuss ideas, contribute suggestions.  The afternoon is free and open to all with an interest in TC and EE research.

Date: 26 September 2013

Time: 12:30pm (lunch and refreshment) for 1-4pm

Location: Community of Communities offices at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London

Confirmed presenters include:

Robin Johnson and Peter Cockersell

Robin Johnson and Peter Cockersell will outline recent progress in the application of Enabling Environments thinking in UK homelessness resettlement services ( hostels, refuges, night shelters, foyers) – where it goes by the name of “Psychologically Informed Environments” (note that, by contrast to parallel developments in Criminal Justice, the “planned” in a “PIPE” is dropped, in order to accentuate continuous evolution.)

Official guidance recommending adoption of the PIE approach specifically commends “evidence-generating practice”; yet the stress in PIEs on reflective practice already begins to echo earlier debates in the TC movement over highly specified definitions of the TC, versus encouragement of a less teleological “culture of inquiry”.

Elizabeth Bickford-Smith and Megan Wingfield

Elizabeth Bickford-Smith will present on her recently published paper in the Mental Health Review Journal about evaluating the usefulness of the step-down group run for members who have completed 18 months at Winterbourne House, Reading.  In conjunction with Elizabeth, Megan Wingfield will discuss a paper the support system at Winterbourne House.

Zoneera Akther

Zoneera Akther will be presenting her MSc thesis findings from the only prison-based DTC for female offenders.  Her thesis title is: An Exploratory Study of the Effectiveness of a Democratic Therapeutic Community for Female Offenders.

Jenelle Clarke

Jenelle Clarke will present an ongoing doctoral research project that explores everyday social encounters within TCs as an opportunity for social learning and the potential to experience positive change. The study adopts ritual theory as first suggested by Mead, Durkheim and Goffman, to address how, and to what extent, individuals use social interactions to facilitate self-transformation. These everyday interaction rituals are where social norms, social capital and power dynamics between clients and staff members are both explained and lived out.  The research utilises narrative ethnography involving participant observation of two therapeutic communities coupled with in-depth narrative interviews.

Nick Manning will provide concluding comments and discussion.

If you would like more information or to book a slot, please email

TCTC logo

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A continued focus on prevention, early intervention and recovery – Andy Bell – Centre for Mental Health

A re-post from the Centre for Mental Health’s online blog, authored by Andy Bell, re. this week’s Panorama programme on the use of police custody in mental health emergencies, the Bradley Report, L&D services, prevention, etc.

This week’s Panorama on the use of police custody in mental health emergencies painted a disturbing and distressing picture. It provided a graphic reminder of the risks of using police stations as “places of safety” under the Mental Health Act while illustrating the dilemmas police officers and mental health services face in being able to respond to the needs of people in a crisis.

During the programme, care services minister Norman Lamb described the picture it presented as a “national scandal” and it is hard to disagree. Despite the best efforts of both the police and mental health services, it is clear that, as a nation, our ability to respond to urgent care needs is inadequate.

Much effort is already being put into trying to resolve this situation. Spurred by previous reports of shortcomings in the system, the Home Office and Department of Health have already made clear their determination to see the NHS and police put better systems in place and to try out new approaches like street triage.

Separately, NHS England is now carrying out its own review of urgent care and the Department of Health is investing extra funding in A&E services. It is not, however, clear if these developments will be joined up and include the whole system of mental health crisis care. Yet this must now be regarded as a litmus test for parity between physical and mental health care.

While Panorama made clear that there are no easy solutions to the problems it laid bare, it was also plain to see that continued under-investment in mental health care is making it harder for anyone to improve the situation.

We also know some of the ways in which we could begin to do better. Completing the job of making a liaison and diversion service available, 24/7, to every police station in England is crucial. Recommended in the Bradley Report and committed to by the government, liaison and diversion can no longer be seen as an optional extra but a core role of all mental health services. Timely access to crisis resolution and home treatment services, appropriate places of safety and of course hospital places (or alternatives to admission) for adults and children are also key to building a whole system of mental health crisis care.

In general hospitals, meanwhile, there is growing evidence about the importance and the benefits of investing in liaison psychiatry services, again available 24/7, for people of all ages to ensure that those who seek help through A&E get effective mental health support alongside any physical health care they require.

Responding quickly, humanely and effectively to crises is fundamental to the mission of the NHS, and indeed of the police. Nobody can ignore the need to offer better care to people experiencing a mental health crisis: and not just the police and mental health services but general practice, ambulance services and A&E all need to be ready to respond.

Looking more broadly, while not all crises can be averted we need to keep focusing on prevention, early intervention and recovery: to ensure we are doing all we can to stop crises from happening at all and enable people with mental health problems to live without the fear that if they become unwell they will have nowhere safe to turn.

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Dementia play video on YouTube

IMH Newsletter August 2013

The University of Nottingham has uploaded an edited film of the Inside Out of Mind play, recently staged at the Lakeside Arts Centre, onto its YouTube channel. The film can be seen at on the YouTube channel ‘NottmUniversity’.

 Inside Out of Mind played to capacity audiences during its run at Lakeside during 14-29 June 2013. The play is based on field notes collected by three health care assistants while working on an acute NHS dementia ward. The production was the brain child of Justine Schneider, Professor of Mental Health and Social Care within the Institute of Mental Health. It forms part of an official research project which Professor Schneider was commissioned to carry out for the Department of Health.  The video shows how the play has been used to raise awareness of dementia care and educate professionals involved in dementia care.

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Schizophrenia symptoms: linked to faulty ‘switch’ in brain

IMH Newsletter August 2013

Scientists from the Institute of Mental Health have shown that psychotic symptoms experienced by people with schizophrenia could be caused by a faulty ‘switch’ within the brain. In a study published in the leading journal Neuron, they have demonstrated that the severity of symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations which are typical in patients with the psychiatric disorder is caused by a disconnection between two important regions in the brain — the insula and the lateral frontal cortex. 

The breakthrough, say the academics, could form the basis for better, more targeted treatments for schizophrenia with fewer side effects. The four-year study, led by Professor Peter Liddle and Dr Lena Palaniyappan, centred on the insula region, a segregated ‘island’ buried deep within the brain, which is responsible for seamless switching between inner and outer world.

Dr Lena Palaniyappan said: “In our daily life, we constantly switch between our inner, private world and the outer, objective world. This switching action is enabled by the connections between the insula and frontal cortex. This switch process appears to be disrupted in patients with schizophrenia. This could explain why internal thoughts sometime appear as external objective reality, experienced as voices or hallucinations in this condition.”

Visit the University of Nottingham website at for more information.

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