SWAN supporters will already be familiar with the SWAN endorsed Mental Health Charter which was launched in 2014. The Charter critiques the crisis in mental health services in the context of austerity and calls for an end to the cuts while proposing radical alternatives. Recently the Mental Health Charter responded to the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Independent Commission into the state of Inpatient Adult Psychiatric Care as part of its call for evidence.
Jeremy Weinstein of SWAN London reports from the recent 'Crisis in Mental Health' meeting on 8th November. The day was a packed and enthusiastic affair, following on from similar conferences in Bristol and Oxford. The hall we met in was packed and a second room had stalls from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), CoolTan Arts, Unison and a Bookmarks bookstall. Amongst the audience were practitioners from nine London boroughs and a range of service user groups, the most prominent being DPAC, several MIND groups and the Movement for an Adoption Apology.
Nick Clegg pronounced, in his speech to the LibDem conference, that there was ‘outrageous discrimination’ in how the NHS responded to individuals with mental health problems and promised new funding to breach the gap between physical and psychological treatments. According to the Guardian (8.10.14) ‘mental health campaigners’ welcomed this as ‘a significant advance’.
At a recent SWAN London meeting (10th September 2014), group member and social work educator, Tom Henri, presented the findings of recent research into food bank use in London Borough of Lewisham. This is a synopsis of the qualitative research: