Conference 2019 – Poverty, Pathology and Pills
Day 1 – Session 4

Reconceptualising responses to mental health

Day 1 - Session 4

Questioning diagnosis and standard treatment approaches

Joanna Moncrieff, University College London

This talk will explore the nature of diagnosis and how this is linked to current treatment approaches. Alternative ways of understanding mental health problems will be presented, and the implications for the use of drug treatment and other forms of therapy will be explored.

Exploring the impact of social prescribing on health and wellbeing

Bethan Griffith, University of Newcastle

Social prescribing is an increasingly popular narrative in primary care. It allows health care professionals to refer patients to a Link worker who works with them to tackle non-clinical or social factors that are impacting their health. It has a range of proposed aims and objectives including a reduction in system level pressures, such a GP consultation rates, improving personalised care and tackling health inequalities. Social prescribing is endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Department of Health and NHS England. Despite this, providing evidence that it works is challenging and many argue that future research needs to focus more on process than proof in an attempt to understand what type of interventions work best and for who. This includes exploring engagement and sustainability.

Ways to Wellness (WtW) is a large-scale social prescribing initiative operating in a socioeconomically deprived area of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is funded for seven years and provides an un-paralleled opportunity for understanding social prescribing. Early data suggests its impact extends beyond those individuals referred to families and communities. However, there are considerable variations in GP referral practices and individual level engagement.

Using ethnographic methods I am collaborating with WtW and local primary care to understand how knowledge about social prescribing is created locally, what factors influence referral and engagement practices and how concepts of success and failure are constructed in relation to social prescribing.

Community-led social prescribing: ‘real life’ stories from Thanet

Kay Byatt, Community Project Worker,
Simone Crouchman and Lola Christopher, SpeakUp CIC

SpeakUpCIC is an independent mental health support organisation supporting people with long term mental health illness from the age of 18 upwards living within South East Kent. Based in and providing support across Thanet – nationally rated as one of the most deprived localities within the UK – we also cover Ashford, Dover, Deal and Sandwich. We provide a wide variety of peer-led support groups and activities and service user forums where people can voice their concerns, experiences and issues so they can be taken forward to the necessary mental health providers. All members of our dedicated team are ‘experts by experience’ and everyone who accesses our services becomes a member of SpeakUpCIC as opposed to a service user.

Our talk will feature a ‘real life’ Case Study outlining the Thanet Working Group (TWG) – a group of SpeakUpCIC members who volunteer their time to work collectively to create positive initiatives to help address gaps in local mental health service provision. We will evidence the positive impact experienced by service users when they are empowered and involved in creating projects that help other people within their communities. Our talk will highlight some of the initiatives and include a personal account of how being involved and leading projects helps people to manage their mental health better and improve their personal wellbeing.

Communities in control: why community empowerment matters

Jennie Popay, University of Lancaster