Digging Yourself Out of a Hole: Gardening for Heart and Soul
issue 09 Inner space for women’sSummer/autumn 2010 mental health & wellbeing (across Surrey and the south east) Digging yourself out of a hole gardening for heart and soul No clean knickers – let alone a toothbrush the indignity of being sectioned Painting yourself into the picture art therapy creates self knowledge
No clean knickers –let alone a toothbrush Being aDmitteD to an acute “I had to ask for soap and stuff, and probably one of the swiftest ‘done psychiatric unit under section of the worse, sanitary wear – traipsing through deals’ I’ve ever known. In a matter of I went to a CPA (care plan) meeting – on my own, I didn’t mental Health act – especially for a ward full of men, going to the office, half an hour, the trust manager and I know I could have someone with me, and they told me I had the first time – can be a frightening requesting Tampax and going back had said we could joint fund a pilot! to go into hospital straight away. I felt alarmed and horrified. and traumatic experience; on top of through the ward clutching them – So began a partnership between a But they knew best I thought. I asked to go home and pack the traumatic experience of finding hardly dignified to say the least! patient, a charity and an NHS mental some things. They said no, I couldn’t do that. I said what yourself mentally unwell! and when Julia was able to transfer to a private health trust: ‘The Wellbeing & Dignity about if someone comes with me. No was the answer. So you arrive with nothing, just the clinic however, because of a health Partnership’ was born. they bundled me off to a secure psychiatric unit. I felt very clothes you stand up in, maybe insurance scheme.One major difference frightened and so alone. I was in total shock about being because you arrived in the back of stood out for Julia. When she went it gets better admitted, and to have nothing – no personal belongings – a police car, the entire experience to her room at the private clinic, it Funding was limited. What could made me feel even worse. It was three days before a relative can be an affront to your dignity and was like stepping into a hotel (with a be provided were ‘hotel style’ packs could bring anything in for me.” self worth. sanctuary’s editor, megan few exceptions!) and in the en-suite of essential toiletries – shampoo/ met a young woman who’s been bathroom was a beautiful box of toiletries conditioner/shower gel/dental kit Young woman at a Sanctuary women’s group4 there, done that, wouldn’t mind the from the White Company. Everything etc – with simple, caring messages of 5 t-shirt (on the ward as a change of she needed for a few days or so. Sadly, hope, for everyone admitted over a 6 clothes!) but also, passionately, wants the NHS ward just didn’t compare. Items month period onto the wards at the something else… might have been available but not in Department of Psychiatry in Epsom. individual packs for each patient. A few months down the way of I first met Julia after she contacted But it was how that simple gesture of organising this though, came some good me to say how much she had enjoyed fresh smelling toiletries made Julia feel news. Let’s Link has been awarded a reading Sanctuary. So much so that she that was the real eye-opener. Comic Relief grant. This will enable us was keen to get involved in some way. “To have something – slightly to produce leaving hospital information We met. In a very short space of time pampering – and extremely ‘normal’ had a packs to complement the toiletries packs. we had gabbled our way (constructive profound effect,” Julia told me “Suddenly Work is now underway to get the pilot gabble!) through a myriad of subjects I felt I was being treated with respect – my up and running as soon as possible. and issues linked to mental health sense of dignity was intact again. And I The beauty of this project is that it will and wellbeing and other things totally thought, ‘I wish everyone admitted to a include people in the community who unrelated. I soon discovered that Julia mental health ward could have this’.” have ‘been there / done that’ as well. is full of ideas. But not just ideas: Julia Clients of the Joseph Palmer Centre will has a real ambition. Two very different Cutting the long story… help assemble the packs. So people in experiences of being hospitalized The work of my organisation Let’s hospital will have the added benefit of in a private and an NHS acute unit Link, publishers of Sanctuary magazine, knowing the toiletries packs were put highlighted a real need in Julia’s mind. echoed what Julia was saying; together by fellow sufferers / survivors: a She thought everyone admitted to everything we do is about promoting message of hope in itself. NHS units should have the quality of dignity, privacy and respect for people For Julia and everyone concerned it is experience she had received in the who suffer mental distress. an exciting project based on a gesture private unit. She explained: Together, we felt the time was right of kindness, respect, privacy and dignity: “I had arrived at a psychiatric unit after to really see if we could get something the simple gift with the big heart. Julia’s being compulsorily detained under going. Julia, along with Occupational next ‘Big Idea’ is to build a retreat in the Section of the Mental Health Act. I had Therapist (OT) Bryonie from the Joseph Peak District – and possibly Italy: form nothing but the clothes I stood up in. Palmer Centre in Molesey, Surrey set an orderly queue everyone! I was feeling very low anyway, as you up a meeting with one of Surrey & can imagine; being without personal Borders Partnership NHS Foundation belongings or a change of clothes made Trust’s (SaBPFT) key managers and See the article starting on page 16 for another me feel a lot, lot worse. myself from Let’s Link. I think it was woman’s experience of being sectioned.
Sometimes it’s difficult to ground yourself. There is a way though, almost literally, by butterfly. ,’ said the participating in a little gardening. ‘Just livin g is n ot enough d a little flower.’ ine, freed om, an ndersen ave sunsh ans Christian A The Old Moat Horticultural Services in ‘On e must h H Epsom, Surrey helps people with mental health problems dig deep for recovery... Digging yourself All Ra hole my spa o Eme lp out f a hW hu de c rs rts al my an he n d gar al. Ga enta pre rde tiv den v nin e m o g i edi s a cin She kin e, g ryl d o oo , L f se d f on lf-p or a don res ll il cri ls. be d6 trou Y 7 bles ou can dig bur y Aut ging in a lot o hor the f run By riCHmonD feLLowsHip, administrative work are all available to train Unk dirt. now The Old Moat is a garden centre with a and become expert in. n difference. Many of the people who work For the visitor, the Old Moat provides a there suffer mental ill health. It is a haven for wonderful array of all the plants and flowers anyone needing some calm, thoughtful, safe you need: shrubs, ornamental trees, roses and supported occupation. Achieving the from David Austin are all there. Up to 80% sowing, growing and maintenance of plants of the plants are grown in The Old Moat’s and flowers is satisfying in itself. What it own nursery, reducing plant miles, with does for lifting the spirit, boosting self worth bedding plants grown in biodegradable and taking away some of the pain of mental pots, showing further consideration for the ill health is immeasurable. environment. You will find a wide variety But the Old Moat isn’t just about recovery of vegetable and fruit plants and trees in and restitution. It is a not for profit, but stock, and if you don’t fancy growing your nonetheless commercial enterprise and own, you can buy seasonal, freshly picked offers training in the real world of garden produce from The Old Moat shop. centre work and management. Contract gardening, park maintenance, conservation Find out more about the training The Old work, stock growing, propagation, Moat offers. It’s a kind of down to earth vegetable and fruit production, retailing and thing to do! Contact The Old Moat to enquire about referrals or you can visit the garden centre anytime. The Old Moat Garden Centre, Horton Lane, Epsom KT19 8PQ. T. 01372 731971 (office) or 01372 731970 (retail); email: email@example.com Visit the Richmond Fellowship website to learn more about our work http://www.richmondfellowship.org.uk
Getting itthe BME for right community8 Helping people from black and “The key issues that prevent engagement of black people with services and vice versa.” 9 minority ethnic backgrounds people from African/Caribbean communities – and from elsewhere such as Asian communities – accessing mental Social risk factors impede engagement with the right health and social care services as well. Poverty and homelessness (BME), particularly refugees, health services,” says Lorraine “are stigma, racism and lack of (many refugees seeking asylum for instance are living destitute to access mental health awareness and knowledge of mental ill health.” Whilst some of the issues reflect those experienced by a in the UK with no recourse to public funds); loneliness and isolation or contact with the criminal justice system all put services demands a special white community, such as stigma and even a lack of awareness people at risk. African Caribbean people for instance are more understanding of how mental around what happens to you when you receive mental health services, there is far less acceptance of the condition. Mental likely to be held under a section of the Mental Health Act. They are also over-represented in Special Hospitals, secure health is perceived in countries health simply doesn’t translate properly in other languages and attracts misconceptions of witchcraft and other negative institutions, medium secure units and prisons. For those who do get to see someone, there is hope and like Africa. Lorraine is a attitudes linked with tradition. Put simply, a mental health enlightenment. However, services don’t always get it right: community development worker problem translates as someone who has ‘lost it’. Mental illness is associated with shame and stigma and a fear of being there is evidence that BME patients are more likely to receive medication rather than be offered talking therapies. As who knows that building labelled, isolated or alienated by friends or family members. mentioned, compulsory admission to hospital is prevalent and relationships is the first step to In addition, it is seen as a sign of failure or something to be feared. And perhaps pertinently ‘madness’ is thought to be families and carers have difficulties accessing help. Lorraine and her colleagues believe the way forward is for supporting this community. She incurable, unlike our view that people can recover from mental ill health. It is not surprising then that language is the key better working relationships with faith leaders to promote inter-cultural understanding of race equality in mental health explained some of the issues to contributing factor to misdiagnosis. and better involvement of communities in the planning and Sanctuary... Lorraine also sees a circle of fear surrounding mental health. “If you combine the different layers of fear – fear of mental implementation of services from the outset. In this way people will begin to benefit in a very real way illness and fear of mental health services, you witness a vicious from being supported and cared for, and respected for their circle,” she explains “A circle that impacts negatively on the culture and race rather than misunderstood and abandoned. Contact the team: Lorraine yates – CDw, african/Caribbean, refugee & asylum seekers; 01483 459292, ext. 214 Charmaine Valler – CDw, gypsies & travellers; 01483 459292, ext. 235 kate Johnson – CDw, asian, Chinese & nepalese; 01483 459292, ext. 203
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