It’s been a while!

Well, it seems ages since we last wrote anything new for our site, or indeed, had any practical results, after what seemed a blistering start to Hope and its aims.
But I think that, with all we’ve had on our collective plate over the last year and a half, it’s no great surprise really!
As you may know, Hope garnered many fans and followers, illustrated by my frantic networking via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and many other forms of communication.
But because the reasons that mental health issues have come to the fore, austerity, poverty, a lack of empathy in society at large when it comes to mental health issues, we kind of got lost in the political side of things – it is inextricably tied in of course – but we lost the basic ethos of the original idea, or at least buried it under a mass of disparate good intentions.
I then went to Dial House, a user led and run crisis centre, here in Leeds, to meet with Fiona, the CEO. She reminded me of the original idea, the “preventative medicine” principle, which is THE pivotal aspect, the hub on which hope turns – the creation of a safe space within communities that it, providing solutions to problems before they become crises, thus taking the pressure off not just the NHS services, but also Adult Social Care, which has its budget currently under siege here in Leeds.
Equally vital, to take the pressure off user led and run initiatives like Dial House, where the demand for their services for those in crisis has risen exponentially, to the point where they have to turn people away – a nightmare scenario for both the person in crisis, and for the service that has to refuse them the help they desparately need.
Fiona reminded me that Hope in its purest form, is the service that could reduce dramatically the number of people in crisis, by providing the solutions to the issues a person may have, in a human and friendly way, thus taking the crisis out of the equation by either practical help, or signposting to the relevant source of the solution.
In the meantime, due to Sheryl recovering so well since her last crisis in August last year, and the need to network slowing slightly, I fell quite ill, exhausted, due to the combination of an intense period of caring for someone who’d been in crisis over such a sustained period of time, trying to transfer Hope from being just an idea, to something tangible, a practical and real service.
I applied for funding, but was refused, mainly due to the lack of track record. This had the effect of knocking the last of my air from me, and since then, I’ve been trying to pick myself back up, to try to regain that momentum that I worked so hard on in the first place.
I’ve applied to several centres, to see if I can get Hope days there once or twice a week – this way, I’d have quantifiable results to show potential funders, showing that it’s vital to have such a service in place, as most help doesn’t appear until someone’s actually already in crisis, and the following actions from there then become more expensive, and it’s management via meds, as opposed to actually dealing with the incidents/events that caused the crisis in the first place, which, apart from helping the persons issue a lot sooner, preventing the crisis, means that Adult Social Care, and the NHS Mental Health Services also save much needed money too, and ease the already heavy burden on those who work in Mental Health Units, Community Care, etc.
I’ve also been accepted onto the MHFA Instructors course, due to start in June – so I’d be an accredited Mental Health First Aid instructor, able to skill up my own volunteers, so no need to outsource that training, as well as hopefully be paid to do courses for places of work, which would help me financially sustain both myself, and of course Hope.
Before that, there’s getting my steering group together, and I’ve been so lucky there – three of the major mental health services players on the peer led side have offered to be the commitee, which blows me away. I now feel that we’re in a position to find the best direction in which to move forward with Hope, and provide that much needed source of help to those that need it most.
More to follow – and I promise, it won’t be left so long next time!

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