The following is extracted from letter by David Jones of Sutton Mental Health Foundation, sent on 21 August 2018
“I am very sorry to have to tell you that Alan Leader died yesterday in hospital.
Alan had been struggling against increasing ill health for a long time. He suffered complications from an operation last month but appeared to be getting somewhat better, so yesterday’s crisis was unexpected. Alan’s wife has been in touch with us to tell us the news but it is likely to be a little while before we hear any more. We will inform you of any funeral arrangements in due course should you so wish.
Alan had worked with us for nearly ten years. He came to us with extensive experience of working alongside and representing people with very severe mental health problems. In his first few months in particular he made a point of reaching out into the community, visiting care homes and community groups to make contact with people whose voices might not otherwise have been heard. His vision and drive led to the establishment of the Sutton 1in4 Network, which rapidly established itself as a focal point for people to work together on projects and activities of their own choosing. He worked with people using services to set up the Commissioning Advisory Group, which meets commissioners regularly to discuss the commissioning and performance of mental health services and he ran training to equip people to play their part effectively in these discussions. He built strong relations with the regular users of Sutton Mental Health Foundation’s “Connect” service, encouraging them to re-engage with social activities such as football matches, and established and supported Circles of Support meeting in community venues. At its height, the Sutton Wellbeing Network engaged people from nearly thirty community groups in Sutton doing “what we can, when we can” with resources contributed by its partner members.
Alongside these local activities, Alan found time to engage in a wide range of activities on a broader stage. He worked with people who use the services of the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, contributing to the development of the Trust’s Council and encouraging people to become members of its Council. He was involved in several Trust projects, both as an individual and with 1in4, including work on Care Plans, Making Safeguarding Personal and policies on physical restraint. In the course of these activities he made many friends and contacts and built on his previous work in other places.
Alan will be gravely missed, both for himself and for his important and imaginative work. As an organisation, we shall need a period of reflection to decide how best to build on his legacy, whilst continuing to support what is currently in place. In the meantime, we have very much in mind the people who will miss Alan, especially his wife, Kaz, and their wider family. We are not in a position to share contact information but we would be pleased to pass on messages of condolence if sent to us at [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] or by post.“
Thrive LDN is a citywide movement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners. It is supported by the Mayor of London and led by the London Health Board partners.
Two million Londoners experience some form of poor mental health every year and Londoners’ life satisfaction and feelings of self-worth are lower than the national average. Thrive LDN was established in response to this, with the aim of reducing the number of Londoners affected by poor mental health.
Right to Thrive is a research project to help better understand how discrimination – based on things like background, beliefs and identity – affects a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
By sharing experiences in a safe and confidential way, it is hoped that together people can begin to address mental health unfairness in London.
Serenity Integrated Mentoring is an approach for professionals to support the very small number of people in every community struggling with complex mental health disorders who are handled by emergency services often, whilst making limited progress towards recovery. It involves pairing staff from a police background with mental health clinical staff to go and meet with someone regularly over a long period of time, at times when they are not in immediate crisis.
It does not replace emergency interventions such as street triage, or take over from the normal mental health care and social services available, but may help to improve someone’s willingness and ability to engage with the services that can help them.
Approaching those who have frequent crises with high risk behaviour and offering combined psychological and behavioural support has shown in pilots to drastically reduce the need for admission or emergency intervention under Section 136 of the mental health act, and often leads to better outcomes for the individuals involved in areas such as employment and relationships.
The NHS plan to introduce the SIM model of care across London, and although it will only initially affect a small number of service users, mainly those with Personality Disorder and high intensity needs, it is thought it will offer a more effective use of resources, and over time can be applied more broadly. To start with SW London St Georges Trust are beginning to implement SIM in Richmond and Kingston, with other boroughs to follow suit over the next few years.
A member of Sutton 1 in 4 Network was involved as a service user representative in SW London and St Georges Trust planning process in March and April, at both the Trust HQ and at the SIM Training in Westminster. The Trust gave a presentation to a wider Audience at a venue in Wimbledon in July.
Generally, this was well received, although there were questions about why other services were failing to help the intended recipients of SIM, and being so narrowly focussed whether this would have any impact on the majority of service users. Some who attended were curious about how diversity was going to be taken into account when this is implemented in different London Boroughs.