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Do you believe all mental health facilities should be non-smoking?
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Mental Health North East

Mental Health North East (MHNE)

The following article is taken (with kind permission) from Issue 52 of Reality News, the newsletter of the Sunderland based Patients Circle. It is reproduced here because the SURF group decided to join MHNE as part of our mandate to be involved in issues and with groups beyond our local area. Lyn Boyd the consortium co-ordinator was a very welcome guest at the group’s May meeting.

Hi, my name is Lyn Boyd and I’m the new worker for Mental Health North East. My previous jobs included being manager of Cowgate Citizens Advice Bureau; Priority Area Team Leader, Sandyford Ward, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Deputy Director of Durham Rural Community Council and a co-ordinator for Durham City Council working in the 12 ex coalfield communities.

My interest in mental health has greatly increased in recent years following my youngest daughter’s diagnosis of manic depression. My daughter and myself became involved in user-carer groups and were founder members of ‘Mental Awareness Positive Solutions’ otherwise known as MAPS which was a service user group of young people and their supporters who want to improve mental health services in the Derwentside area of Durham County.

Since starting my new job there have been many questions about Mental Health North East and the following is an attempt to answer the most frequently asked ones.

Mental Health North East was formed by a steering group of voluntary and community organisations (including service user groups, mental health consortium, mental health service providers and Voluntary Organisations Network North east (VONNE)) in response to the various planned changes in health and social care as well as the Government’s agenda for increased voluntary sector involvement in the provision of mental health services.

It was considered that the consortium needed to cover the North East region in order to:-
1. Link into the main strategic fund holders.
2. Enable regional input into relevant national policy.
3. Investigate economies of scale by mental health voluntary and community groups working together.
4. Liaise with statutory, regional mental health bodies such as city, county and district mental health voluntary sector networks and help them liaise with relevant organisations in their areas.
5. Improve communications via ICT throughout the region.

It is estimated that 200+ voluntary and community sector mental health delivery organisations of various sizes are operating within the North East. In 2004, a feasibility study was undertaken to determine the needs and benefits of establishing a regional mental health voluntary sector network or consortium. This consortium has now established and constituted as a company limited by guarantee.

Two successful bids for funding were submitted by Mental Health Care on behalf of the consortium. Northern Rock have provided three years funding which has allowed MHNE to employ worker, Lyn Boyd, employed by and based at Mental Health Care, Sunderland. Change Up has granted monies to fund a web site and portal which will facilitate access to information, training, policy forum, and generally improve communications between voluntary and community sector groups.

A programme of training events are currently planned to commence in January 2006 covering issues such as contracting for services, social inclusion issues and how Government policies and agendas could affect mental health voluntary and community sector organisations.

If you have any comments or would like more information on MHNE please contact:-

Lyn Boyd
Consortium Co-ordinator
Unit 3
Defender Court
Sunderland Enterprise Park

0191 5496500

Mental Health Care; the organisation with which Lyn is based describes itself as, “We are a forward thinking registered charity working with people in 24-hour residential and nursing accommodation, day care settings and social enterprise. Our aim is to ensure that the people who use our services are assisted to lead the fullest lives possible within their community and are supported in the achievement of their aspirations. We are a growing organisation where quality of service to the people we support is paramount.”(Mental Health Care website)

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