“Psychosis affects about 3% of people in the UK, and the onset of illness is commonly experienced by young people. Psychosis is no longer thought of as a life-long illness, but it is often life-changing. The first few years of psychosis are a critical period. The earlier that treatment starts, the better the long term outcome.
The Early Intervention in Psychosis Service is a Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust team that provides up to 3 years support to young people who have experienced a first episode psychosis. Here is one young person’s account:
I have recently been discharged from the Brighton & Hove Early Intervention in Psychosis service (SPT). I am choosing to write following my discharge (February 2013) as I believe it’s important to feedback regarding the outstanding service I have experienced.
I was initially accepted into the service in September 2009 after a first episode of psychosis. From this moment I was instantaneously offered a new realm of support outside of family and friends. The service was extremely hands-on and I was immediately provided with regular support from a care coordinator. Contact received was tailored to my needs with regards to how frequently I wished to meet with the team, face to face/ telephone, and the location of the meeting. My care co-ordinator often met me at home on a frequent weekly basis for at least the first year. I cannot emphasise enough how brilliant this was for me; experiencing psychosis left me feeling scared and vulnerable – home visits with someone I trusted allowed me to get the essential support I needed. My care coordinator helped me tackle some of my negative thoughts and behaviours with basic CBT methods.
In addition to my care-coordinator I was also supported by a Psychiatrist, Psychologist and a Pharmacist. I was offered regular sessions with the Psychologist, met for regular reviews with the Psychiatrist and had several meetings with the team Pharmacist. I cannot emphasise how fantastic these individual services were, the team often went ‘above and beyond’ any requirements to meet my needs, including last minute appointments/phone contact.
All staff I have come across in EIP have been, without exception, extremely approachable, friendly, trustworthy and reassuring. This includes the support of the administrative team who often get forgotten. The service maintained a person-centred approach; my opinion was always listened to and ultimately all choices in my own care were my decision. The team respected my request for my family to be involved; all members were very welcoming of them attending any reviews with me, were happy to answer any of their individual queries or concerns, and provided information on Psychosis. Needless to say, my family also felt extremely supported by the team.
I was kept under the team for over three years. Contact was reduced only when it was my decision (e.g. from fortnightly visits to monthly, to phone contact etc). I had a baby last year, and the team stepped up the intensity of care-coordinator visits during the early months. It felt encouraging that the team had the flexibility to increase contact temporarily.
Having made a successful recovery, the EIP team and I felt confident the next best step would be discharging me from the service. This was a joint agreement and the team raised my awareness of how to seek help in the future if ever needed. The support from EIP has significantly contributed towards my recovery and I genuinely don’t feel I would be where I am today without their help. Words cannot describe how grateful I am.
I am all too aware of changes taking place in the NHS at this moment in time, but I sincerely hope that the staff from EIP are able to continue to help, so effectively, many other young people in my position for years to come.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience.”
If you’d like to know more about the service, please call 01273-718682
Are you a Guitar Hero – or a Fifa legend?
Or will you be Buzz Brain of Britain?
The Salvation Army on Sackville Road, Hove run a youth club every Friday evening during term time. There’s PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii consoles with plenty of games and controllers along with Table Football, Pool table, Basketball hoop and fully loaded tuck shop.. At the end of each term they use some of the profits from the tuck and subs and go out for an activity—karting, bowling, laser, swimming, rock-climbing are just some of the recent choices.
It costs just £1 per week—but if you bring this page with you, your first week is Free!
Contact Doug or Michelle for more information on 01273 323072
All the young people’s workers are CRB checked and vetted.
Do you work with young people aged 16 and 25, who are NEET or have a disability?
Youth Action Sussex will soon be providing a dedicated volunteer scheme, providing a supported route into community volunteering.
We have two volunteer co-ordinators who are looking to recruit and provide continued support to young people wishing to volunteer in their local community. We will provide on-going support throughout and recognition by providing national certificates on reaching certain milestones.
Young people will be matched with suitable and supportive volunteer placements that reflect their interests,passions and aspirations and also allow them to develop their skills and gain new positive experiences.
For more information please e-mail: email@example.com
or see: www.youthactionsussex.org.uk
or call: Sarah 07591 828758 / Helen 07591 828762
We look forward to hearing from you.
As a member of the LGBT+ community, it doesn’t take much to realise that the world at large is not always the most accepting place. Sometimes it seems that every uneducated being has an opinion on our ‘lifestyle’ or who we fall in love with. For the Trans* community, nothing reminds us more of how this ignorance can turn violent than the hundreds of stolen lives mourned at the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Having been born with XX chromosomes but living my life as male, this prejudice has never felt so prevalent- I’ve been unapologetically stared at, shouted at in the streets and intimidated in toilets. Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon by any stretch for members of the Trans* community and these sort of experiences leave a lasting mark on even the strongest of spirits. Sensationalized headlines and demonizing articles mean that the media often fuel this negativity and unfairly portray Trans* people as abnormal. One of the most heartbreaking examples of prejudice that i have had to endure is the publication of the ‘hate rant’ by the self defined ‘militant feminist’ writer and journalist Julie Burchill.
Burchill excused the painfully transphobic content of her article ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’ by claiming she was commenting in defense of her friend Suzanne Moore after she had come in to dispute with Trans* people on twitter. Burchill has yet to apologize for her disturbing article but it wasn’t her words, or the Observer’s decision that it was fit for public exposure, that I found the most disturbing.
While attending one of the regular FTM Brighton meetings, the raw emotions that surfaced during a discussion on the article was overwhelming. It was the reaction of other people in my community that I found the most difficult to come to terms with. It was then, after witnessing their tearful faces and hearing the stories of past emotional scars brought to the forefront of their minds, that I truly felt the impact the article had on the lives and mental health of real people. My palms have become damp just thinking about it.
Trans* youth are especially vulnerable, often taking the first steps in the exploration of their own identities and world. The media has influence over young people like never before and therefore have the ability to spark and perpetuate a cycle of oppression. A recent survey by Brighton Based LGBTU youth charity, Allsorts, found that 66% of young trans people had contemplated suicide, 22% had attempted suicide and 33% had self-harmed (2012).
The backlash of Burchill’s article from the LGBT+ community and its allies was over powering, and the Observer was forced to remove the article. The silver lining of this awful (and in my opinion, criminal) act from Burchill is the way that the overall portrayal of Trans* people in the media came under scrutiny and some improvement seemed inevitable. I can only hope that the positive will eventually outweigh the negative and that the resulting wounds will heal with time. It is organizations such as Trans Media Watch (who are dedicated to ending prejudice driven by the media) and the crucial voices of activists such as a personal hero of mine, Paris Lees, are shining examples of ways that attitudes surrounding the community can and will be changed for the better. I have no doubt that improved mental health will be a result for all those on the gender spectrum.
It seems that a wider acceptance of Trans* people is slowly but surely developing but crucial emotional aspects, including humanistic empathy for what being gender variant means for day to day living, is lacking. This is a necessity in order to achieve honest and whole-hearted legal and social equality. Navigating through life in what feels to me to be someone else’s body is tough, and a reality that the majority of transgender individuals face at some time. Despite the difficulties that come as a result of my identity, part of me rejoices with the personal notion that i am part of the queer community and feel supported and protected by it’s unity, members and allies. For the near future, Trans* people might not be understood by everyone, but I have total faith that it will happen in the end.
We’re all in this together- speak up and reach out.
With thanks to Reuben Davidson for this inspiring blog addition.
When we hear people talking about ‘positions’ several things come to mind: sports, work or even a chess board, but hardly ever do we consider our emotions.
Positioning yourself through language is a powerful thing but it can be risky too. In times when things do not seem to go the way we plan, we feel low and helpless and can easily let ourselves fall into the self-fulfilling prophecy trap: expecting our world to go asunder. Things will eventually go wrong not because we are jinxed or cursed but because we unconsciously set our minds into negative actions and thoughts that will sabotage anything we aim to achieve.
How can this be avoided when we are not even conscious about doing it? Drawing on positive psychology and cognitive behavioural theories we can see how important it is to have some time every day to indulge in being compassionate and kind towards ourselves, embrace the fact that sometimes things escape our control and that we achieve many good things and impact others positively without noticing.
Put it simply, it doesn’t take a genius to know that if you start rolling in the mud you’ll eventually be covered by it and maybe even sink in it!
We are what we transmit to the outside world. This radical statement leaves space for change and for reframing our own life narratives. Think about how do you see yourself in a wider context: each one of us is a complex mosaic of emotions, interests, lived experiences, opinions, traumas, weaknesses and strengths, all of which are glued together by our mind which creates a beautiful artefact called Myself.
Position yourself well, it may not be immediately obvious how to overcome or distance yourself from painful or unpleasant situations, but you can give yourself a break – punching oneself through negative language and derogatory terms undermines your self-esteem and will worsen your circumstances as you are left at the mercy of self-hatred and pity.
The mind is the most valuable trove we have, but usually it’s brought to the spotlight when something isn’t ‘right’. The best way to cherish it is to feed it with healthy nourishment, starting with the way you talk about yourself.
Thanks to Ana Carretero for this insightful contribution to the blog.
The vast majority of young people don’t take drugs, legal or illegal. There is a huge amount of evidence that drugs can affect the development of the brain, especially in adolescence when a lot of changes happen in preparation for adulthood. There are a lot of questions being asked about legal highs at the moment – what do they do? Are they safe? What are they? And so on – we have tried to answer some of these questions here…
What are Legal highs? Drugs not covered by the law…yet! Most ‘Legal Highs’ mimic the effect of illegal drugs.They aren’t covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act so are legal to possess. Even so, many ‘legal highs’ contain illegal substances, as the law and packaging changes so quickly.
Does legal equal safe?
If a drug is legal, then surely it’s safe? Not necessarily! In fact, law-dodging legal high manufacturers change the formulas so regularly that users could be putting themselves at risk.Consumption of alcohol alongside a legal high would be dangerous as there’s no way of knowing how the two drugs would interact – in fact any mixing of drugs, mixing drugs with alcohol, can be extremely dangerous. .
Dr Phil Yates, a government forensic scientist, said: “If something’s advertised as a legal high, people might think somehow the government have sanctioned that and so it’s safe to take. Really, all it means is that nobody’s tested it, nobody knows if it’s safe. These are completely unknown quantities.”
Mephedrone is now Illegal. Several young people in B&H had difficulties with mephedrone, M-Cat or ‘Bubble’ when it was still legal in 2009.
What are the effects?
Drugs affect everyone differently, whether they’re legal or not. ‘Legal highs’ are usually stimulants, depressants or hallucinogens. Some Herbal blends like salvia can give users an LSD-type experience. Synthetic, or chemical-based drugs can mimic stimulants like ecstasy, amphetamines or cocaine. Effects can be very strong and can cause users to panic when they don’t wear off when expected, put pressure on their heart and some legal highs have been linked to several deaths in the media. Use very small amounts to start with if you do choose to use.
Some synthetic cannabinoids look like cannabis but can have very different effects. If you are a smoker and choose to use these drugs be very careful around doses, and use a very small amount to start with.
But I know what I’m doing…!
The majority haven’t been tested for human consumption so users are effectively human guinea pigs. Just like illegal drugs, legal highs are not regulated. You don’t know what you’re buying, how much you should be taking or what the side effects might be. If you do choose to use them, try VERY small doses to start with, and BE PATIENT! Some will take a long time to start effecting you, others will be almost immediate.. look after yourself and your friends; make sure one of you is ‘straight’ and can get help if necessary.
Because the chemical make-up of these drugs are continually changing, you never know what you’re getting. So your last trip on a synthetic legal high might have been fine, but that ‘version’ of the drug migh
t have since been banned. Your next trip may be completely different and not as plain-sailing, as you’re experimenting with a brand new substance.
So what are the dangers?
Users are not always buying ‘legal’ substances! Tests on them often reveal them to still contain
illegal substances like mephedrone or naphyrone.
Harry Shapiro, director of communications at Drugscope, said: ”The truth of the matter is that you don’t know what you are buying. It’s not got any consumer quality control, there’s not a reliable ingredients label. So people can be using a mephedrone substitute and think it’s legal. But police could find it, test it, and say ‘actually that is illegal’, which would land you in trouble.”
Want to find out more?
Professionals: The Health Promotion team run training on Legal Highs & Emerging Trends throughout the year; for more information on all of the courses click here: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/index.cfm?request=c1239514
Or visit our website at: http://www.thinkdrinkdrugs.co.uk
Local charity Alternatives Pregnancy Choices & Loss Support welcomed health professionals, agencies and supporters to it’s new premisesfor an open dayon Friday 8th March 2013. Alternatives has been supporting people facing an unplanned pregnancy and those who have experienced pregnancy loss in the city since 1990. At the end of 2012 they moved to a larger, more central location based on the 3rd floor of the Brighthelm Community Centre in North Road, Brighton.
The Alternatives team of trained counsellors offers time and space for women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, to explore how they feel and consider all the options. They also support women grieving the loss of a baby and provide sensitive support for those struggling with post abortion feelings.
Alternative’s Manager, Sarah Erskine, commented, “We are delighted to have a new location that is central and easily accessible for people, offering welcoming and comfortable surroundings in which to provide free and confidential support.”
For more information, current drop in times or to book an appointment see www.alternatives-brighton.org or phone 01273 207010
Based at Brighthelm Centre
3rd floor, North Road,
Brighton BN1 1YD