It was World Mental Health Day on the 10th October!
It was a great day of fighting against the stigma around mental health challenges and coming together to help support one another. We took our stall to an event on the Friday in Peterborough where we had loads of meaningful conversations with people around the topic of suicide prevention and where you can go for support with your mental health.
Public Health England launches ‘Every Mind Matters’, the first national NHS mental health campaign.
We don’t need to wait until we are struggling with our mental health; there are lots of things we can do to protect ourselves and prevent problems escalating, just as we do with our physical health.
The new Every Mind Matters campaign encourages adults to be more aware of their mental health and helps them to discover simple steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing.
Every Mind Matters offers a range of useful resources that help spot the signs of common mental health concerns, provides practical self-care tips and guidance and, importantly, explains when to seek further support.
It also has a free NHS-approved online tool on the Every Mind Matters website, which helps people build an action plan to deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, improve their sleep and help them feel more in control.
To learn more about how to look after your mental health and create your own action plan, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
Cambridge & Fenland Community Arts Creative Courses 2019/20 - there's still time to apply!
Cambridge & Fenland Community Arts Creative Courses is still taking expressions of interest for their yearlong accredited programme, with courses starting w/c 9 Sept. The programme and expression of interest form can be downloaded here, or submit online at https://www.camcommarts.org.uk/join-a-course.
FENLAND - MUSIC FOR PERFORMANCE / DRAMA / DIGITAL ART & DESIGN
CAMBRIDGE - MUSIC FOR PERFORMANCE / DRAMA / PHOTOGRAPHY / DIGITAL ART & DESIGN / DRAWING & MIXED MEDIA / MUSIC PRODUCTION
Check out these short videos to find out more about our drama and music courses and for info on how to get involved and how we work, enabling people to improve their mental health using creativity – especially helpful if you missed meeting us at our Open Days!
Psychological Well-being Service Virtual Reality Therapy
OVR BBC Breakfast 21st May 2019 from Oxford VR on Vimeo.
Here's a snippet about the therapy from the CPFT website: "The Psychological Wellbeing Service have added virtual reality (VR) to our digital therapies’ library. This is state-of-the-art technology is currently being used for treatment of Height Phobia. We have partnered with a company called 'Oxford VR' to bring this ground-breaking technology into the service. VR treatment is based on a computer-generated environment which creates powerful simulations of real-life scenarios that trigger similar psychological and physiological responses as experienced by patients when distressed i.e. the mind and body behave as if it were real. Therefore, the lessons learned in VR are transferable to everyday life situations."
Click here to read more..
Recovery and Inclusion Contract Rentender
As you may already be aware, CPSL Mind has just been awarded the county-wide Recovery and Inclusion contract funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
This new service will replace several different contracts that are currently delivered by a number of different providers across the county. This includes the Wellbeing and Stepping Forward Services delivered by CPSL Mind; the Specialist Mental Health Home and Community Support Services delivered by CPSL Mind (Support2Recovery) and Metropolitan and some of the services currently provided by Lifecraft, Red 2 Green and Richmond Fellowship.
Between now and the start of the new service on 2 September 2019, referrals into all of these services will be affected to some degree. Below we outline the current position on referrals to CPSL Mind services. Please contact the other providers directly for information about their services between now and the new contract start date.
CPSL Mind Referrals
While, on the one hand, the new Recovery and Inclusion contract presents a unique opportunity to provide a new and exciting service across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, on the other it does mean that there will be changes in the way services are accessed and delivered both during and after the transition period.
We hope to minimise any frustrations and/or concerns by communicating with our clients, staff and stakeholders on a regular basis and answering any questions in an open and honest way throughout this transition process.
Please see information below on ‘next steps’ in relation to referrals into our existing Wellbeing Service, Stepping Forward and Specialist Mental Health Home and Community Support (Support2Recovery) clients.
Next steps: Specialist Mental Health Home and Community Support Referrals
Individuals who are assessed as requiring specialist mental health care packages will continue to receive support as part of the new contract; though the way in which that support is delivered will change and develop over time.
Between now and the start of the new service, new specialist mental health Home and Community Support referrals can still be made to CPSL Mind. However, it would be very helpful for us to have involvement at the assessment stage wherever possible, particularly during this transition period. Please contact either myself or Linda Leigh – Linda.email@example.com – in the first instance
Next steps: Wellbeing and Stepping Forward Services Referrals
As from Monday 13 May, we will no longer be taking referrals for 1:1 support from the Wellbeing and Stepping Forward services. This is so that we can meet the 1:1 needs of those individuals already in service together with those on the current waiting list.
However, we will still be taking referrals for our wellbeing workshops and peer support groups across the county and have recently increased the capacity of these aspects of the service. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at any of our three offices for more information:
01480 470 480
Over the coming weeks we will be sending you more information about the new Recovery and Inclusion Service, usually by email. We would be very grateful if you could cascade this and future emails so as to ensure that everyone receives this information in a timely way.
We will also be arranging a number of stakeholder events to introduce the service in more detail and answer any questions. Details of these events will be sent by email, but will also be posted on our website – www.cpslmind.org.uk. Please note that for more information about CPSL Mind in general, you can also sign up for our E-bulletin via the website.
We really appreciate your support in helping us to make this service transition as smooth as possible for everyone, so please do let us know if you have any questions or concerns either by contacting me direct on 01223 311320 or emailing me at email@example.com
Please note: Referrals into our IAPT service (Changing Lives), Perinatal Service and Sanctuary (via FRS 111 Option2) will continue unchanged.
The Advancing Mental Health Equality Resource has now been published and is available to download from the Royal College of Psychiatrists website. The AMHE Resource was commissioned by NHS England to support delivery of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and the NHS Long Term Plan.
The resource is a tool which outlines comprehensive and practical steps for commissioners and service providers to reduce inequalities in an achievable and measurable way. It provides detailed guidance and methods on how to identify and reduce inequalities related to mental health support, care and treatment. It will also support commissioners and service providers to evaluate and review their services, to measure the impact of changes and to identify areas for improvement.
The AMHE Resource has been coproduced with a wide-range of stakeholders including experts by experience, ALBs, commissioners, providers and third sector organisations.
For questions on the resource and accompanying appendices and helpful resources, please contact the Project Manager at Dominique.firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can view and download the Advancing Mental Health Equality Resource here.
Arts on Prescription are looking for people interested in Arts on Prescription at the Norris Museum in St Ives again - They start a new series on Wednesday 9th of January and I still have spaces. These are free art workshops for people with anxiety, depression or any other mental health problems.
They also have spaces on the rolling programmes of Arts on Prescription art workshops at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge from 1-3pm on Tuesdays, and at the Norris Museum in St Ives from 1-3pm on Wednesdays, both of which have funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to continue until July 2019. They will run another ten week series of art workshops at Peterborough Museum from 3-5pm on Thursdays starting on 7th of February, as the pilot series at Peterborough Museum has gone really well with many positive responses written in evaluation, such as:
'This course has brought me out of myself and given me something to look forward to each week. I wish it could continue.'
'I have loved it... Thank you again for an inspiring and nurturing course.'
If you would like to take part in one or more workshops please fill out a referral form here.
#50000reasons to make a difference to a lonely older person this Christmas
The #50000reasons campaign is encouraging people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help the 50000 older people at risk from loneliness. Christmas can be a difficult time when older people reflect on what they have lost from their life making feelings of loneliness worse.
These 12 simple gestures could make a big difference to a lonely older person’s life this Christmas.
Start with a “Hello” or a “Good morning”
Or a simple wave as your drive or walk by. It’s a great way to start.
Start a conversation with your neighbour - small talk can make a big difference
If you’ve never really spoken with your neighbours the festive season can provide the ideal opportunity to do so. Starting a conversation shouldn’t be scary. Everyone has a story and something interesting to say, so try and be open to having a chat. Make eye contact. Smile. Talk about the street,how long they’ve lived in their house, the neighbours, the weather.... or all four. For some people who are isolated, this might be the only conversation they’ve had in weeks.
Send a Christmas card
This Christmas why not make an extra effort and send a Christmas card to an older person living on your street? Be sure to write clearly and it would be extra-special if you make an offer to help or give assistance should then need it – write your phone number in the card. Even if the gesture is not taken up, it’s reassuring for somebody who may be experiencing loneliness to know that there is someone there if they are needed. When you drop the card off, you have an opportunity to start a conversation. Mention the offer that’s in the card. And try to build upon this.
‘Mince pie moments’
This Christmas why not join with a couple of neighbours and share a ‘mince pie moment’ together? Host a small, informal gathering on a Saturday or Sunday morning and invite your older neighbours to come along? You could put the invitation in their Christmas card…
Should they decide not to attend, call by with a mince pie and tell them they were missed.
Offer to help write someone’s Christmas cards and deliver them
Help older people who are housebound or living alone by offering to write and deliver their Christmas cards to loved ones and friends.
Making a connection with older neighbours
Understandably, there can be many barriers to older people opening their doors to strangers. A good way to reassure them is to get another neighbour to introduce you.
Alternatively, drop a note through their door introducing yourself and telling them you will be calling just to say “Hello” at a given date/time (always in daylight). Going along with your children or pets can also be reassuring.
One step at a time
If you call on a neighbour, make your first call short. Give them the opportunity to see who you are, that you are genuine and show interest in them.
Check on an older person living alone if the weather becomes cold or wintry
If the weather becomes cold, please check on neighbours to see that they are keeping warm and well. Read our tips about how to stay well this winter. (https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/be-well/resources-and-campaigns/stay-well-this-winter/)
Phone a friend, or go and visit…
Take 10 minutes each week to phone a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Better still, go and visit them or arrange to meet up for a pint, a coffee or a cup of tea.
Write a letter
How many people are there in your life who’ve made a massive difference to you? It could be a teacher, a parent or an old friend, but it’s rare that we get a chance to say thank you. In the hustle and bustle of the modern world writing a letter might seem a bit old fashioned. But whoever is on the receiving end will appreciate the time and extra effort you’ve taken.
Encourage the kids
To say “Hello” or at least wave when they see an older neighbour. For many of us, our friends tend to be a similar age to us. But that means we’re missing out on perspectives and stories that might change our life. Whether you’re eight or 86 we all have things in common, and we can all learn and gain from each other. Children often find it easier to start a conversation.
Offer to clear someone’s leaves or snow
This can help older folk to get out and about to do shopping, see friends and family or go to community activities.
For more information on loneliness and how you help go to www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/50000-reasons
Download the press release here!
Anglia Ruskin Is UK Lead For Major Music Therapy Study
Anglia Ruskin University will lead the UK arm of a new £2.5 million joint EU programme to investigate the benefits of music for people living with dementia.
The UK part of the study is funded by The Alzheimer’s Society and will be carried out by experts at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research.
The three-year programme will recruit around 500 couples, where one person has dementia. In addition to standard care, the carer will be trained by a music therapist who will initially work with the couple. The couple will then work together using music five days a week at home, for a 12-week period, overseen by a music therapist.
Their progress will be compared with a similar programme of reading between couples who are also receiving standard care, as well as couples receiving only standard care for dementia. A variety of measures will test relationship, resilience and other aspects of quality of life for both carers and for the person with dementia.
Professor Helen Odell-Miller, the Principal Investigator for the UK part of the project and the Director of the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to explore and measure the impact of music interventions for people with dementia and their family carer. Five countries are involved and we hope to make a difference to dementia care across different cultures and communities.”
The other institutions involved in the neurodegenerative disease research project are the University of Melbourne, the Norwegian Academy of Music, the University of Physical Education in Krakow, and the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany.
More information about Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research
*All information from the Cambridge Network website.
Beat, the UK's Eating Disorder Charity are running 'Coping with Christmas' one-day training.
‘Coping with Christmas’ is a one-day training course to equip you with skills to support someone, so they feel more in control and less overwhelmed, and you are able to enjoy your day together.
The course will help you think about:
• How to collaboratively plan with your loved one
• Hopes and fears about Christmas
• How to identify potential triggers
• How to plan and test meals
• Preparing for New Year
• And much more.
Coping with Christmas is suitable for parents, partners, other family members and friends supporting someone with an eating disorder at Christmas, and will run at locations across the country from 23 November.
To find out more, visit beateatingdisorders.org.uk/coping-with-Christmas.
Download the A4 Christmas poster here and the A5 Christmas poster here.
A friend suggested I run the Beachy Head 10K for my 50th birthday (I know you're thinking he looks far too youthful for the big 5-0). I guess she was gently pointing out I was going to seed as I've been out of the military for a couple of years!
So instead of presents, I'm asking people to sponsor me for CALM - the men's mental health charity. Did you know suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45? Mental health is a subject close to my heart. I've suffered from depression and also struggled after military detachments as well as academically broadening my understanding through post graduate study. That's why my work today uses the camera to promote spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing.
If I don't do this I'll just ask for a camera lens as a present and to be honest, I've got lots of camera lenses so the money is far better going to CALM where it can help lots of people and help change the tragic reality of male suicide.
Every penny helps:
£8 can answer one potentially life-saving call
£20 can put CALM materials in the hands of campaigners
£80 can run their website for a day
£170 keeps one phone line open for an evening
Keeping men alive by talking.
You can support Steven here!
Groundwork East have begun planning some new projects that can be used for social prescribing; here's a summary of the information we have about the projects so far! (All projects are all free for participants)
Mind Body & Soil:
(Find the flyer here)
A confidence building and soft skills development for economically inactive adults including ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) claimants through structured activity and support based at Huntingdonshire Community Plant and Tree Nursery, Godmanchester.
The courses will include a range of gardening and food growing/preparation, craft-based and healthy eating activities to enable participants to improve their physical activity level, diet, social interaction, confidence, well-being and practical skills including potential retail volunteering opportunities. The programme will support future employability by providing opportunities for regular commitment and skills development; specific sessions to support employability will be incorporated as needed, plus onward referrals for career advice/guidance. Courses will run throughout the year using indoor facilities when necessary.
We suggest anyone who is interested in joining the course gets in touch with the project lead Rachel Kelly first and arranges a short visit for a tour around the site and discussion about what we do and their needs. This helps to sooth initial anxieties about turning up to the first session and starting something new. It also gives us the opportunity to get to know them and ensure we can provide the right support and environment for them and the rest of the participants.
Go Outdoors Get Active (GOGA):
These 6-week courses aim to improve health and fitness through outdoor conservation activities. It offers an alternative form of exercise for people who may be disaffected with conventional gyms and provides opportunities to learn new practical skills. Work includes conservation tasks such as coppicing and scrub clearance, and general green space improvements such as tree and bulb planting and path creation.
The relaxed and social nature of the programme encourages participants to develop their confidence and communication skills. The programme is tailored to meet the capability of the group and any therapeutic goals that participants may have.
Locations and dates of these courses are still currently being planned but will be shared once confirmed. If you feel like this project would work well in a particular area, please let Groundwork East know.
Grow it Cook it Share it:
(Find the flyers here and here)
This family gardening and cooking course current runs in Wisbech at various venues. It provides the opportunity for parents and children to learn and grow their own fruit and veg at home and try/share new recipes with the produce we grow. It’s a great opportunity for parents to get out and meet new people and to develop skills with their children. It also focuses on healthy eating, with any produce grown being available to take home and gentle activity through gardening.
Police Commissioner launches new website to help victims of crime
POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite is today (7th August) launching a new, independent and confidential Victim Services website for victims and witnesses of crime across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The Victim Services website, funded by the Commissioner, provides victims and witness with clear and simple information about available support and how to access it, whatever the crime. The website also provides a service directory.
Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible for commissioning local support services for victims of crime and receive a grant each year from the Ministry of Justice to enable the provision of services which best meet the needs of local victims of crime.
In Cambridgeshire, end to end support is provided through the Cambridgeshire Victim and Witness Hub. Victim and Witness Care Coordinators provide emotional and practical support to anyone affected by crime from the point of reporting through any criminal justice process including giving evidence at court. The Hub also links into hundreds of specialist services.
The Commissioner sees the website as a vital tool to ensure victims of crime know what information and support is available to them and who to request help from if they are not already receiving it.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said:
“If you become a victim of crime or witness a crime, the last thing you need is to be in the dark about who to turn to for support. Taking the first step and asking for help, whether you report the crime to the police or not is a very important stage in your recovery.
“The new website lists all of the specialist support services available to help you cope and recover. It also helps reassure any victims who have already accessed support, but want a resource to refer back to.
“Importantly, accessing the website helps put you in charge of what you want to happen next.”
Steve Welby, Head of Cambridgeshire’s Victim and Witness Hub added:
“For people becoming victims and/or witnesses of crime, the new website provides people with very clear access to the wealth of support available to help. Having the right person to talk to at the right time can make an enormous difference.”
Following engagement with victim service providers across the county, the website has been developed by local company Chameleon, to compliment the support offered by the Victim and Witness Hub.
You can visit Victim Services website here: https://www.cambsvictimservices.co.uk/
With Keep Your Head for Adults now having been up and running for a few months now we thought we would share with you some of the findings from the Mental Health pharmacy campaign that ran in May as we found out how many pharmacies were using both the adults and young people Keep Your Head sites!
So, what happened?
We had 27 pharmacies respond to the survey and across them there were 298 conversations about Mental Health recorded over the campaign period, and on 208 occasions information was given out about Keep Your Head! Which is great! Not only because Keep Your Head is proving useful for people but also because the stigma around Mental Health is slowly decreasing!! :)
Public Health England is collaborating with the Cambridge County Council again to raise awareness of domestic abuse during the World Cup
On the 14th June the World Cup begins. Whilst alcohol is not a reason or excuse for domestic abuse, there is evidence that domestic abuse incidents increase during large sporting events and alcohol is often involved in the incidents.
Click here to see a study about it! Here are some posters you can download (check them out below), download them here and here!
'I was convinced my baby deserved a better mum'
At the end of maternal mental health awareness week, Alexandra Vanotti details her experience of post-natal anxiety and the help she received - which she describes as a godsend.
To read the full article click here.
Midlands and East (East)
For immediate release
NHS ENGLAND PLEDGES SPECIALIST MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR NEW MUMS IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE AND PETERBOROUGH
NHS England has confirmed that new and expectant mums will be able to access specialist perinatal mental health community services in every part of the country by April next year.
Locally, this will mean the establishment of a new, comprehensive service across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, offering personalised and family-centred care.
Work to introduce this new service in the area will start straight away.
The health service is now spending £23 million nationally to roll out the second wave of community perinatal services to underserved parts of the country and is on course to achieve full geographical coverage, when as recently as 2014 it was estimated that only three per cent of the country had good access to perinatal mental health care.
This funding forms part of a package of measures, worth a total of £365m by 2021, to transform specialist perinatal services so that at least 30,000 additional women can access evidence based treatment that is closer to home and when they need it, through specialist community services and inpatient mother and baby units.
Specialist community perinatal mental health teams can offer psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems during the perinatal period. They can also provide pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.
Teams can be made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nursery nurses and administrative staff, who all work together to provide a comprehensive service to mums, depending on what their individual needs are.
Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England said: “Mental ill health doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for mums but the whole family, which is why we are absolutely committed to driving forward improvements in care and ensuring this important area of mental health continues to get the attention it deserves.
“Women with lived in experience can play a pivotal role when it comes to shaping the services for others and influencing how we plan and deliver care effectively as possible. What we are now starting to see is evidence based NHS services growing in parts of the country where there used to be limited or no provision at all. Thanks to a continuing investment in services and a concerted effort from dedicated staff up and down the country, we are making huge strides forward and sooner rather than later we will turn England’s specialist perinatal mental health map green.”
The new funding which has just been agreed, builds on £40 million previously allocated to 20 sites in 2016 to establish new or expand current specialist perinatal mental health community services – with over 7,000 mums accessing expert care and treatment so far. While some areas are taking a phased approach to the development of services, a plan for full provision has been promised by 2021.
NHS England is also pressing ahead with plans to open four new, eight-bedded mother and baby units (MBUs), throughout 2018/19, which will provide specialist care and support to mothers in parts of the country where access has historically been a problem. A major milestone for mental health has just been reached in Devon, following the opening of an interim four bedded unit last month, in advance of a full new unit, which is already under construction, opening next year.
Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Founder and CEO: “Mumsnet's campaign for Better Postnatal Care has highlighted the breadth of perinatal mental health vulnerabilities, and has shown how many women struggle on with symptoms that make them feel miserable - or worse. Extra provision in this crucial area is so important and we hope it makes a real difference in supporting pregnant women and new mothers.”
Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance said: "In over 30 years working for the NHS I have never seen any national programme produce such a rapid, effective and widespread transformation in services. These new, top quality services have led directly to life saving improvements in care for women and babies that will hugely reduce immediate and long term suffering. The new developments announced today in England look set to eliminate a long-standing and serious postcode lottery, and will undoubtedly make England the world leader in mental health care for mothers and babies."
Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities Jackie Doyle-Price said: “I am determined to give every mother and baby the best start in life. That’s why this is such a welcome announcement – we are providing £365 million to transform these services so that everyone, no matter where they live, can get specialist care if they need it.”
Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “We are delighted to have been able to work closely with NHS England and HEE to help deliver the much-needed perinatal psychiatric workforce of the future.
“That 100% of the psychiatrists who completed our perinatal bursary scheme now have, or will have, perinatal consultant psychiatric jobs in their local areas is fantastic. This, together with the new wave of targeted funding, will help ensure that new and expectant mums will be able access specialist perinatal community services in every part of England by April 2019.”
Practical new guidance has also been published to help local health care systems as they put their plans into action and support community teams to deliver high quality and safe care.
The Perinatal Mental Health Care Pathways aims to improve access and quality in specialist perinatal mental health services as they become available. It sets out five new examples that promote improved patient treatment and care - depending on the mental health problem and the phase of pregnancy or the postnatal period – all of which put mums and children firmly at the centre of the plans. Shared expertise, good practice and local delivery can all be supported through the development and expansion of the 12 clinically-led regional perinatal mental health networks across England.
One in five women will experience a mental health problem during their pregnancy and in the first year after birth, with depression and anxiety disorders being the most common. As well as being crucial to new mothers, newborns and their families, perinatal services, alongside other treatments for common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, can play an important role in ensuring mental health is integrated into overall healthcare at the earliest possible stage of life.
About NHS England NHS England leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England – setting the priorities and direction, encouraging and informing the national debate to improve health and care. The NHS in England deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours and employs more than 1.5 million people, putting it in the top five of the world’s largest workforces NHS England shares out more than £100 billion in funds and holds organisations to account for spending this money effectively for patients and efficiently for the tax payer. It strongly believes in health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations. For media enquiries please email email@example.com or call 0113 825 3437 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Out of office hours please call 07623 503 829.
Hellblade: CPFT supported PC game about psychosis wins five BAFTAs !!!
Senua is ‘courageous, dignified and determined’ says Cambridge professor
An innovative computer game which gives an insight into experiences of psychosis and which was supported by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) has received five British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominations in its Games Awards.
Staff and Recovery College East students at CPFT spent three years working with Ninja Theory, the Cambridge-based company behind ‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’. In the game the central character, Celtic warrior Senua, has mental health challenges which have been brought on by trauma.
The game has just received the most nominations in the BAFTA 2018 Games Awards, across Artistic Achievement, Audio Achievement, Best Game, British Game, Game Beyond Entertainment, Game Innovation, Music, Narrative and Performer. The awards ceremony, hosted by Dara O’Briain, took place on Thursday 12 April at Troxy, London.
Professor Paul Fletcher, academic lead for CPFT’s adult and specialist directorate, together with students from the Trust’s Recovery College East, acted as special advisors to Ninja Theory.
With bases in Cambridge and Peterborough, the Recovery College East offers a wide range of courses to help people develop new skills or increase their understanding of their own or other mental health challenges and their pathway to recovery.
'Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice' is the first game to use state-of-the-art techniques to evoke the voices and visions experienced by people who live with psychosis. The game uses a binaural technique that mimics 3D human hearing – players experience visual and auditory hallucinations as if they are Senua and 'hear' voices just behind them, or whispering in their ear.
Professor Paul Fletcher, who is honorary consultant with CPFT, said: ''I am delighted that Ninja Theory has won so many awards for 'Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice'.
“They have done something risky but important, and potentially valuable in representing experiences that most people find deeply alien. The fact that they are doing so in a first-person subjective viewpoint in a game setting, which demands that the player fully engages with the experience rather than simply passively observing it, makes it all the more powerful and has already got people on the internet and in the media talking in an engaged, thoughtful and respectful way about the nature of these experiences and what it must feel like to have them.
Paul, who is also Bernard Wolfe Professor of Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow, added: “Critically, for me, the heroine, Senua, is not a weak or broken figure. She is frightened and bewildered but she is also courageous, dignified and determined and I feel that these attributes are there because of what they Ninja Theory team experienced in their extensive interactions and discussions with the people at CPFT and Recovery College.'
A total of 45 games have been recognised by BAFTA, showcasing the very best games of the past 12 months and highlighting an outstanding level of creative excellence from a broad range of UK and international development teams.
The Awards, including the nominations, are voted for by BAFTA’s global membership, comprising experienced games industry practitioners from a range of backgrounds in game development and production.
Storytelling can boost mental health
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) specialist clinical psychologist Dr Kate Nurser has conducted the first UK research on how storytelling can help the recovery of people who have experienced mental health challenges. Kate worked with students at CPFT’s Recovery College East on a paper which has just been published by the Mental Health Review Journal.
The students all took part in RCE’s Telling My Story course, which uses the storytelling process to help individuals to make sense of what has happened to them and celebrate who they are. While highly valued by students who have taken part in courses at Recovery Colleges across the country, qualitative research in the area has been limited to two small studies abroad.
Kate – who collaborated with colleagues from the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – hopes the paper will further the understanding of how the storytelling process can positively impact on those who use it. The findings suggest that storytelling can be a highly meaningful experience and an important part of the individual’s recovery journey. They also point to ways that UK mental health services could make more of the storytelling process. For a copy of the paper, please contact Kate.
Recovery Stories - Recovery College
Some of the Recovery College East students have been involved in the publication of this fantastic new book, Road to Recovery: Our Stories of Hope.
In the book, there are some inspirational stories describing the incredible journeys people have taken on their road to recovery. We've been truly humbled putting these stories together and we hope you can experience some of that inspiration when you read them.
You can download a copy here! There are now printed versions available for you to buy that are just £5 each. If you'd like to buy a copy, you can send a cheque for £5 payable to Recovery College East to our Peterborough address, or you can pop into either of our colleges, in Cambridge or Peterborough, to buy one. (Addresses for the college sites are at the bottom of the article) We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Peterborough Recovery College East:
Telephone: 01733 746660 or 01733 746662
Cambridge Recovery College:
128-130 Tenison Road
Telephone: 01223 227510