Meditation, Mindfulness and Mental Wellbeing

Building knowledge and capacity for policy change is the vision of Power to Persuade. But policy work is difficult, time consuming, on-going, hidden and often with limited success. Burn out in this space is quite common and therefore it is necessary to remind ourselves that self-care and mental wellbeing can also be considered par for course of policy change! This week’s blog posts will begin with reflections from a social policy researcher, Isabella Saunders, based at the Centre for Social Impact, UNSW. Using her experience of an extended road trip around Australia, she provides life hacks to ‘break free from the metaphorical prison that is “routine”.’ Isabella’s has expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods research experience in the fields of employment, young people and disability, both in Australia and overseas. This piece was originally published on the Croakey website on 30th April 2019.

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Loneliness and living with mental health problems

December being a difficult month for many people who feel under pressure to socialise and be merry whilst feeling lonely, was an apt time to launch UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) cross-disciplinary Loneliness and Social Isolation Mental Health Network, of which the University of Birmingham is a part. Dr Sarah Carr explores the theme of loneliness and living with mental health problems in a re-posted blog originally hosted on the Institute for Mental Health website.

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Self-harm and social media: a knee-jerk ban on content could actually harm young people

Instagram is to ban graphic self-harm images following the suicide of UK teen Molly Russell. In this piece re-published from the Conversation, and picked up by UK news company The Sun, Dr Anna Lavis and Dr Rachel Winter discuss the complex relationship between self-harm and social media, and how a knee-jerk ban on content could actually harm young people.

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You don’t have to be stick thin to have an eating disorder

Imagine getting turned away for not having a broken-enough leg. There would be complete outrage, but yet for people with eating disorders this is happening on a day to day basis. People are turned away for not being “sick” enough. We know a healthy BMI is 18.5 or above but yet some places in the UK are turning people away if their BMI is about 14! In this post, Hope Virgo (the Author of Stand Tall Little Girl and Mental Health Campaigner) shares her experience and talks about her #DumpTheScales campaign.

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What can employers do to address social wellbeing?

There has been a growing focus on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace in the UK. The role of employers in relation to mental health and wellbeing is becoming increasingly pronounced and the business sector is responding to shifts in both policy and public opinion. As 2019 gets underway, employers may be deciding to scale up their business model, or be making plans to remain agile in difficult and unpredictable markets. In this re-post from employee benefits, Dr Sarah-Jane Fenton and Professor Fiona Carmichael suggest that central to those strategic objectives, and not as an afterthought, needs to be a serious consideration about how to support employees’ mental health and social wellbeing.

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Can Co-production Really Transform UK Mental Health Services?

If you can’t quite get a grip on co-production, you’re not alone. Much of the literature dating back as far as 1984 suggests that it’s something of a greased pig and that efforts to define it end up like a policy pig scramble. Is it democratic citizen involvement public services? Is it individual, ‘responsibilised’ health and social care consumerism? Is it power shifting to communities through participatory governance? Some authors have said that ‘neither on the level of interactions between organisations nor on the level of servicing users, has co-production a fixed meaning’ and others have noted its ‘excessive elasticity.’ Perhaps it’s the ultimate post-modern policy concept. Dr Sarah Carr of the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham asks can it work for mental health?

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The UK government’s terror strategy 'compromises the Mental Health Act and must be challenged'

Post 9/11 Islamophobia and the pathologisation of black people in the UK mental health context should be tackled as part of the ongoing Mental Health Act review, argue former psychiatrist Suman Fernando and researcher Tarek Younis in this post for re-published from Mental Health Today.

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Can a whole human services sub-sector transform its practice and reduce chronic homelessness?

The ACT specialist homelessness sector has been exploring how it can respond to the research that suggests that 100% of people engaging with services have been impacted by trauma. In this post, Rebecca Vassarotti explores what some of the research suggests and how human services sub-sectors can engage with practice approaches such as trauma-informed practice.

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