Engage Aotearoa

Welcome to the Mental-Health News and Events Blog

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This is a place for the community to find and share mental-health related news and events that could be of interest to people seeking recovery and/or their different supporters. Browse from the top to find the latest updates. Use the search bar or drop-down list on your right to find something specific.

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Taking part in the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry

The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction has been established by the New Zealand Government in response to widespread concern about mental health and addiction services in the mental health sector and the broader community. It’s time to have your say about what works, what doesn’t work, and what else is needed. Submissions are due by 5pm, 5 June 2018.

Anyone can make a submission to the Inquiry. Service-users, family members, and mental-health professionals have especially valuable perspectives to share. There are a number of different ways you can make your voice count.

  • Fill out the Inquiry Panel’s consultation document. You can do this online or on a downloaded form. The consultation document is like a short survey that asks the following questions…
    1. What is currently working well? Why do you think it is working well? Who is it working well for?
    2. What isn’t working well at the moment? What mental health and addiction needs are not currently being met? Who isn’t receiving the support they need and why? What is not being done now that should be?
    3. What could be done better?
    4. From your point of view, what sort of society would be best for the mental health of all our people?
    5. Anything else you want to tell us? 
  • Write your own submission and email this to the Inquiry Panel. They will consider all submissions received. You can use the questions in the consultation document or not, the choice is yours.
  • You can also provide your submission over the phone by calling 0800 644 678 between 9:30am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday. Someone will be able to talk to you and write down your ideas about how to improve mental health and addiction in New Zealand.
  • Finally, you can attend a regional community meeting to share your ideas directly with the panel. You can complete their Expression of Interest form so they can keep in touch with you when they have updates to share.

Contact the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry

Website: www.mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz

Email: mentalhealth@inquiry.govt.nz

Phone:  0800 644 678

Engage Update: Slowly coming out of hibernation

It’s been two years since our last update, and though the Engage Facebook page remains active, we are still in the process of slowly coming out of hibernation. Please note that The Butterfly Diaries is now officially out of print for the time-being and we are unable to accept new orders. We have funds to print one more run and plan to add the final two stories before we do that. We’ll update you when we have a timeline in mind. Our co-editor Michelle Bolton unfortunately passed away in June of 2016 and we are only just now beginning to think our way back into the project.

We’ve gone through a few transformations of our own since we last updated the Engage Aotearoa website. We couldn’t keep up with the demands of maintaining charitable status and a volunteer base when Miriam entered her doctoral studies and then began working full-time as a psychologist. We were so busy having governance meetings, we couldn’t get the actual work done. So we’ve abandoned the charitable structure and reverted back to our original independent, self-funded structure.

The website and many of the resources are well over-due for an update and that’s the first thing on our to-do list as we try to figure out what’s next for the Engage Aotearoa website. Now that we’ve got a doctor of clinical psychology in the house we might be able to see a little private practice tab in the menu options one of these days in the not-too-very-distant future. For the moment, we’re just going to keep the website alive and gradually update it.

UK Doctors trial Arts Prescriptions

We stumbled upon this video from the BBC on Facebook earlier in the week. GP doctors referred people to “link workers” whose job was to know about all the extracurricular activities in the neighbourhood and link people in with them. Anything from gardening to painting groups. Why? Because most of the people presenting to their GP with mild to moderate mental health difficulties also had social difficulties. Well worth a watch. We wish this existed in NZ.

Click here to watch Dr. Daisy Fancourt talk about Arts on Prescription

 

Save the Date: 8th Service User Academia Symposium

*** Spread the word – Save the date! ***

The 8th Service User Academia Symposium is on it’s way 

Thursday 15th & Friday 16th November 2018

The University of Melbourne, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street Carlton AUSTRALIA 3053

Contact Dr Sarah Gordon for more information sarah.e.gordon@otago.ac.nz

Last year’s event in Wellington was a full house that saw service-user academics from across New Zealand, Australia and the UK come together to share ideas.

Webinar Series: Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal II

Mad in America have pulled together a second series of webinars on psychiatric drug withdrawal with eight world leaders in the field.

  1. June 18, 2018: Robert Whitaker Town Hall
    Town Hall discussion on key issues from 3 perspectives: a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a person with lived experience in withdrawing.
  2. July 17, 2018: Joanna Moncrieff, MD
    The nature of psychiatric drugs, what we know and don’t know about what they do to the brain with repeated and long-term use and how these changes affect the experience of withdrawal; study on antidepressant withdrawal and antipsychotic withdrawal.
  3. August 21, 2018: Sandy Steingard, MD
    Working in a public health clinic: what are the barriers to providing clients with withdrawal information and support for those who want to taper from the medications? What has she learned since she implemented a withdrawal program six years ago?
  4. September 18, 2018: David Healy, MD and Johanna Ryan
    SSRIs and sexual dysfunction: A look at this adverse effect during SSRI use, and PSSD: sexual dysfunction that persists after withdrawal, and what this may signal regarding renormalization of serotonergic function.
  5. October 16, 2018: Sami Timimi, MD
    Withdrawal issues with children and adolescents, challenges and opportunities
  6. November 20, 2018: Swapnil Gupta, MD
    Deprescribing in the elderly and lessons learned
  7. December 11, 2018: Pesach Lichtenberg, MD
    Psychiatric drug withdrawal in Israel’s Soteria House programs
  8. January 15, 2019: Roger Mulder, MD
    Antidepressant withdrawal study: Results, protocols used, and lessons learned from it.

Times for the webinars will be 1:30-3 PM Eastern US; 10:30 AM-Noon Pacific. Because several of the presenters are internationally-based, there may be some slight time changes but MIA will announce them as soon as possible. The cost is USD$100

Find out more here: https://education.madinamerica.com/p/psychiatric-drug-withdrawal-ii

 

A whole website of personal stories

We recently discovered Our Mental Story, a website dedicated to sharing the stories of people with lived experience of mental-health difficulties. We think it’s well worth a look. You won’t find stories categorised by diagnostic labels here though. Expect a list of titles like “I was crafty with my trouble making”, managing to save my ten sick days a year is an annual challenge”, “Have you ever experienced that deep tight feeling of not being able to breathe” and “everyone wants to fix me with a quick solution.” The site was created by Charlotte-Rose Ruddell and Liv Young began in 2016.

Find more here… 

www.ourmentalstory.com/

Robert Whitaker reviews the evidence on antidepressants

Robert Whitaker has written a critical review of the antidepressant literature for the Mad in America website.

The review has three parts.

  • “The evidence for the efficacy of antidepressants over the short term in RCTs, which is the evidence that psychiatry relies on to claim that the drugs “work.”
  • The evidence for the effectiveness of antidepressants over the short term in “real-world” patients.
  • The evidence regarding their long-term effectiveness in real-world patients.

This broader review of the research literature does then lead to a dichotomous question for society. Do antidepressants, as they are being prescribed now, “work” for society? Do they produce a public health benefit?”

Read the full article Do Antidepressants Work: A People’s Review of the Evidence here.

Call for Abstracts: 13th International Mental Health and Addiction Conference

The 13th Biennial Asia Pacific (AsPac) International Mental Health and Addiction Conference will be held in Auckland, New Zealand on 31 October to 1 November 2018. The theme is Healthy Futures – Inspiration, Inclusion and Integration and the conference committee is now looking for abstracts for presentations, including those that share lived experience perspectives.

Find out more here: www.cmnzl.co.nz/healthy-futures/welcome/ 

New Research: Support makes a difference in antipsychotic medication withdrawal

An important part of Miriam’s doctoral research and some further analysis has just been published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. You can follow this link to view a copy of the full text online, but will need a subscription to download a pdf copy to keep:  https://rdcu.be/MpKs

Here’s a screenshot of the abstract for quick reference…

Abstract Attempting to Stop Antipsychotic Medication Success Supports and Efforts to Cope

The Latest from the British Psychological Society

In case you missed it, on the 1st of February the Division of Clinical Psychology at the British Psychological Society published a new report that presents a different way of looking at mental-health problems,  The Power Threat Meaning Framework.

The announcement explains, “A group of senior psychologists (Lucy Johnstone, Mary Boyle, John Cromby, David Harper, Peter Kinderman, David Pilgrim and John Read) and high profile service user campaigners (Jacqui Dillon and Eleanor Longden) spent five years developing the Power Threat Meaning Framework as an alternative to more traditional models based on psychiatric diagnosis. They were supported by researcher Kate Allsopp, by a consultancy group of service users/carers, and by many people who supplied examples of good practice that is not based on diagnosis.”

You can read the full Power Threat Meaning Framework or a shorter overview.

Find the original announcement here.