Story: Robin Cox (Maat Probe Group)
Maat Probe Group was set up two years ago and is run by mental health services users. With support from SACMHA (Sheffield African Caribbean Mental Health Association) based on Andover Street, the group aims to highlight inequalities in mental health and to do what it can to improve services through communication.
At Andover Street Church on 9th October the Maat Probe group gave a presentation to the top brass in mental health.
The chair of Maat introduced the presentation. Ashton Wynter, the head of SACHMA, said a piece and then the presentation called ‘Can you accept the truth?’ was shown. Jake Keohane went into detail about Maat and then Robin Cox spoke about ‘Respect’, which is a method to avoid Control and Restraint in mental health. Our support worker Otis Hinds closed the meeting.
The presentation showed our findings from a questionnaire with mental health service users. A lot of people were dissatisfied with their treatment in hospital. We got most of the results by talking to service users who were invited to SACMHA for a barbeque and workshop; we also went to Bradford and spoke to service users, and we spoke to other contacts through SACHMA. The participants included 63 African Caribbean service users. These are some of the comments people made:
“They never listen to me and I was misunderstood”
“I was spoken down to and restrained against my will, given medication against my will when I thought I didn’t need it.”
“They do not understand Black cultural ways of expression and see you as aggressive.”
“I was slapped by my support worker in hospital. I didn’t feel I could do anything about it.”
“When I saw someone restrained I found it very aggressive and disturbing. There was no need for seven to eight staff throwing themselves on a person.”
After the presentation Kevan Taylor, Chief Executive of Sheffield Care Trust, said,
“There are a disproportionate number of people having a negative experience of inpatient treatment and we have to respond to that.”
He said he will follow up the Respect programme and he will continue to work with Maat to do whatever he can to improve things. Next the group is thinking of doing its presentation around the city and if Maat gets funding it will do a documentary.
The full report can be viewed as a slide show at the following link.
What is RESPECT?
RESPECT was developed to help staff working in Mental Health Services avoid using Control and Restraint, a technique which has resulted in a number of deaths. RESPECT is training in how to manage difficult and threatening situations without pain or injury to the patient RESPECT helps staff to:
• Understand how the patient is feeling when they are upset and angry
• Control difficult situations without confrontation
RESPECT maintains the trust of patients, and patients feel valued and cared for
RESPECT was developed from the well known SCIP (Strategy for Crisis Intervention and Prevention)
SACMHA was first set up 21 years ago to meet the needs of African Caribbean Mental Health carers, and now supports service users as well. It offers supported accommodation, has an Acute Advocacy worker and community support staff as well as volunteers.
For more information contact Otis Hinds on 272 6393.