The British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder held its annual conference in Cardiff last week.
Oliver Dale, lead for the West London Mental Health NHS Trust personality disorder pathway and Chair of the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust, and Julia Blazdell, Service User Consultant and Trustee of the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust, were elected as Co-Presidents of BIGSPD.
They will hold the position for the next three years during an important time for the organisation and the field.
Two patients from the Cassel Hospital presented their experience of life in a therapeutic community to delegates at the annual West London Mental Health NHS Trust Nursing Conference held at Twickenham Stadium.
Jo, who is nearing the end of her time at the Cassel, wanted to draw on her experiences and give delegates a flavour of life in a therapeutic community. She said:
being a patient at the Cassel is a unique kind of experience and one that it is very difficult to understand without going through it yourself. For that reason, I wanted to give a realistic insight into the benefits, and difficulties, that the treatment of a therapeutic community provides. Although speaking in front of so many professionals was a daunting prospect, I am pleased that I faced my anxieties because the feedback we received was really positive and several attendees said how helpful it was to hear direct from service users. I hope by speaking out it not only supports the work of the Cassel but raises the profile of personality disorder treatment in the wider arena.
Read Jo’s account of Life in a Therapeutic Community here.
The Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust is delighted to announce the establishment of the Service User Involvement Fund, which will support the development and employment of people with the lived experience of difficulties associated with diagnoses such as personality disorder and complex trauma.
The Trust has committed to providing funding of £2000 each year as a pump primer. This, and any further funds raised through it, will support both current and ex- service users in progressing towards sustained employment by funding activities which support their development as peer support workers or experts by experience. This could include one-to-one support, mentoring, reflective practice and access to education and training.
It will also fund the employment of people with the lived experience of personality disorder and complex trauma to deliver and develop training and consultation interventions across the NHS and other providers.
The establishment of the Service User Involvement Fund reflects the increasing recognition that supporting service users to progress towards sustainable employment is a fundamental part of ensuring mental health services meet the needs of those they serve.
Dr Oliver Dale, Chair of the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust and Clinical Lead for Personality Disorder Pathway at West London Mental Health NHS Trust commented that it was really important to co-deliver services as this was a very powerful way of helping people to recover as well as a way of challenging stigma. The success of the Knowledge and Understanding Framework as well as Recovery Colleges was something to be proud of, but we need a way of helping people take up these opportunities. He added that he looked forward to seeing the fund grow in future years, and encouraged people to support the Charitable Trust through fundraising and spreading the word.