The Belfast Mental Health Rights Group was one of the first groups PPR worked with, and have been together since 2006. Their members have personal or family experience of mental health issues and suicide/self harm. The group led a successful campaign for a ‘Card Before You Leave’ (CBYL) appointments system for mental health patients to ensure those in mental health crisis left Accident and Emergency Departments with a card  bearing the date of their next appointment. This change was put in place across Northern Ireland.

Since 2013, PPR’s work on mental health has grown across Northern Ireland, and we now also work with groups with direct experience of mental health services in Draperstown and Cookstown.

The Mental Health Rights Campaign group, which includes people affected by mental health issues and families bereaved by suicide, will present new Health Minister, Jim Wells with almost 1000 pledges of support from across Northern Ireland. Support has also been received from MLAs from all parties at the Stormont Health Committee.

A new mental health rights campaign has been launched by groups in response to the outcome of a recent survey which revealed that 9 out of 10 mental health service users and their carers don’t have enough information about where to go for help when in mental health crisis (March 2014).

As one person who was surveyed put it: “There are people out there who are not well and they don’t know where to go”

 

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Professor Paul Hunt has issued a message of support to the Mental Health Rights Campaign's call on the Health & Social Care Board to include mental health in 'Choose Well'. Choose Well is a government public information campaign which provides information about where to go for medical treatment. Currently no information about mental health is included in Choose Well.

Professor Hunt commended the work of the Mental Health Rights Campaign groups and stated;

PPR's submission to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Inquiry into emergency health care highlights the serious and systemic problems with mental health service design and delivery at A&E settings in Northern Ireland which have consistently failed the most vulnerable.

Groups launch research report Time to Listen, Time to Act

Groups from across Northern Ireland gathered in Cookstown to mark the launch of the Mental Health Rights Campaign research report, Time to Listen; Time to Act. Holding mental health services to account. Highlights from the evening included speakers from Belfast Mental Health Rights Group, STEPS Group and SAM88 who spoke about key issues within the research including; follow up care for those leaving A&E (Card Before You Leave), having enough information about where to go to get help and how government involve people in the decisions they make about mental health services.

BMHRG Pittam Award

The innovative and inspiring work of the Belfast Mental Health Rights Group has been formally recognised in the decision to jointly award them the first ever Stephen Pittam Social Justice Award.

Plans for Emergency Departments

PPR have expressed concern about the Health and Social Care Board's plans to reconfigure Belfast's Emergency Departments in a public consultation. The plans, which will see the permanent closure of Belfast City Hospital's Emergency Department do not adequately assess the potential impact on the most vulnerable.

PPR's concerns about the Transforming Your Care proposals for the future of the health system in Northern Ireland include issues surrounding privitisation, procurement, governance and the rationale for change.

The Belfast Mental Health Rights Group have expressed their concern that the Card Before You Leave Scheme could be at risk. The scheme launched in 2011 by Minister for Health Michael McGimpsey (pictured) has been positively evaluated by the Health and Social Care Board, and has resulted in the number of mental health patients who do not attend their follow up appointments falling by almost half, yet indications have been made that it is 'under review'.

BMHRG Workshop

During the last 6 years the Belfast Mental Health Rights Group (BMHRG) have gathered evidence about problems in mental health services from other service users and carers through surveys, case studies and focus groups. BMHRG held workshops showcasing the CBYL campaign using a short film they made called, ‘What We Know About Change’.

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