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.

 

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’.

BMHRG

A big thanks from Belfast Mental Health Rights Group to everyone who attended their ‘Services at Breaking Point: Fighting to Have our Voices Heard’ event on Wednesday 16th May at the MAC in Belfast. For more details on the event and to download the group's report please click below.

My Brother Could Have Been Saved

Julie Magee lost her brother to suicide in tragic circumstances on 29th January 2011. Jonny’s mental health had deteriorated rapidly over the last week of his life and in the early morning of Saturday 29th, he walked out of A&E at Belfast City Hospital after waiting for several hours to be sectioned. He took is own life later that day. Despite a terrible year for her and her family, Julie has fought and succeeded to ensure that families bereaved by suicide are treated with more respect by the health service.

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