Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Samaritans conference - self harm and those left behind after suicide

On a sunny September morning I was privileged to join the lovely staff and volunteers of the Samaritans conference for the second year running. http://www.samaritans.org/

They have a lovely system of designating a 'host' to meet and greet you and generally look after you as a speaker. It is a really friendly and useful gesture and much appreciated - thank you Hazel.

The Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.

The theme of the conference was to look at issues of self harm and those left behind after suicide. I included these aspects in my presentation.

Useful websites I have found are:-

Self harm information

The Site has many ‘problem’ areas but the self harm section has information on recovery, advice and support
National Self Harm network – useful download on helping others
A comprehensive source of self-injury information, includes definitions, explanations of why, etiology and demographics.

Those left behind after suicide information

SMHAI strives to be the most comprehensive and informative Survivor network available anywhere.
Tips and groups for mutual support for survivors in the aftermath of suicide
Links to more books.
Many links to all aspects of grief
Relevant information and resources.
After suicide: a guide for those left behind

In addition The Samaritans had been given a session on dealing with those left behind after suicide and had all been given a copy of an excellent booklet called 'Help is at Hand' - a resource for people bereaved by suicide and other sudden, traumatic death.
This is a Department of Health publication and is available here http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4139006

I listened to a wonderful presentation by their Chair to almost 95% of their delegates in the final session. How many conferences have that level at their close? She gave several statistics which amazed me ... a person takes their own life in the UK and Republic of Ireland every 94 minutes. The Samaritans take a call every 7 seconds. Their service is very much needed and looks to be going from strength to strength.

Thank you for having me and many thanks to those so kind enough to send me their wonderful comments on my presentation. They keep me going on with my mission!

Oh and I learnt something .... it is not a good idea to carry a full Sunday lunch and dessert on a tray in one hand and a trolley case in the other AND wear white jeans! Oops! Who was a drama queen in the restaurant with her lunch literally hanging down her legs?!! Thanks to the lady who provided wet wipes and it was a good job I was going home by car!!!

Elaine Hanzak


Monday, 28 September 2009

NW Perinatal Mental Health Network - 'Assessment of Parenting in UK Mother and Baby Units'

I had the pleasure of presenting my story and messages at the eighth meeting for the Northwest Perinatal Mental Health Network at Wythenshawe Hospital on 23rd September.

We also had a very interesting presentation by Dr A Wieck, Consultant perinatal Psychiatrist and Honorary Senior Lecturer from Wythenshawe Hospital. She spoke about 'Assessment of Parenting in UK Mother and Baby Units'.

There are many studies showing how interactions with their babies are affected if a mother has depressions, e.g.
Stern (2005), Cohn at al (1990), Field (1990) and Murray (1996).
Long term effects may include depression, anxiety and reduced IQ - Halligan (2007), Hay (2008).
There are further complications with mothers who suffer from schizophrenia (Niemi, 2003) , Sameroff (1984), Goodman and Brumley (1990), Naslund (1985), McNeil (1985), Wan (2008).
Parenting outcomes of mothers discharged from Mother and Baby Units have been studied by Salmon (2004), Abel (2005) and Howard (2004). Data was collected from MBU's from 1996 - 2002.
There is no standard way of assessment used for parenting skills but some used are
Bethlem mother/infant interaction scale
Department of health assessment Framework
Provision of Practical and Emotional Care (PPEC, by Seneviratne et al)
Louis Macro
Care Index video assessment

Research is on-going and more needs to be done.

We then listened to a current complex case study of a lady who has a range of complicated issues around her maternal mental health and being able to provide adequately for her baby. I felt that I had hardly suffered in comparison.

The next meeting will be held on 2nd December for interested professionals working in this area.

Elaine Hanzak


Friday, 25 September 2009

Nursing In Practice - London, domestic violence and breast feeding

I was delighted to present at the Nursing in Practice event at London.
Designed specifically to meet the educational needs of practice nurses and other primary care specialists, the programme features an impressive collection of speakers delivering highly topical and relevant presentations.

The venue was the impressive Business Design centre.

I attended an informative session on 'Domestic violence and child protection: practice implications' by Dr. Lorraine Radford, Head of research, NSPCC.
Support services available she listed were:
Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
ChildLine 0800 1111 www.childline.org
Parenting Programmes (NICE report 21A)
Domestic violence perpetrator programmes (Respect 0845 1228 609)
National Association of Child Contact Services

Dr Radford outlined the key areas to be covered
1. Awareness - the impact of domestic violence on children and young people
2. Practice implications - for nurse working directly with adults and with children and young people in the community, in clinics or in hospitals
3. Working together - implications for working with other agencies especially for named nurses and for managers

She also mentioned the NSPCC resource 'Talking to my Mum'. See details here and for other resources. http://www.kingstonlscb.org.uk/dv__bulletin_april_07.pdf

Guidance for healthcare professionals can be found at:-
Department of Health (2005) Responding to domestic abuse: a handbook for health professionals
BMA (2007) Domestic abuse
RCN (2007) Domestic Violence Guidance for Nurses
Home Office(2009) Children and Domestic Violence toolkit
LSCB guidance, e.g. Greater London.

Where there are injuries to a child look at

Useful Books





SCIE Research briefing 25: Children’s and young people’s experiences of domestic violence involving adults in a parenting role
By Anne Worrall, Jane Boylan and Diane Roberts


I had a brief chat with Alison Blenkinsop who was presenting on 'Priming the treasure chest - maximising early breastmilk supply'.
read about her here http://www.gethampshire.co.uk/lifestyle/health_and_beauty/s/2039020_the_lighter_side_to_feeding_a_hungry_baby

We did a book swap and I am looking forward to reading hers - 'Fit to Bust'

Amongst the stand I visited were two charming gentleman from Team24.co.uk
Team24 are the leading medical locum agency specialising in doctor jobs, practice nurse jobs, SHO jobs, general practitioner jobs and other NHS jobs.

Thank you for another great event, Nursing in Practice!

Elaine Hanzak


P.S. Mum came along with me on this trip. She is amazing for finding vouchers and bargains as well as being a star on using London buses! We had an excellent value meal and cocktails at The Roadhouse in Covent Garden for 50% off! Have a look at http://www.london-eating.co.uk/

Thursday, 24 September 2009

New Horizons: Government consults on mental health and wellbeing

The Mental Health Foundation news archive contains stories on mental health issues going back to 2001. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/welcome/ One of their latest links is on New Horizons.

New Horizons: Government consults on mental health and wellbeing

‘New Horizons’ marks a new era in mental health. It sets out a dynamic new approach to improving well-being for the whole population, aiming for the first time to create a powerful alliance that can target the root causes of poor mental health.

More information at: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/information/news/?entryid17=75021

To contribute to the New Horizon consultation please visit www.dh.gov.uk/mentalhealth

Elaine Hanzak


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Support for students and professionals with mental health issues

I have been following a thread on the Mental Health in Higher Education mailings on Support for Students with mental health issues - and professionals.

As part of this I have come across http://www.amian.co.uk .

Life today is complicated and Employees have more to deal with both at work and in the home. Sometimes problems need addressing to avoid increases in absence and decreases in efficiency at work. Confidential Counselling and Psychology can solve these issues.

We provide confidential counselling, well being and support services for your staff, our client base includes the Public Sector, Private Companies, as well as a specific services to Further and Higher Education, including Universites. We are members and contributors to the English Healthy Universities Network.

Work related stress, depression and staff sickness absence are major problems for you the employer, and your staff, costing time, money and even litigation.

Have a look and see if they can be of help to you.

Elaine Hanzak


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Need information about Violence Prevention?

This is a useful website that has a lot of statistics relating to violence prevention. Available through the WHO it has a teach VIP package available free which has powerpoint presentations, teaching notes and student handouts on a variety of topics, gender violence, youth violence, child abuse, etc .


Elaine Hanzak


Monday, 21 September 2009

North East and Cumbria Mother and Baby Unit

Families in the Northumberland area should have access to their specialist Mother and baby unit.
The unit, based on our St George's Park site in Morpeth, cares for women who are experiencing mental health problems and their babies up to 12 months old. These problems may have been present before the birth or have developed afterwards. We admit women from within the Northern Region as we are a Northern Regional Specialist Service. Women can be admitted from outside the Northern Region, following a referral to Dr Walsh, Consultant Psychiatrist. The unit offers a homely atmosphere in which the bonding of a mother and child can continue, while mothers have access to a full range of psychiatric treatment and services appropriate to their needs. Partners and family members are also encouraged to help care for the mothers and babies.

They need to keep their profile up so that mums in their catchment area know that if they need to be admitted they can come to them rather than be admitted without their baby. They are the regional unit for the North East and Cumbria and started 22 years ago although they are now a new build (3 years old) and have 6 beds. It’s a lovely spacious unit and the rooms are en-suite and have double beds so that fathers can stay occasionally as necessary.

I have been contacted by some Mums who speak very highly of the unit!
Keep up the excellent work.

Elaine Hanzak


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Newcastle University /DCSF Relationships Matter Focus Group - Your Involvement Requested

The next phase of this research project being undertaken by the Institute of Health & Society at Newcastle University on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/ is seeking involvement from people from a range of backgrounds and faith groups to contribute to focus groups on relationship issues to try and identify what support people would like to receive to help them to keep their relationships strong.

If you would like to get involved in this project please follow the following contact information:
Online questionnaire - http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ihs/relationshipsmatter/
Relationships Matter blog - http://www.familyandparenting.org/relationshipsComments
Email - Relationships.Matter@newcastle.ac.uk
Write - Relationships Matter, PO Box 1260, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 2FQ
Phone - 0191 222 7963 and talk to Jane, who will put you in touch with one of the researchers.

Elaine Hanzak


Saturday, 19 September 2009

The treatment of PPD should include the mother with the infant

There is some research from Boston about mothers with postpartum depression with suicidal thoughts and their infant interactions.

The joys of motherhood for many women can also lead other new mums to experience postpartum depression and even worse – ideas for committing suicide.

"The treatment of PPD (postpartum depression) should include the mother with the infant -- not the mother alone -- to best remediate the relationship where depressed mothers are often less able to be sensitive and responsive to their babies."

I agree completely! I was separated from my son as a breast feeding mother when I had puerperal psychosis. I now know that was detrimental to us both and not just an everlasting feeling of being 'robbed' of breast feeding. It frustrates me that we still have more specialist Mother and Baby Units in UK prisons than we do in the NHS.

More information at: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/information/news/?entryid17=74939

Elaine Hanzak


Friday, 18 September 2009

Platform event - speakers, buffet and networking!

Last night I attended a networking event arranged by The Centre for Health and Social Development http://www.hopestreetcentre.com/
If you are looking for high quality consultancy, training or research expertise in the public sector and social enterprise then they can help you.

We met at the impressive Liverpool Medical Institute http://www.lmi.org.uk/.

The evening was the second Platform event http://www.hopestreetcentre.com/news/shw-detail.asp?id=172 and there will be more planned for later in the year.

The speakers were Dr. David Colin-Thomé, National Clinical Director for Primary Care
and Fay Selvan of Big Life Group http://www.tie-uk.org/TGS/EM/viewevent/viewEventPT?id_event=3073

During a very tasty buffet I chatted to a number of people including Emma Beck, a client director from Place. http://www.place-group.com/ Place Group provides consultancy, programme management and delivery services which are focused on driving the best possible outcomes for young people, their families and their communities. Their services have been designed to guide you and your stakeholders on a journey of transformation.

Also to Helen from Active 8 Success - http://www.active8success.org.uk/
Active 8 Success deliver high quality support to enable young adults with mental health issues to fulfill their inherent potential.
Based in Birkenhead, Merseyside we provide young adults with a personalised, responsive, and ‘client-led’ service.

I also chatted to Jo, a nurse practitioner from Blacon Children's centre http://www.help4me.info/service.aspx?serviceid={77FB110B-6763-413B-A6EE-CBD0D1713CB1} and told her about the day programme I have for such centres with my colleague Ann Girling, a health visitor.

Thank you to the Hope Centre for an informative evening and the opportunity to network. When is the next one?!

Elaine Hanzak


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Bonding with your toddler after Postnatal Illness

Many of the books talk about bonding with your new born baby but if you have suffered from mental health issues as a new mother bonding difficulties can continue at a later stage.

Recently a mum asked for ideas to help this. I reassured her by saying that many children will express a preference at times for their dad, grandparents or significant other. As a recovering mum this can make you feel even more guilt and convince you that you are a failure! It can be so very hard when they reach out to others when you so need them to want you.

Be patient. Be kind to yourself and the bond WILL grow.

Here are some further sites with useful ideas.






Good luck!

Elaine Hanzak


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Nursing in Practice event, Cardiff

Following on from my presentation for Nursing in Practice event at Manchester, I went to Cardiff to repeat it there.

The night before I had dinner at Strada at Mermaid Quay and have to say the three young men who served us had the best customer service I have experienced in a long while - the food was good too.

I had a wonderful evening with Terry Stuart, a Cardiff GP who also is a very successful speaker, mainly on stress management. Have a look at his work here http://www.tmpsrelax.co.uk/

The event was held at the impressive City Hall. http://www.cardiffcityhall.com/

I had a wander around the many exhibits but the following caught my attention:-

The Queen's Nursing Institute http://www.qni.org.uk/ the charity dedicated to improving patient care by supporting community nurses.

The new Nutricia Fortisip Compact food supplement which gives an extra 60% energy - http://www.nutricia-clinical-care.co.uk/asp/show_subject.asp?brand_id=13&market_id=4&lng_id=1&lng2_id=1&id=358&pageId=18

But I feel I must say what a pleasure it was to meet a wonderful group of people from The Healing Trust. Healing is a natural therapy where healing energy is thought to be channelled by the healer through to the healee. However, they stressed that one of their huge benefits was to listen to people - so important! This service is available across the UK and could be another source of support from those suffering from postnatal depression. Have a look for a healer in your area at http://www.nfsh.org.uk/

I also spoke to ladies from the Open University http://www.open.ac.uk/ as I am currently doing some critical reading for one of their new courses on mental health nursing.

One of the presentations I was especially interested in was from Dr. Heather Currie who is a specialist gynaecologist and obstetrician. As I face a hysterectomy next month I want to learn about her area of the menopause! We ended up travelling on the same train later so shared plenty of information! For anything about this subject take a look at her excellent award winning site at http://www.menopausematters.co.uk/ . They are planning a weekend retreat which sounds wonderful!

Health professionals may also like to look at The British Menopause Society at http://www.thebms.org.uk/

If you need information on Premenstrual Syndrome look at http://www.pms.org.uk/

On our train journey with Arriva I must comment on the excellent service two fellow passengers who were visually impaired received from the train manager and young lady from the restaurant. They were so polite and helpful - a credit to their company. http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/home.aspx?LangType=1033

Thank you to the Nursing in Practice team for another successful event and looking after me so well again - I lok forward to the next one in London!

Elaine Hanzak


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Raphael Healthcare - Delivering Care without Compromise

A few years ago when I first started on my passion to speak about mental health I did some sales work as a second job. Whilst business networking at http://www.theheath.com/ for that I chatted to Arthur Robinson from Raphael Healthcare with a view to my sales but ended up speaking to his new staff at their first hospital for women with mental health issues at The Farndon Unit in Newark! You never know what you may get from networking!

Read about Raphael Healthcare here: http://www.raphaelhealthcare.org.uk/

Raphael Healthcare is established to become a market leader in the provision of the highest quality services for women with a diagnosis of mental illness and/or personality disorder.

We will strive to provide the best care within the finest buildings, providing high quality environments for our patients and staff to enjoy.

Our first hospital, The Farndon Unit in Newark, Nottinghamshire is now fully operational.
Raphael Healthcare are also planning to develop a number of secure units for females across the UK.

We are currently on preferred providers of Low Secure Services for the West Midlands, the East Midlands and South West region Commissioning teams .

Delighted to see your progress Arthur!

Elaine Hanzak


Monday, 14 September 2009

BBC Radio Manchester, adoption, lies and history!

This morning I was a guest again on BBC Radio Manchester for Heather Stott's coffee club from 9 to 10 am.

Fellow guests were Chris, an antique dealer and Julie, a BA flight attendant. Our task was to chat about some items from the days news.
We talked about Elton John's comments about wanting to adopt a child.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/6186641/Elton-Johns-adoption-plan-criticised.html
I spoke about my brother who went to Zimbabwe many years ago to do Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) http://www.vso.org.uk/. He met his wife at the village he was teaching in. She had two daughters and a son. My brother adopted the two little girls and finally came back to the UK when troubles in their native land became too dangerous. One daughter is now training to be an accountant and the other is a staff nurse - she got married in Harare two weeks ago to her childhood sweetheart. Pictured are my parents, the happy couple and my brother and his wife - plus other adorable little girls! We feel very proud of Kevin and for all he and his family have achieved. Dominic and I were sorry not to make it to the wedding. Through adoption those little girls, now charming adults, have been able to make the most of opportunities available to them and also to 'give' to others.

We also spoke about the news today that cancer patients who have a positive attitude have a better quality of life. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-207733/Positive-attitude-doesnt-help-cancer.html
It concerns me that sometimes treatments only look at the main focus, e.g the physical aspects, but forget or have no time to address the 'whole' person. Yet the one helps the other. I know when I was suffering severe depression and psychosis I did not feel I wanted to eat properly, was unable to sleep and could not be bothered to exercise. All these impacted on my physical health too. My message is to tackle all these areas in tiny steps - don't aim to run a marathon, just walk up and downstairs an extra couple of times. Little by little along with practical and emotional support progress will be made.

We also talked about the feature today on lying! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1213171/Men-lie-times-day-twice-women-study-finds.html It seems that one of the biggest we all do is to say that nothing is wrong and we are 'fine'. I hear this so often especially between health professionals and patients! In our society we are almost conditioned to say 'I'm fine' when asked how we are. Generally people don't want to know about our bunions or leaky pipes! But when we do actually care and instinctively feel the person isn't 'fine', what's the worse that can happen if you look them in the eye, place your hand on their forearm and ask 'but are you really?' Often this can open the flood gates to the truth. One Mum suffering from postnatal depression said 'Huh! Fine! That really means I am fed up, insecure, neurotic and emotional!'. So the next time someone says they are fine ...

The fact that the number of pupils studying History GCSE is declining was also covered. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/sep/13/secondary-pupils-drop-history As a former school teacher I am not sorry to have left the profession due to the constraints of the National Curriculum. When I started teaching we had plans but also the flexibility to take advantage of our pupil's interest and experiences which gave rise to useful and effective learning. Dominic has just returned from a fabulous trip with his Dad to the USA. He has hundreds of films and photographs of the flora, fauna, geography and history of the National Parks they went to. He is so passionate and enthused by it and eager to tell us all what he learnt. We suggested he did a presentation to his class. He explained that others in his class also have things they wish to share but the message is the same - 'no time due to National Curriculum'. What a shame that enthusiasm and relevant and meaningful opportunities for learning are wasted.

Thank you for inviting me Heather and to Chris and Julie for your company.

Elaine Hanzak


Saturday, 12 September 2009

Need some tips to raise your energy levels?

You make find some of these tips useful to stay energized through the day.

From http://www.yogabugs.com/become-a-franchisee/top-ten-tips.aspx


When you wake up in the morning, take 10 slow & deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth.


Don’t hop out of bed in a rush – take your time and roll over onto your side, bring your knees up to your chest, let your feet roll over the side of the bed and then have a good stretch!


As a nation we tend to shower in very hot water… if you can bare to do this – you will feel so energized for the rest of the day – turn the shower slowly to cool… have 30 seconds at the end of your shower in cold water – you will get out of the shower feeling fantastic! Try it! TOP


Breakfast like a King and do not rush it. We naturally recommend fruit, low sugar cereal, home made smoothies and non caffeine drinks…!


Try and get some exercise on your way to work – walk, cycle, run... Not possible for all of us, but if you have to drive, park your car at the other side of the office car park and walk those few extra steps to get the heart going.


For those of you seated at a desk all day, common complaints are stiffness in the neck and shoulders and lower back from looking at a pc. Try and give yourself regular short breaks. Simple things you can do whilst on the phone or on the pc:·

* Neck stretches – lifting your right arm up over your head placing on your left ear, let your head fall to right side whilst applying a little pressure to create lovely stretch along left side of neck – repeat on other side· Head rotations – let head drop to front and rotate to left and to the right. Life head backwards and rotate left & right as well. Do not roll in full circle.
* Shoulder lifts and rolls – lifting your shoulders and rotate clockwise & anticlockwise
* Ankle rotations – move feet & ankles in clockwise & anticlockwise movements.
* For people who suffer stiffness and pain in the lower back, find a surface that is level with your hips (kitchen counter, water cooler, photocopier!), stand up and lean forward with arms stretched out over surface, let your head drop. Breath in and as you breath out let your head drop a little further into this stretch. Or find somewhere you can kneel down, have knees hip width apart and put your forehead on the floor and arms along your side. Again as you breath in, let your body fall into the stretch further. We call this child pose in yoga and it is a wonderfully relaxing pose but really helps stretch out stiffness in the lower back.
* Lastly, for those of us who do sit at a desk all day, and struggle to make it to the gym on a regular basis, you may start to loose strength in the abdominal area. A simple challenge to introduce throughout the day, is pull your tummy in and hold for 10, then 20 and then 30 seconds at a time. I do this whilst sitting on hold, or waiting for someone to answer the phone.
* Taking this one step further you can work on your pelvic floor area - simply pretend you are pulling up the zip on your jeans… I will leave that to your imagination!


By 11am most people are clock watching and hungry, but it’s not time for lunch yet… so have some pick-me-up snacks in your desk draw – our recommendations – a banana or some dried fruit, handful of nuts or pumpkin seeds.


If you get tired and lethargic after lunch, you need to try food combining… what does this mean? Simply don’t mix your proteins and carbohydrates. It’s not the Aitkens Diet –we strongly recommend everyone eats Carbs, but just don’t mix them with proteins. After a day of following this routine you will feel amazing. And lastly – leave it an hour after any meal before you eat fruit. It messes with the digestive juices and can create an imbalance in your energy levels.


Try our 4pm slump energizer: Not only will it re-invigorate you but may even raise a smile or two in the office!

* Standing with feet hips width apart and your hands by your side, raise your arms up to shoulder height in front of you and take a short breath in through your nose
* Take them out to the sides, still shoulder height and take another short breath in through your nose
* Take both arms straight up above your head and take a last short breath in through your nose.
* Now bend your knees as you sweep your arms down and fold forward as you breathe out through your mouth with a long exhalation and making an aaaah sound – but this is optional in the office environment!
* This should be repeated between 10 and 20 times getting faster and faster or until co-ordination in lost!


Make sure you drink lots of water throughout the day, try to avoid caffeine; have 1 minute of focused breathing every hour and make sure you get some fresh air throughout the day.

Lastly, remember to smile every now and then – it warms up the face muscles and without noticing you will feel happier!

Elaine Hanzak


Friday, 11 September 2009

Questions on postnatal illness with Bounty and Greatvine

As part of my connection with Greatvine www.greatvine.com/elaine_hanzak I have put some answers to common questions around postnatal illness. You may find them helpful.

My baby is one and I still feel depressed - could this still be PND?

I want another baby but suffered badly with PND with my first child

I'm scared I've got PND - are there any pills for it?

I longed for my baby, but now I just can't seem to bond with him

I thought I'd be blooming, but I just feel so depressed

Relationship problems since baby was born

Elaine Hanzak


Thursday, 10 September 2009

Stressed? Take a break ...

I have received this message via my Linked-In contacts.

Stressed? Take a break and give your brain a massage with FREE online therapies based on sounds and music

Are you stressed? no problem, take a break at job and give your brain a 10' restorative massage with free online therapies bases on sounds and music that you can find in Mentallion.com. These therapies use the technology of brainwave entrainment and binaural beats.

The link is here:


Elaine Hanzak


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Guide for Separated Parents

I have received this message from one of my contacts at MATCH http://www.matchmothers.org/

If you did not read the first version of Nick and Karen Woodall's book originally published in 2007, I would advise getting hold of the updated version which has just been published. Chapter summaries are outlined below.

This is an extremely helpful, balanced, objective book covering major issues experienced by parents following family breakdown. This is a must read, particularly for all new parents whose relationship has just broken down and they wish to do the very best for their children in establishing new and positive co-parenting arrangements with their former partner.


The Guide for Separated Parents

Putting Your Children First
Karen & Nick Woodall (Piatkus 2009)

Children from separated families fare best when they have close relationships with both of their parents, and when their parents communicate and co operate. In this practical and reassuring guide, Karen and Nick Woodall draw on years of experience of helping separated parents resolve conflict over children that can arise during and after separation. They provide strategies and tools to help you communicate with your ex partner about every aspect of your children's lives.

Packed with case studies, The Guide for Separated Parents illustrates how separations affect families in different ways and shows you that, whatever you are going through, you are not alone.

Chapter One: All about you
Examines personal experiences from the point of view of the leaver and the left and offers tips on how to survive during the early days and as time moves on.

Chapter Two: Your relationship with your ex partner
Deals with the process of separation, common causes of conflict between separating parents and tips on how to avoid them or deal with them.

Chapter Three: Your children
Explores children's experiences of family separation, how boys and girls of different ages may react and ways to help them feel safe in a changing family environment.

Chapter Four: You and your children
Looks at parenting alone, from developing new parenting patterns to learning new parenting responsibilities and creating new routines for your children.

Chapter Five: Your Children and their other parent
Analyses how you can facilitate a good relationship between your children and their other parent, including how to communicate better and what to do if it all goes wrong.

Chapter Six: Your new separated family
Summarises the road ahead, looking at issues such as how to agree new parenting arrangements, agreeing shared parenting values and what to do about new partners.

Chapter Seven: Our final thoughts
Family separation is a process rather than an event. It can be painful and difficult but, through self reflection and a willingness to co operate, it is possible to build a post separation parenting relationship that is satisfying for you and ensures that your children will remain secure and grow to reach their full potential.

For more details see


Elaine Hanzak


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Attachment and Psychopathology course in Manchester

Central Manchester University Hospital NHS trust http://www.nhs.uk/servicedirectories/Pages/Trust.aspx?id=RW3 are holding a 5 day course by Patricia McKinsey Crittenden, Ph.D. on Attachment and Psychopathology at Chancellors Conference Centre, Fallowfield, Manchester on 19th, 20th & 21st April 2010 then 14th & 15th June 2010. Cost is £580(Attendance of all 5 days compulsory).
Hosted by Manchester Children & Parents Service (CAPS) http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118634288/abstract and Caroline White, Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Enquiries to Maxine Crawley
Tel: 0161 203 3263 Fax: 0161 203 3253 Email:maxine.crawley@cmft.nhs.uk

Patricia Crittenden has many years experience as an academic and practitioner in the fields of child abuse, attachment theory, and family therapy. After her training with Mary Ainsworth, she served on the Faculties of Psychology at the Universities of Virginia and Miami. She has held visiting positions at the Universities of Helsinki and Bologna, as well as the Clark Institute of Psychiatry (Canada), San Diego State University (USA0, and Edith Cowan University (Australia). She is well known for having developed the Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) of attachment and adaptation and is one of the founders of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (IASA). In 2004, she received a Career Achievement Award from the European Family Therapy Association. In addition, she has published more than 100 scientific papers and several books.

Course Overview

This 5 day course focuses on the development, prevention and treatment of psychological disorder using an Attachment framework. The course considers development from infancy to adulthood, emphasising implications for psychological wellbeing and the development of psychological and psychiatric disorders. A particular emphasis is cultural influences on Attachment. The model used is the Dynamic Maturational Model (DMM) of Attachment and Adaptation which underpins and is a prerequisite to training in assessment tools including the CARE Index, Strange Situation and Adult Attachment Interview. The course is structured developmentally and consists of lecture with slides, video examples, role playing, case studies and interview transcripts. Reading materials and clinical tools such as the Level of Family Functioning Scale are available to take away.
Targeted Audience
The course will be of value to anyone working with infants, children, adolescents, adults or families in prevention, clinical or forensic settings. The course will be relevant to statutory agencies (health, education and social care), the voluntary sector and community organisations.

See full details here

Elaine Hanzak


Need literacy resources for deaf children?

ITV has launched a major web-based initiative to improve the literacy of
thousands of deaf children.

www.signedstories.com, is a unique free online library of signed books and is ITV’s contribution to the 2008 National Year of Reading.

Backed by twelve leading UK publishers, The National Literacy Trust and a
host of stage, screen, literary and sporting icons, Signed Stories features
the best of contemporary children’s books in sign language with audio,
animation and text.

The £1.5 million initiative is designed to enable deaf children to access stories
at a much earlier age, and share in the joy and benefit of storytelling with
hearing family and friends.

Elaine Hanzak


Monday, 7 September 2009

Children's Centre training on PND - inspirational!

For a long while I have realised that there are many of the staff based in Children's Centres who are in an ideal position to help support families affected by poor maternal mental health. Earlier in the year I spoke to an audience of multi-agency staff in St. Helen's. From this one of the family support coordinators approached me for further training for her staff at Sutton Children's centre. To add to my personal experience and knowledge and teamed up with Ann Girling, a former health visitor who now offers support for women affected by illness or trauma (see her website at http://www.onthethreshold.co.uk/) to offer a full day on the subject.

We had 100% attendance from several of the St. Helen's Children's Centres and the enthusiasm in the room was fantastic all day.
I shared my story and information and Ann added to it with her professional and personal knowledge too.

During the day we discussed other sources of support in the area for themselves and to signpost families to - an impressive list was created:-

Children’s centre (CC)
CAF – Common Assessment framework – Every Child Matters
Midwives link to CC
Heath visitors – listening visits, assessment e.g. with EDPS
Panda support group at Newton-le-Willows
Mother and Baby groups based a CC – massage, yoga, etc.
Family support team (part of CC)
Home Start
Aqua-natal classes
Universal visiting (from CC)
Baby clinic
Teenage pregnancy support group
Counselling services and charity groups
La Leche breast feeding support
‘Bumps to birth’ group at CC

Ann and I would like to thank Gina for asking us to do the training and for her help in making the day possible and also to all those who attended for being such a responsive group.

We were delighted with the feedback, e.g.
Workshop ticked all the boxes – interesting, informative, relevant and enjoyable.
Didn’t really have any expectations other than to receive information but the session has been inspirational.
I really found all of it useful, particularly Elaine’s story paired with Ann’s professional view and experience. Fantastic, I feel much more knowledgeable about PND now.
The whole workshop was useful and I had little to no knowledge on the subject and felt it a big chunk of my working practice depended on having an awareness and how to approach the issue with families/mothers and colleagues.
Great as both a mum who has had similar experiences and as a practitioner supporting vulnerable women.

Please let us know if we can help you too!

Elaine Hanzak


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Mersey Care NHS Trust at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting

I had an early start today to attend the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce http://www.liverpoolchamber.org.uk/ breakfast meeting held at The Mocha Lounge. http://www.themochalounge.co.uk/

The speakers were from Mersey Care NHS Trust.
Christine Hughes
Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications
Mersey Care NHS Trust

Dr Mandy Chivers
Assistant Chief Executive
Mersey Care NHS Trust

Programme details read

Mersey Care is the main provider of specialist mental health care for Liverpool, Sefton and Kirkby. We also provide medium secure and forensic services for the North West, and high secure services (from Ashworth Hospital) for the people of the North West, West Midlands and Wales. We employ 5400 people and have an income of around 196m per annum.

As new members of the Liverpool Chamber, we want to

share our expertise in understanding mental health issues and their relationship to the world of work and business;

secure your help in challenging stigma attached to mental illness

support the local economy and local businesses ;

share our experiences as leaders in innovation and creativity;

Mandy reminded us that
1. Mental health issues cost British businesses £25 billion!
2. Depression poses the second highest burden of disease.

Leading Edge companies are taking this seriously, a new perspective on health and wellbeing for individuals and organisations is emerging.

Mandy outlined the Five main areas to improve well being, as listed by the New Economics Foundation
1. Connect
2. Be Active
3. Take Notice
4. Keep Learning
5. Give


Well-being is one of our most important ends, as individuals and as societies. But despite unprecedented economic prosperity we do not necessarily feel better individually or as communities. For example data shows that whilst economic output in the UK has nearly doubled in the last 30 years, happiness levels have remained flat.

The centre for well-being at nef seeks to understand, measure and influence well-being. In particular we ask the question 'what would policy making and the economy look like if their main aim were to promote well-being?'

Mandy also described the key components of organisational health as:-
1. Interrelationships: Relationships, knowledge flow, social networks
2. Identity: clarity of purpose, shared goals and values
3. Autonomy: capacity to take action
4. Resilience: Flexibility, innovation and problem solving.

These are based on http://www.institute.nhs.uk/quality_and_value/introduction/organisational_health:_a_new_perspective_on_performance_improvement%3F.html
Organisational health - NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

Mersey Care is conducting a formal public consultation on becoming a Foundation Trust equivalent and you are invited to Join in.
The Trust intends to consult widely with members of the public, staff, service users and carers, their partners and other stakeholders.
For full details see http://www.merseycare.nhs.uk/foundation_trust/Consultation_meetings.asp

Mandy also suggested links to

Topical debate from Prof. Tudor Rickards

Action Learning; Northern Network. Merseycare Care website: Learning Zone

Thank you LCC, fellow members, Mandy and Christine for an enjoyable start to the day!

Elaine Hanzak