Thursday, 22 October 2009

Signing off for a little while!

Tomorrow I am going in hospital for surgery and have been advised to take a little time off.

So there is likely to be a bit of a gap in postings here for a while.

Please keep in touch by email as I will look at them every now and then but please be patient for a reply.

If urgent please contact Clive via

Best wishes!

Elaine Hanzak

International Infection Prevention Week

Since this is International Infection Prevention Week, perhaps the readers of my Blog would be interested to know that Kimberly-Clark Health Care is on the forefront of protecting patients from Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) and has put together a campaign dedicated to that prevention called HAI Watch: Not on My Watch.

They've created a site that has information for both healthcare professionals and healthcare consumers.

Find it here

Elaine Hanzak

Home Start volunteers - great people!

On Tuesday this week I had the pleasure of presenting my story and knowledge around postnatal depression to Home Start volunteers in St. Helens.

I highly recommend this charity if you know of a family with children under 5 years old who need some extra support.

They help to increase the confidence and independence of families by:

* Visiting families in their own homes to offer support, friendship and practical assistance
* Reassuring parents that their childcare problems are not unusual or unique
* Encouraging parents' strengths and emotional well-being for the ultimate benefit of their children
* Trying to get the fun back into family life

So who do you know who needs this support? Or have you time to spare to become a volunteer?

Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

'Childbirth sparked mum's mental hell'

One of the mums who has been in contact with me is making an impact on spreading awareness of puerperal psychosis at the moment.

Joanne was on GMTV last week and now has been featured in her local paper.

Keep up the good work Joanne!

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The Baby Show and

On Friday I went down to London for the day to be on a stand with other experts at The Babyshow with offers you individual advice and support, by phone,
direct from the country's best experts.

We've hand-picked the finest professionals so you receive help you can trust.
Together, the experts have more than 2,000 years of experience helping the public.

1. Choose an expert
2. Book a call
3. Dial in for individual, trustworthy advice

The Baby Show
was packed with relevant stands, information and demonstrations. Also lots of freebies which I collected for my sister and Clive's niece who are both expecting babies.

It was a great opportunity to chat to some of the other of the experts listed on the Greatvine site.

These included:

Maggie Howell, who has some great CD's and products on natal hypnotherapy.

Delphi Ellis - who has a wealth of knowledge on antenatal depression (see posting on my blog on this).

Jo Tantum, specialist in sleep and twins.

Caroline Cosgrove, who has Baby Concierge shopping services - brilliant to save time for any mums to be.

Geraldine Lee, a nurse and personal development coach in women's mental health.

A fitness expert Vicky Warr

I also had a chat with the editor of Prima Baby who were one of the main sponsors of the event.

Judging by the calibre of the dynamic team at and the quality of the experts I had the pleasure of meeting it is a fantastic source of advice for people.
Have a look!

Elaine Hanzak

Monday, 19 October 2009

Antenatal depression

Several people in the past have asked me about antenatal depression and as I did not experience it I feel I cannot comment on it. However, I now know a lady who can!

Whilst at The Baby Show in London on Friday with I met another expert. Delphi Ellis did suffer from antenatal depression and has set up a website to help others called Depression in Pregnancy Care. Visit

It was great to meet up with Delphi and we found we had much in common.

Her other website is linked with her profession as helping with holistic wellness using the power of dreams.
She was on This Morning today with Phillip and Holly.

See her Greatvine profile at

See my profile at

Keep up the excleent work Delphi!

Elaine Hanzak

Some new useful links to improve life!

In the last week I have met some amazing people whose work may be of interest.

I had a meeting with Beverley from to talk about mental health and the workplace.
She shares an interest with me in emotional well being, with a particular passion for homeopathy.
Have a look at The Society of Homeopaths at

I attended a breakfast meeting for the Centre for Leadership Development held at Liverpool Hope University

These events are run by John Howey,their Business Development manager.

The wonderful Molly Harvey, The Corporate Soul Woman, gave the seminar talk.

Molly Harvey, Corporate Soul Woman, is a world-class business speaker and author of books on topics including ‘Leadership Development’ and ‘Executive Improvement’.

She helps Chief Executives, leaders and managers get even better by achieving positive lasting change in their own behaviour and the behaviour of their teams.

One of her greatest skills is working with the board of directors to help them clarify and simplify the organisation’s vision and strategy.

To inspire at such an early hour is a true gift and talent! One of the questions she asked was for those who were happy in their jobs - to those who did not put up their hands she challenged them to find their passion. I am delighted to say I was in the former group!

One of the principles of good patient care I speak about is for getting the Zest back into life - the fun and spirit. In recent months several people have mentioned Stephanie Davies from Laughlogy to me. . She is the next speaker at The Centre for Leadership Development in Liverpool on 19th November. See their website or email for details.

I just hope Clive doesn't make me laugh too much after my operation this Friday! It seems I need to learn a special technique to hold my stitches if I laugh!!

I had a lovely weekend in the Yorkshire Dales with Dominic - walking in the outdoors is a great stress buster and we had a brilliant time. He we are after climbing up the waterfall at Gordale Scar.

We were most impressed with the village of Malham, and have vowed when I am fit enough again we shall return.

Elaine Hanzak

Networking tips at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce

I was asked to do a 'new' presentation on 15th October - on networking skills for
new members at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. The idea was to get people
talking to each other and not listening to me! That was a challenge as I
normally expect my audiences to listen not talk!

However, armed with my experiences of networking over the last four years
and hints picked up from Will Kintish and Clive Gott I put my own version together.

Feeling a little like the school teacher I used to be I had to use a whistle
to break the conversations that quickly filled the room and I was delighted
with the buzz!

I was asked for my hints, so here they are:-

If you invest selflessly at networking events and go with an approach of
getting to know people and seeking how to help them, it will be far more
effective in the long run than a 'hard sell' approach.

Go alone or if with a colleague, separate from them - you can talk to them

Wear your name badge on the right, so when you give a firm handshake and
hear a name your eye goes to the written version too, so making it easier to

Ladies - ditch the handbag and leave hands free for greeting others.

Business cards - make sure they have information on both sides otherwise
your naked back will be used as a notepad for someone else's details!

When you ask for a card, make a comment on something about it.

People do business with people they like, so instead of talking 'business'
ask and LISTEN to questions about hobbies, interests, favourite restaurants.
Share history, e.g. area you were born, where you went to school.

A fun activity is to find something unusual you have in common. At one event
I discovered a mutual admiration for a fish and chip shop in Ullapool!

After the event - follow-up.

a. Look at the attendance list and if there was someone you wanted to
meet but didn't, ask the Chamber to introduce you.

b. Send a friendly e-mail next day.

c. Contact via social networking sites, e.g. Twitter, Linked-In,
Facebook, Chamber of Commerce.

d. Send a 'saw this and thought of you' information, event, etc.
linked to one of their interests

e. Arrange a meeting.

Best networking tools? SMILE and be positive!

Thank you Liverpool Chamber staff and members for an enjoyable evening.

Elaine Hanzak

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Can we improve levels of patient care outlined by CQC today?

Below standard levels of patient care have been highlighted today by a report.

One in eight NHS trusts has been told it must urgently improve the care it provides, by a new regulator publishing ratings on England's 392 trusts.

The assessments by the Care Quality Commission show a drop in the number of hospitals meeting basic standards in areas such as hygiene and safety.

But it also said more services than ever could be rated good or excellent.

From April, the CQC will gain new powers to be able to shut any of the 47 underachieving trusts down.

As a await an operation next week I could be worried by such a report! However, having already been an emergency patient in the hospital and ward I am going back to I am not concerned.

But I am aware that many NHS staff feel pressurised by all the targets and morale is very low. Maybe we need to remind them of what patients really want?

Have a look at my video here on what I feel matters, and others have endorsed.

Those who have heard my full presentation tell me that I remind them of why they originally entered the profession! More content staff has to lead to improved patient satisfaction.

Have you heard my presentation? Can you tell me how your performance and patient satisfaction has been affected?

Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Mental health-substance use - authors needed!

Via my networks I have recieved this plea for authors from David Cooper:-

I wonder if I might seek your help finding three authors for a series of 6 textbooks I am editing for Radcliffe Publishing, due for publication in 2010 please? The series is: Mental health-substance use. I have yet to identify the last three authors (of 90), and it is here I hope to gain your help please. The contribution is International, selecting authorities in given areas of expertise, including Carlo DiClemente, Phil Barker, Lorne Korman, Kim Mueser, Christine Barrowclough, etc.

I am having problems identifying authors to complete these chapters:

1: Book 2 - Chapter 2: Historical policy approaches to mental health-substance. This chapter is in Book 2 - Providing and developing services in mental health-substance use - this is a theoretical based textbook. The word count is: 3000 and the deadline is short at 30 November 2009 (at the latest).

3: Book 2 - Chapter 8: Guidelines for working with mental health-substance use. This chapter is in Book 2 - Providing and developing services in mental health-substance use - this is a theoretical based textbook and this chapter needs to examine current International guidance and bring together best practice as well as develop forward thinking on approaches to this fast developing area of intervention and treatment . The word count is: 5000 and the deadline is short at 30 November 2009 (at the latest).

2: Book 6 - Chapter 2: Alcohol and mental health, in practice. This chapter is in Book 6 - Practice in mental health-substance use' - This chapter is very much practice based textbook using case studies/case scenarios as examples of 'how to.' From identification, assessment, intervention and outcome. The word count is: 4000 and the deadline is short at 30 November 2009 (at the latest).

The series as a whole is very much interactive using self-assessment exercises, reflective practice, key points, etc.

David B. Cooper

Editor in Chief: Mental health and substance use: dual diagnosis. Taylor & Francis Publishing

Editor: Mental health and substance use book series. Radcliffe Publishing
Apartment 43
Manton Court
Kings Road
West Sussex
RH13 5AE
T: +44 (0) 1403 256318

Please contact David if you can help.

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Postnatal illness on GMTV with Lorraine tomorrow morning

Have a look at GMTV with Lorraine on Wednesday 14th October between 8.35 and 9.25 a.m.

A lovely mum whom I have been in contact with over recent times is bravely telling her story.

She wanted to stress the need for more specialist mother and baby units in the UK but her time slot ran out. Nonetheless I am sure there will be people watching who will realise that they are not alone in this illness.

Well done Jo!

Elaine Hanzak

The church, NSPCC and postnatal illness

We drew piglets!

For a long while I have felt that the voluntary sector and the community could be big players in helping families affected by postnatal illness and passionately wanted to investigate ways to do this.

Back in January Clive and I did a joint workshop on personal development.
One of the delegates, David, approached me after hearing my story, to ask if there was anyway his church could get involved in helping families also affected by postnatal illness.

The outcome was on 30th September we held an evening at St. Peter's and All Saint's Church in Morley, Leeds.

Initially I was just going to speak about my illness, recovery and offer suggestions on how people can help sufferers, with practical and emotional support.

I also contacted various NHS staff and David was very busy letting other groups, e.g. Children's centres, know about the event.

We were delighted that we then had presentations on behalf of health visitors and the psychiatrist from the Leeds Mother and Baby Unit.

The day before the event I spoke about it on BBC Radio Leeds lunchtime programme,

Due to the publicity we were contacted by Chris Parkin who works for the NSPCC. She has been running a postnatal support group in Bramley and Armley for many years. I visited the centre - it is a perfect set-up. We all did one of her activities she uses at the group to break down barriers - by drawing piglets and getting them interpreted to show personality aspects!

The outcome of the evening is that we appear to have the bones of progress:-

1. Chris will offer her expertise to set up and help run a support group at the church.
2. The church can provide a building, creche, volunteers as needed to help the group.
3. Volunteers from the church family already have police check certificates (CRB) so can help families with shopping, travel to group, etc.
4. Chris and members of the church will work with health visitors, children's centres etc. too.

I am absolutely thrilled that mine and David's beliefs look like they are feasible! Hooray!

If you would like to know more please contact myself or Chris at

It seems the only resource we will need are some craft items!

If you would like me to introduce the concept at your church please let me know!

Many thanks to David, Nick, Chris, Melinda, Rowan, Sally and all those involved in the evening.
Watch this space!

Elaine Hanzak

Friday, 9 October 2009

Inspiration NW LiVE event October 9th - and Kitbags!

NHS managerial and director level staff in the NW of the UK attended this event which I presented a workshop at.

That's me, bottom left in turquoise! I know - not exactly a close-up shot!

It was organised by the excellent Cynergy events
From my perspective as a speaker they looked after me brilliantly and were so very organised!

The venue was stunning -

This is what it promised ...

We are pleased to announce details of our service experience event, coinciding with
National Customer Service Week to highlight the importance of getting it right for patients.
Focusing on best practice from within the health sector, the event will give delegates an understanding of how to measure patient experience and will include an
exciting awards ceremony to reward inspirational staff who have given the SHA ideas for service improvement via our 6 month diary room campaign.
In addition to our varied programme, delegates can network in the marketplace which features touchscreen technology, book stalls, poster presentations and many more interactive stands.
Our intended audience is director and managerial level staff and colleagues who can use what they learn from the day to raise the profile of service experience back in their own organisation.

And here is the report of the day

Next to my exhibition stand was a lovely lady called Dr. Margaret Hannah. We chatted and soon realised we shared a huge passion for the same approach - using the senses to impove and maintain good mental health and well being. Dr. Hannah has taken this further and working with the International Futures Forum has devised and produced a sensory kitbag.

Kitbag comes from International Futures Forum, a registered charity committed to sustaining human aspiration in powerful times. The complexity and uncertainty in today’s world can make us feel overwhelmed. IFF developed Kitbag to support inner growth and help people deal more effectively with today’s unprecedented challenges.

Kitbag is designed to help find deeper connections in life – with ourselves, other people and the world. It contains a set of resources to support and facilitate personal growth, recognising all the while that we have the capacity for real learning, growth and healing.

It is a beautiful kit and one that I would recommend to postnatal depression sufferers and support groups.

As my partner Clive
says, sometimes it is good to go 'forward to basics', i.e. go back to the simple things we started with.

A sensory approach makes us literally 'wake up and smell the coffee'! We miss so much in our busy, complicated lives.

Just for a few minutes now just STOP. Sit back and become aware of what you can hear, feel, smell, taste and see. Almost immediately you will begin to relax. Dr. Hannah has a great deal of clinical reseacrh to back up the Kitbag - I highly recommend you take a look!

At lunchtime we were entertained by

Special thanks to my parents who came to man my exhibition table whilst I did my workshop!


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Fighting stigma of mental illness

I was invited today to speak on BBC Radio Leeds
for a lunchtime feature on fighting the stigma of mental illness.

I told my story and commented on situations sent in by listeners.

Fellow guest was Jackie Whiteley who recently won the Yorkshire Post Woman of Achievement Award.

Jackie and I knew each other through Forward Ladies and had been to Europe with the group last year.

Elaine Hanzak

The Top Ten High Impact Actions for Nursing and Midwifery

Calling all nurses and midwives!

I have received this information.

Dear Colleagues

The Top Ten High Impact Actions for Nursing and Midwifery went live this morning as a joint initiative between the DH, the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, the RCN, RCM and the NMC. The aim is to discover what changes to service have been made by nurses and midwives on the frontline that have improved quality for patients, prevented harm or illness and reduced costs – that, if replicated nationally, will have a
huge impact. The Top Ten High Impact Actions website went live today
Monday 21st September 2009 until 12th October 2009 and I would encourage you to send this amongst your networks all nurses and midwives to encourage them to submit details of service improvements they have made through the site.

I have attached an invitation to nurses and midwives, a banner for use on local websites which can be linked to the following website address:, a copy of a press release that has gone to all trade press and a poster in both A4 and A3.

I would be grateful if you could cascade these tools to your networks and teams within your area and encourage them to maximise the opportunity for the nurses and midwives within their organisation. I am sure they will also find this a good background against which to get some local good news stories out there – especially in reference to current discussions in the media about the economic climate and the possible impact on public services.

Kind regards

Gerry Bolger
Programme Director - Quality in Nursing
CNO's Professional Leadership Team, Department of Health Room 452C, Skipton House, 80 London Road, London SE1 6LH

Telephone: 020-797-26511
Admin contact:0113-2546056
Mobile: 07554-115990

Get that good practice on there!

Elaine Hanzak

Friday, 2 October 2009

Switched- on Awards - Birmingham

Clive and I were invited to the Switched-on Biz awards in Birmingham by Angela Agnew.
Great excuse to wear a little black dress! We had a great evening and it was wonderful to see so many success stories in the all doom and gloom of the recession we hear so much about.

The brief was:-

SWITCHED-ON AWARDS………………Thursday 1st October 2009 The annual highlight in the switched-on events portfolio

This glittering gala evening now in it’s 3rd year is without doubt, “the place to be seen” a terrific opportunity for networking, socialising with colleagues, friends, and entertaining clients.

The 2009 Business Awards Gala Evening in partnership with Business Link in the West Midlands promises to be a night to remember!

Join us and see for yourself how much fun we have doing business at Birmingham’s most recent and largest city centre venue,celebrate in style the outstanding achievements of the Midlands finest individuals.

Walk the Red Carpet to a champagne reception sponsored by Harvey’s Wine, followed by a superb 4 course dinner, and entertainment guaranteed to “set the evening alight”

The full report will be here soon:

Thank you for the invitation!

Elaine Hanzak