Thursday, 25 February 2010

What do people who work in mental health actually do?

Thanks to Jill Anderson of Mental Health in Higher Education for this posting.

This new resource may be of interest.

The resource is aimed at educators and students from any health and social care discipline who are training or working in mental health care; and at anyone who wants to find out what people who work in mental health actually do.

The site was developed by the CETL for Clinical and Communication Skills and features a series of interviews with members of the different professions working in mental health care. Psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and occupational therapists talk about their roles within the multidisciplinary team, and their perspectives on team working and on the service users with whom they work.

The resource is aimed at educators and students from any health and social care discipline who are training or working in mental health care; and at anyone who wants to find out what people who work in mental health actually do. 

Elaine Hanzak 

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Five lessons about the way we treat people

I recently received this message via a friend - source unknown - but it made me think. Perhaps it will you, too?

Five lessons about the way we treat people

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:
"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
"Absolutely, " said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people.  All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway
trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 19 60's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits.  Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's' bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.
"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left..  When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table.  There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..
You see,  he couldn't  have the sundae, because he had to have enough le ft to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway.  Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.  Some of the King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.  Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.  Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.  After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.  The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who  was suffering from a rare & serious disease.  Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.  The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her."  As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.
He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Now you have  choices.

1 Delete this email, or

2. Forward it other people.

I hope that you will choose No. 2 and remember.

Most importantly.... "Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody's watching."

NOW more than ever - Please...     Pass It On...
You never know how or when you'll be paid!

Elaine Hanzak

P.S. Whenever Clive and I dine out he always has made a point of asking the waiter's name and asking if we can use it. We always get great service!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Don't fail new mothers!

I am speaking to midwives in Wales this week for the Royal College of Midwives

A press release has been issued:
Women who find becoming mothers difficult should not be treated as "failures", a midwives' conference is to be told.
Campaigner Elaine Hanzak is set to speak to Welsh midwives later this week - calling on them not to worsen the "guilt" that some women feel.
The conference will be discussing the mental health of new mothers - and Ms Hanzak will urge midwives to understand the threats to women's well-being.
She said: "The celebrities who are featured in the glossy magazines give the impression that within two weeks after giving birth you should be back in your size 8 white jeans and be a yummy mummy and a domestic goddess who is a whizz with organic pureed carrots.
"Just because a new mother had to have an emergency section, was poorly and unable to breast feed should not make her feel she has 'failed' - yet some health professionals and society make mothers feel like failures if they have an emergency section, are poorly and unable to breastfeed."
She said women were given an "idealised" picture of birth and motherhood by the media - and that this played a big part in triggering post-natal depression.
Ms Hanzak stressed that even women who wanted their babies, had a steady income and a steady relationship could not be expected to "sail" through pregnancy.
More than 200 midwives are expected for the conference in Cardiff on Thursday.
Helen Rogers, Royal College of Midwives director for Wales, said: "The day promises to be lively and informative, and I very much hope that the midwives attending the conference will gain a great deal towards understanding an often overlooked issue." 

Although I will make these comments I also stress how much admiration I have for midwives and think they do a great job!

Elaine Hanzak

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Mental Wealth Project

I often speak to university students about my story. I don't think I have ever shared my journey and not been contacted afterwards about a student's own mental health experiences. I am delighted to discover this project for students.

'Welcome to the home of The Mental Wealth Project, an ambitious campaign to promote campus mental health & wellbeing through student-led initiatives

Our objectives are as follows:
·         For sustainable student-led initiatives to be running in universities throughout the UK
·         For every student with an interest in mental health and wellbeing to be aware that such initiatives exist
·         To connect student leaders of mental health & wellbeing UK-wide, university staff and the wider community.'

See the website here: 

Elaine Hanzak 

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Putting Families First: Delivering Effective Services Locally

Here are details of the forthcoming Policy and Practice Westminster Briefing, to be hosted by the House Magazine in Westminster.

Title: Putting Families First: Delivering Effective Services Locally
Date: 15th June 2010
Time: 10.30am-3.15pm
Venue: Westminster
Cost: £175 - £225 per place

The Context
The Support for All: the Families and Relationships Green Paper, published in January 2010, reflects a new approach by the Government to support families. One of the key proposals is to make sure that all families know what support they can expect from services, from pre-birth through childhood and adolescence. There will also be a major focus on supporting families in building strong relationships, including new guidance on SRE, developing support for relationships under pressure and promoting mediation services to reduce recourse to the court system. The children’s workforce will be trained to support parents who are reluctant or feel unable to seek support and further work will be undertaken to make employment arrangements more family friendly.

The Issues
Delegates at this Policy and Practice Westminster Briefing will have the opportunity to examine the emerging agenda for working with families and the implications for public services and front-line delivery in children’s centres, schools and primary health care. Key issues to be discussed include:
• Policy implications for Children’s Trusts, local authorities & PCTs
• Implications for children’s centres, schools & colleges
• Recognising, supporting and protecting the rights of the extended family
• The training and development needs of the children’s workforce
• Improving the wellbeing & support offered to children & parents caught up family breakdown
• The role of mediation and the role of the court system
• The development of intensive family intervention services
• The development of information services for families
• Making employment more family friendly

Full details are here 

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

What exactly IS a normal birth and delivery? Does it exist?

Forgive me for appearing to be cynical but does a 'normal' birth and delivery really exist? During recent months I have enjoyed watching my little sister, Claire, blossom during her much-wanted pregnancy. There is a 10 year age gap between us so she will always be 'little' to me! As a baby I was her 'second' mother and our Mum reminded me today that she hardly got chance to feed, bathe and change her as I was there first!

Claire had a fairytale wedding (yes, in a castle with a horse-drawn carriage) and finally became pregnant and was due on March 2nd - the day after our Parent's Golden Wedding. They had a magnificent cruise and holiday booked in Mexico, which they cancelled, willingly.

Little sis had a sickly first term of pregnancy but then has blossomed during the next months, only finishing her job a couple of weeks ago. Like me, she has read all the glossy books and magazines, attended antenatal classes and NCT sessions. Claire has been very healthy and rarely has seen a doctor in her life!

The beautiful nursery is only just put together and when I called this time last week to see it she commented that she hadn't yet packed her hospital bag, but there was plenty of time. Her birth plan was neatly sorted. The birthing ball was in the lounge. Baby clothes and equipment neatly stored. Lists made. Plans in place.

Like me, Claire has been painted a picture of the 'normal' birth. The impression is given that it can be done with a few deep breaths and that you are a failure as a mother if you dare to ask for pain relief. That nature intended us to suffer and that you are weak in someway if you cry out for even so much as a paracetamol!
The magazines tend to create the scenario that your partner will also have almost a sensual experience out of it and if they choose not to be present at the birth, they too are failing. All it takes is a few screams, a couple of pushes and bingo! Job done. Then perfect baby takes to perfect breast and another contented family is created. And woe betide you if you aren't back in Sainsbury's by teatime in your size 8 white jeans!!

Within a couple of weeks you meet up at the Mums and Tots groups and those who managed to get their bundle of joy out just before watching Nigella Lawson on television and already have restocked the freezer with amazing couscous dinners, make the rest of us shrink into 'I must be a failure' mode. I was lead to believe that some of these new babies only soiled their nappies once a day and even then they cleaned and changed themselves!  I am aware that there is a little bit of exaggeration in there but do you get my drift?

Yes we can argue I am cynical because it didn't happen like that for me and I needed surgery for postpartum hemorrhage and a retained placenta. I will never forget being told the next day that I 'should think myself lucky - had it been a home birth, I'd be dead!'. And then of course, I went on to develop postnatal depression and puerperal psychosis. Not quite what I had planned or expected!

Anyway, back to little sis. On Saturday she had an upset tummy. By 10 pm. she was curled up in agony. Her husband called the labour ward, and an ambulance was sent for. After giving blood and other samples in A & E they realised it was serious and Claire had to have an emergency C section. Baby's heart stopped too. Both have survived BUT since then Claire has needed 24 hour care. She is still in the labour suite.

What happened? It appears she has suffered with pre-eclampsia (a complication of pregnancy. Women with pre-eclampsia have high blood pressure, protein in their urine, and may develop other symptoms and problems. The more severe the pre-eclampsia, the greater the risk of serious complications to both mother and baby. Pre-eclampsia is thought to be due to a problem with the afterbirth (placenta), and so delivering the baby early is the usual treatment). She then suffered further complication of HELLPS syndrome. (HELLP syndrome occurs in about 1 in 5 women who have severe pre-eclampsia. HELLP stands for 'haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets' which are some of the medical features of this severe form of pre-eclampsia. Haemolysis means that the blood cells start to break down. Elevated liver enzymes means that the liver has become affected. Low platelets means that the number of platelets in the blood is low and you are at risk of serious bleeding problems.)
Full description here:

Baby Sophie is lovely! And here she is with her Auntie Elaine...

We are all thrilled and very grateful for the care and attention both she and her mum continue to receive. At the moment there is no sign of them being discharged and although improving, Claire remains poorly.

I feel angry and upset - at no-one because these things happen. But sometimes life seems so unfair. Claire has taken every precaution during her pregnancy for herself and her baby yet she has resulted in this trauma. When Mum and I left the hospital last night an expectant mother was standing in her night clothes, in the rain, having a cigarette under a sign that clearly stated 'No Smoking'. I am not saying that mother deserves to have problems but just added to my feeling of injustice about Claire. I am upset for her and her husband because they too have had their expectations of what society has lead them to believe was 'normal' has been shattered.

I share this story with Claire's permission. Perhaps we are in the minority of those for whom the 'birth plan' was thrown out of the window? I am usually the voice of optimism in whatever I do and look for the bright side, yet today I do question, as I have done before, what can we do to help prepare mothers and fathers to  about the birth? That is isn't all about helium balloons and 'nothing to it'. That for some it can be problematic?

I guess we need just to prepare them that maybe there isn't 'normal'; that everyone is different. That nature plays it's part. But whatever happens, they are not to consider they have failed or caused the problem (if that is true).

Claire was lucky in that she was dealt with swiftly and promptly - if not, I dread to think what could have happened. Her constant nursing is provided around the clock so if further complications happen, help is there immediately. This isn't a private clinic, but an NHS hospital. We are all grateful for the ward management that must be needed to enable this. But what about other ladies who develop this illness? What if they are told the hospital is full? That staffing levels are low? That their symptoms are missed because of lack of resources? My plea for improved maternity services funding remains as high as ever. My passioned plea is now even higher!

And also for the key factors which I uphold for all patients and their families:
Hope - we all need reassurance and good communication that both Mum and baby are being given the best care and will be okay.
Attitude - that Claire is genuinely poorly and 'not making a fuss'.
Needs - are very unique and special; although we may be statistics for us as a family this is a special but scary time.
Zest - that we all need to smile, even though we may want to cry; that simple pleasures of the senses, e.g. having a shower and helped to put body lotion on, are effective healing mechanisms
Altogether - we need reassurance that a whole team are involved in their care who all know what is expected of them. As a family we have to support each other.
Kindness - a smile to us relatives is much appreciated but we need to know that Claire is being surrounded with empathy, compassion and caring for the ordeal she is experiencing.

And please can someone tell me that it is not just my sister and I who have been unlucky? Did your birth plan go to plan?

Elaine Hanzak

Friday, 12 February 2010

Action Postpartum Psychosis

APP (Action Postpartum Psychosis) is a network of women across the UK who have experienced postpartum psychosis and who want to increase public awareness and research into the condition. APP is run by a team made up of academics, health professionals and women who have recovered from PP.

Their aims are:
  • To provide up to date research information to women who have experienced PP and their families.
  • To facilitate research into all aspects of PP
  • To increase awareness of PP – its symptoms, management and impact – among health professionals and the general public

Postpartum Psychosis (also called ‘Puerperal Psychosis’, ‘Postnatal Psychosis’, ‘Postpartum Bipolar Disorder’) is a severe mental illness, which has a sudden onset in the first few weeks following childbirth.

Over 1300 women experience PP each year in the UK. For women, their partners, friends and family it can be hard to find high quality information. There are many unanswered questions and areas where much more research is needed. APP aim to provide women, their families and the professionals involved in their care with up-to-date information about postpartum psychosis. The APP site is a work in progress – please check back regularly as they will be adding lots of content in the coming months.

I am delighted that over the last few years some readers of my book have contacted APP and joined in research as I listed it in my resource section. On Tuesday at the HealthCare Event conference I was delighted to meet Carol Dolman from APP. Her expertise is around bi-polar disorder and PP . I hope to meet up with Dr. Ian Jones from APP when I am in Cardiff at the end of the month.

Elaine Hanzak

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Service User Involvement and Empowerment in Mental Health

On Tuesday I had the new experience of being chair at a conference. It was run by HealthCare Events and was entitled 'Service User Involvement and Empowerment in Mental Health'.
The venue was the luxurious 76, Portland Place, London.

The day opened with Tina Coldham, chair of NSUN National Service User Network
She used a powerful quote by Margaret Mead - 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has'.
As service users, she suggests, we need a 'can do' attitude to make a positive difference.

 Next we listened to the amazing, inspirational Lindy Irving, who powerfully told us of her recovery from severe depression. I liked her quote from George Iles that 'hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark'.

Sue Harris and Sue Pinfold Brown followed with an interesting look at how Worcestershire are embedding service user involvement in mental health commissioning and whole service redesign. I agreed with their dislike of the term 'service user' which they are replacing with 'Individual with Experience' (IWE). They also  have a focus group entitled SEPIA - sharing experience for positive improvement and awareness.

Judy Weleminsky from the Mental Health Providers' Forum along with a IWE Nash, showed how the Recovery Star programme can be used so effectively, as it focuses on progress not problems and treats the person as a whole. See the outline here

Leroy Simpson was the next character to be on the platform - another example of poor mental health can be overcome. He described his personal journey and the work he has done with St. Mungos with homeless people . He spoke about embracing diversity which he described as being heard, respected, celebrated, informed and inspired. The delegates were!

After an excellent lunch the afternoon resumed with a presentation by David Gilbert, also a IWE who has become an involvement lead.   He is developing a 'College for Patient Leaders' (TM) to provide flexible, accredited learning programmes for patient and community activists, representatives and entrepreneurs.

Next Daisy Bogg, Director of Social Care and specialist Services, Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust spoke about 'Service User involvement for personalisation in mental health'.
More details on personalisation can be found here  

The penultimate speaker was Lindsey Dyer, the Director for Service Users and Carers at Mersey Care NHS trust, who spoke about 'beyond involvement: promoting human rights'. 

The final speaker left us motivated and inspired - Dr. Marian Naidoo
She showed us a video of a course which had been run for service users, carers and professionals together, followed by footage about Sing Your Heart Out - a series of workshops designed to get people together to enjoy themselves, and to gain the known benefits to mental health from singing.

During the day there were also some workshop sessions running involving Anne Beales from Together ; Fiona Veneer, Project manager of Leeds Survivor led Crisis Service ; Zelda Peters, Director of Mental Health Turning Point and Ann Mooney from SUNSwindon,

The day was full of information and I hope these links are useful to those who wish to involve people in their care of their mental health and services.

Also as chair I learned a big lesson - the importance of a speaker finishing on time!!!

Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Mental Health Foundation latest news

The latest Mental Health Foundation news can be found here

I am not surprised to read that 'Three out of four people in the UK suffer from depression at some point but only a third seek help, a poll found today.'
Yet I wish more would speak up and ask for help - the sooner you do, the sooner the steps to recovery can and should be made.

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Mental Health in Higher Education Project latest news

A regular e-bulletin from the Mental Health in Higher Education Project is a useful resource of news, events, resources, podcasts, etc. around mental health.

The latest edition is here

Elaine Hanzak

Monday, 8 February 2010

Happy Birthday Glasgow Samaritans!

At the weekend I was honoured to speak at the Glasgow branch of The Samaritans as they celebrated their 50th year.
What a wonderful group of people! It was a pleasure to be amongst you.
The venue was really good too - The Beardmore Hotel and Conference centre on the outskirts of Glasgow.

I joined in the fun-filled ceilidh and a dance around the room prior to an early night before I spoke on Sunday morning. I even won a couple of tombola prizes - held to raise the funds for the excellent band. These volunteers certainly deserved their evening to network and share experiences.

The session went well and I was followed by the current national chair of The Samaritans, the inspirational Sophie Andrews pictured with me above.

Thanks to Jackie and the rest of the conference team for inviting me and for organising a very successful event. When are you going to get together and give yourselves the credit you deserve?

Elaine Hanzak

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Here are details of a website which has been designed to raise awareness, give informed choice, provide information and support for people affected by / interested in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

The FASawareUK website was created to share information.
The first of its kind in the UK. It now hosts a full on support forum with over 800 members, not all active though.

There is a professional resource page. For teachers, there is The Reach to Teach information and there is also the booklet that is free to all teachers.

They have also launched the first distance learning course in the UK that is accredited Ascentis, OCN (North West) are a National Awarding Body, who is recognised by the department for Education and Skills and by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in Britain.

The website is kept up to date with information and it's all there in one place for individuals to research.

Elaine Hanzak

Friday, 5 February 2010


At St.Helen's HomeStart a volunteer told me about the Take a Break magazine feature linking mothers together.

Have a look at

Thanks Pat!

Elaine Hanzak

Thursday, 4 February 2010

International Women's Day Event 8th March

Are you looking to find your purpose in life? If so, I can recommend a wonderful event planned for International Women's Day on 8th March.
Molly Harvey is an excellent and inspiring speaker, also known as the Corporate Soul Woman.

This day event invites us to:
Gather the women, one hand at a time…
Are you ready to step up and step out?
Do you feel a sense of deeper purpose emerging within you,
but you’re not sure what it is?
Come and explore your new story, your deeper calling.

Discover what your true purpose is in life using the
‘Corporate Soul Six Step Process’
Clarify your Business, Community & Personal Goals through the
‘Vision Board Process’
Share best practice and build incredible connections

See full details at

Elaine Hanzak

Post-partum Haemorrhage (PPH)

One of the complications after my son was born was Post-partum Haemorrhage (PPH), i.e. excessive bleeding.

Earlier this week I spoke to volunteers at Home Start in St. Helens and was asked for more information about it.

From the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Written for doctors but useful to the non-trained too!

Experiences of some mothers

Post-partum haemorrhage after a home birth

Prevention of PPH

I know that many mums tell me one of the best ways of coming to terms with almost any illness is to share experiences of what happened to them. I cannot find a forum with much on PPH but there is one set up at
Perhaps if you have a tale to tell, it could be here?
There are links to some videos and books here too.

At the Marce Society conference in Australia in September 2008 I heard a paper looking into links between PPH and the risk of PND. I will track it down for progress.

Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Developing Skills in Collaborative Work with Parental Mental Illness

There is a Short Course on Developing Skills in Collaborative Work with Parental Mental Illness which you and/or your colleagues may be interested in attending.
May – July 2010
Tavistock Centre, London
Fee £335

The course will cover:

1) Developing skills in inter-professional and inter-agency collaboration, especially regarding the needs of children
2) Ways of listening to and eliciting children's ideas regarding a parent's mental illness
3) How focusing on a ‘parent’ as well as a ‘patient’ identity can be helpful in working with those who have had a long immersion in the adult mental health services
4) Helping parents and children to talk together about their anxieties and their ways of coping
5) Using ideas from the family systems approach to understand the unique circumstances of each family and how these impact upon their relationship and their interaction with professionals and services
6) Exploring the support systems available to families including extended family, professional and other services
7) Addressing cultural diversity and the effects of inequality and social marginalization

This course will be multidisciplinary and is suitable for those working in both child and adult services. It is for all professionals working with children in adversity and for those who work in the adult mental health field. It will present best practice in this field and provide the opportunity for those working in child and adult services to consider developments in their own services.

For more information please click here:
If you have a training department or interested colleagues, we would be very grateful if you were kind enough to pass on the information to them as well.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

Events Organiser
Conference, Events and Marketing Unit
The Tavistock and Portman
NHS Foundation Trust
Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane
London NW3 5BA
Fax: +44 (0)20 7447 3837

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

National Perinatal and Infant Mental Health network - latest information

Here is the latest Jan-net mailing, via Janet Cobb who has given me permission to post it here.

This information is being sent on via the National Perinatal and Infant Mental Health network.
Contact Janet Cobb on or for more information.

01 - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Hello everyone
See invitation below to seminar on FASD and also attached research information sheet...if you want to discuss this with Raja his number & email address are below

Dr Raja Mukherjee
Consultant Psychiatrist
Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
116 -118 Station Rd East
December 2009
01883 383936
Dear Colleague

RE: FASD Knowledge and Attitude Research

I hope you do not mind me writing to you. I would like to invite you to attend a training session I will be running as part of a research programme into ascertaining the knowledge of professionals about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) as well as identifying areas where we can tailor future training and intervention packages.

I am hoping that you would be interested to find out more and that you feel this subject is of importance to you. There will be two parts to the presentation prior to a question and answer session on the subject. We are looking to seek the answers to ascertain views on a number of areas related to the topic of FAS. Everyone else will be invited to attend a free teaching session commencing with a general questionnaire about knowledge about FASD, followed by a brief lecture by myself as one of the leading specialists working with children and Adults with FAS. There will be there opportunity afterwards to ask questions. A small selection of those wishing to attend will be invited randomly to attend a small focus group to discuss this in more detail before the main session.

We hope you feel this will be a useful exercise and add to your Continuing Professional Development as well as helping us with our research. If however you wish to obtain information without attending the session, a Frequently Asked Question form is available. If you contact the number above, details will be provided as to how to obtain these.

I do hope you and your colleagues are able to attend. The seminars will be held over Surrey and S London. For now we have arranged one session but will establish more once we have an idea of interest. If there is enough demand in another area we are willing to come to you also. We include an information sheet that should explain further.

Current Date:
Oaklands House (Rm 2,3)
Coulsdon Road,
CR3 5YA,
5th February 2010 17.30 -19.00

Focus group 17.30 – 18.15
18.15- 19.00 Talk and Q&A session
Please RSVP at least 2 weeks prior to above date to allow us to arrange Tea/ Coffee

Yours sincerely
Raja Mukherjee
02 - Midwives magazine

Read midwifery news from Midwives, the bi-monthly magazine of the Royal College of Midwives. Find features on the role of the midwife; comment on the Midwives blog. Read in-depth research in Evidence Based Midwifery.
03 - Breast feeding information sheets
These information sheets have been specifically designed for health professionals to use with new and expectant parents - please feel free to print off and pass on. To contact us please email
04 - Safer recruitment resources

Download the guidance for safer recruitment into the children and young people's workforce
We have developed guidance for the children and young people's workforce on safe recruitment practices, consistent with other safer recruitment guidance and training produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
Guidance material - available to order from 9 November 2009
To help you to understand more about recruiting safely into the children and young people's workforce we have created full guidance and summary publications:
Recruiting safely: Safer recruitment guidance helping to keep children and young people safe [PDF - 546KB]
Recruiting safely: Summary safer recruitment guidance helping to keep children and young people safe [PDF 202KB].
We have also created a CD-rom resource toolkit which contains the full guidance document but also example documents and best practice for you to use as well as links to useful websites.
Recruiting safely (CD-rom): Resource toolkit for safer recruitment in the children and young people's workforce.
If you would like to order any of these publications please e-mail
Page updated: 3 November 2009
What does it mean to me?
Find our what the new Vetting and Barring Scheme means to you and the children's and young people's workforce.
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05 - Neonatal Toolkit launched
New guidance has been published to help the NHS improve the care provided for premature and sick babies and their families. The Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services was launched by Professor Ann Keen MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Services on Wednesday 4th November.
Babies who are born prematurely, sick or have a low birth weight require specialised care in their first hours, days and often months. A Neonatal Taskforce was established to identify ways of further improving services to ensure the best possible care and outcomes. NHS staff from across England and members of Bliss have helped to develop the toolkit, which provides evidence based guidance for all neonatal services.
The toolkit includes a set of eight principles for high quality neonatal services and a framework to assist commissioners. The principles cover the major areas of activity within the neonatal care pathway and aim to provide standardisation in neonatal care:
1. Organisation of neonatal services
2. Staffing of neonatal services
3. Care of the baby and family experience
4. Transfers
5. Professional competence, education and training
6. Surgical services
7. Clinical governance
8. Data requirements

The toolkit also contains some useful resources which can be adapted for local use. These include example templates of service and transport specifications, surgical pathways, a dashboard and a nursing workforce calculator.
For further information contact:
Allison Binns

Tel. 0207 972 4143
The toolkit is available to download, together with the CD documents from the DH website.

Click to access.
It is also available to order in hard copy from the DH Orderline:

Tel. 0300 123 1002
Quote 297621/Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services
06 - Perinatal Mental Health – new course dates
New dates
This module takes place over five days:
January 25th and 26th;
March 24th and 25th
and June 24th 2010.

There are limited places available so register early to avoid disappointment.

About the module
This multidisciplinary postgraduate award module will provide you with understanding about innovative ways of working to support parent and infant mental health during the perinatal period.
Building on recent evidence from a range of disciplines, including developmental
psychology and neuroscience, the course highlights the importance of:

• Women’s and men’s transition to parenthood and the development of the social
baby, with particular focus on mental health problems in the perinatal period

• Developing advanced skills in the early identification of mental health problems using a partnership approach and underpinned by a model of progressive universalism

• Engaging with the multidisciplinary clinical perinatal team in developing care
pathways for women experiencing mental health difficulties

• Skills in supporting sensitive parent-infant interactions and developing healthy

What is involved?
• Lectures, guided reading, structured debate, observation of videos, and group

• Undertaking a case study and practicing new skills between taught parts of the

Further information

For further information, visit or contact Hazel Cann on:
Tel: +44 (0)24 7652 2035, Email:
07 - Off to a Healthy Start
DCSF and DH have been working closely to produce a health and wellbeing supplement for the winter edition of the DCSF Early Years Magazine. The supplement features health experts who work with early years staff to make sure that young children and families get all the help and support they need for their physical and emotional development, as well as containing articles on nutrition in the early years and information about the Change4Life toolkit.
Early Years is a quarterly magazine aimed at everyone who works with young children and their families. Subscription is free. The magazine features good practice, innovation and different views from right across the sector, so there's something for childminders or nursery workers, or those who work with Sure Start services in any way, as well as for their leaders and managers.
The winter edition and supplement can be viewed by clicking

Alternatively, to order a hard copy, contact:
DCSF Publications
Tel: 0845 60 222 60
Quoting reference 01053-2009MAG-EN
For further information contact:
Penny Baker
Tel: 020 7783 8159
08 - Guide to using the new UK-WHO 0-4 years growth charts
DH, in association with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the World Health Organisation, has published a new guide Using the new UK-World Health Organization 0-4 years growth charts. This guide, aimed at health professionals who regularly or occasionally weigh and measure babies and infants, provides information about how to use and interpret the new charts. The new charts, which were introduced in May, are based on the growth of breastfed infants and replace previous charts that were based on the growth of predominantly formula-fed babies.
The guide can be ordered online at or by calling Prolog on 0300 123 1002, quoting publication number 294502.
DH and RCPCH recommend that anyone who measures a child or plots or interprets charts should be suitably trained in order to familiarise themselves with the changes to the charts. Growth chart educational materials can be downloaded from
For further information about the new growth charts, and to download a copy of the guide, click
09 - Early intervention and the role of health services – join the debate
The government will be publishing a consultation document on improving early intervention for children, young people and families who would benefit from extra help to prevent problems escalating. The consultation provides an opportunity for people to put forward examples of good practice already in hand to support vulnerable families and thoughts on how we can ensure higher-quality, more consistent practice across the country.
As well as enabling smarter investment in the longer term, effective early intervention is better for families too. The government wants to know how health professionals are contributing to better early intervention through Healthy Schools, the Healthy Child Programme and Sure Start Children's Centres. At a strategic level, they want to hear about how Children’s Trust Boards are helping to set a clear framework for early intervention across their local areas.
To view the consultation and send in your views before March 2010, click
10 - Think Family Guidance
'Think Family' is an explicitly cross-departmental programme jointly funded by DCSF, the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and DH and supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Since April 2009, all local authorities have received increased funding to support the introduction of:
• 'Think Family' practice - making sure that the support provided by children's, adults and family services is coordinated and takes account of how individual problems affect the whole family.
• Targeted support for parents and families - such as Family Intervention Projects and Parenting Early Intervention Programmes designed to provide evidence-based support to families experiencing problems.

The toolkit includes many examples of local practice, research findings, sources of reference and contributions from a range of Government Departments and local agencies and covers:
• Emerging practice in implementing 'Think Family' Systems and Services and working with adult services
• Targeted support for parents and families and Family Intervention Projects
• Evidence and cost effectiveness for parenting and family interventions
• Safeguarding children supported through family interventions

For further information and to view the toolkit click
11 - Start4Life

The Start4Life campaign will support front line staff to deliver the healthy child programme by supporting pregnant women and parents of babies to establish good feeding and activity habits for their babies to help them reduce the risk of becoming obese in later life. This page gives more information.
12 - Parenting leaflets
Preparing for a new birth, dealing with stress, comforting a crying baby, and managing difficult behaviour without smacking.

Handle with care

Advice on holding and handling your baby safely.
13 - Difficult child protection cases for the Court of Appeal

A review of recent decisions by the appeal court in child protection cases where parenting skills and co-operation with authorities were in doubt
14 - Thrombosis and Embolism during Pregnancy and the Puerperium, Reducing the Risk (Green-top 37)
This is the second edition of this guideline, which was published in 2004 under the title Thromboprophylaxis During Pregnancy, Labour and after Vaginal Delivery. The aim of this guideline is to provide advice, based on clinical evidence where available, regarding the prevention of VTE during pregnancy, birth and following delivery. Of note, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline on venous thromboembolism (due November 2009) includes pregnancy and the puerperium as risk factors and the present guideline aims to be consistent with the clinical practice recommendations included in the NICE guideline.
15 - Untold Damage: Children's accounts of living with harmful parental drinking
New research reveals that a high number of calls to ChildLine from young people concerned about their parents harmful drinking come from children in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK. The study carried out by ChildLine and SHAAP highlights children’s accounts of the severe negative impacts of harmful parental drinking on their lives including emotional stress, physical abuse and neglect.


“There is also growing recognition of the extended spectrum of harm to children and young people associated with drinking in pregnancy and the Scottish
Government has identified the need to sponsor research which will attempt to identify the prevalence of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in Scotland”
16 - Statutory guidance on promoting the health and well-being of looked after children
Revised Guidance on Promoting the Health and Wellbeing of Looked After Children has been published jointly by the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. It replaces the guidance, Promoting the Health of Looked After Children, published by the Department of Health in 2002, which was statutory on local authorities. The revised guidance is statutory on local authorities and also on Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities.
17 - Getting maternity services right for pregnant teenagers and young fathers: Second edition - 2009
This guide is aimed at practitioners working in mainstream services or areas where the prevalence of teenage pregnancy is relatively low and where there are no dedicated services for pregnant teenagers. It sets out the reasons why it is important to improve the maternity service offered to young parents, and offers practical guidance on working with pregnant teenagers and young fathers.
18 - AIMH Clinical Workshop

CLINICAL WORKSHOP - Saturday 27 February 2010 - 10am-3pm - The Tavistock Clinic London NW3

'Fragile Babies, Fragile Relationships in Neonatal Units : Interactions between Babies, Parents and Staff'.

This workshop will be presented by Margaret Cohen, Child Psychotherapist and Author of 'Sent Before My Time' (Karnac Books 2003). Janet Taljaard, Perinatal Clinical Psychologist for NICU/SCBU North East London Foundation Trust will also be presenting 'Broken Dreams : Tentative Hopes' based on her work with parents and babies in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Andrea Green
Administrator - AIMH UK

Association For Infant Mental Health (UK)
27 Old Gloucester Street, London,

Tel: 0208 144 2386

AIMH UK is a Company Registered within England and Wales, Company Registration 3219779
19 - Effective interventions where there are concerns about, or evidence of, a child suffering significant harm - expert briefing
An interim version of the briefing - The full version of this briefing will be available later in the year.
20 - Posting on behalf of Norfolk Infant Mental Heath Team

Like many other services we’ve been asked to look into evaluating our work.

We’ve downloaded the Parent-Infant Relationship Global assessment (PIR-GAS) which looks potentially helpful.

However, could anyone advise on how clinicians’ have ensured reliability in the rating?

I recall with the C-GAS going through with colleagues a number of scenarios and comparing our ratings, although this was not an externally evaluated process.

With thanks

Dr Richard Pratt
Clinical Psychologist, Infant Mental Health Team, Norfolk Community Health Care
21 - Protecting Children Locally: Using Serious Case Reviews to Improve Practice
Dear Colleague,

I enclose details of the forthcoming Policy and Practice Westminster Briefing, to be hosted by the House Magazine in Westminster.
Title: Protecting Children Locally: Using Serious Case Reviews to Improve Practice
Date: 18th March 2010
Time: 10.30am-3.15pm
Venue: Westminster
Cost: £175 - £225 per place
For full details please visit the Westminster Briefing Website
The Context
In spite of the increased focus on Serious Case Reviews (SCR), Ofsted’s latest evaluation of 173 SCRs has found that there is still significant room for improvement in the process. While 23% of reviews were judged good and 43% adequate, weaknesses still existed in over a third of reviews (34%) that were judged as inadequate. The clear message is that even more needs to be done to ensure the review process improves the way children are protected from harm across the country.

The Issues
Delegates at this Policy and Practice Westminster Briefing will have the opportunity to examine in detail what is known about the SCR process and the implications for local practice in undertaking SCRs. Engaging with the panel, key issues to be addressed at this Policy and Practice Briefing will include:
• The role of the Local Safeguarding Children Board in commissioning a Serious Case Review
• Independent chairs and overview writers
• Gathering evidence for Serious Case Reviews
• The place of Individual Management Reviews
• Serious Case Reviews that span more than one area
• The impact of judicial procedures on Serious Case Reviews
• The role of Ofsted in evaluating case reviews
• Applying lessons learned in the local area and beyond
Objectives and Outcomes
The morning policy session will allow participants to engage with the panel in discussion over the most effective approaches to carrying out Serious Case Reviews in the wider context of child protection locally and nationally; while the afternoon policy into practice session will be highly interactive with case study examples and group discussions focusing on how Serious Case Reviews are carried out. For further details please View Full Agenda -
Who should Attend?
Delegates will be drawn from across the children’s services sector, including LSCB members, local government officers and members, PCT representatives and health professionals and the police, central government departments & bodies, unions and academia.

To register for this event or to view further details, please use the links above or contact me using the details below.
Best wishes,

Guy Evans-Tipping
Managing Director, Westminster Briefing
Phone: 020 7096 2920
22 - What About The Children?
National Conference
Tuesday 2nd March 2010
The Resource Centre 356 Holloway Road London N7 6PA
Delegate Fee £70 ( lunch, tea and coffee included)

'What is critical for a child's healthy
emotional development'

Lane Strathearn, (MBBS, FRACP) Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Dr Strathearn’s field is developmental paediatrics, with neuro biology of mother infant attachment as a particular area of interest.
Jane Barlow, (DPhil; FFPH Hon) Professor of Public Health in the Early Years at Warwick University.
Professor Barlow’s areas of interest include the effectiveness of early interventions in the primary prevention of mental health problems. She is particularly interested in the evaluation of interventions that are directed at promoting the parent-infant relationship.

Janice Saunders, Project Worker/Trainer for Parents as First Teachers.

Anna Marley, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, NHS.

Heather Stevenson, Independent Trainer and Counsellor

Carol Mannion, Developmental Therapist

Pamela Stewart, Psychotherapist HMP Holloway

Comments about last year’s national conference
‘Excellent event. Fantastic speakers, very accessible. I am left feeling energised and reinvigorated’- Early Years Professional

‘Excellent conference as always – well reflected with all speakers’- Parent

‘I attended my first What About The Children? Conference last year and felt that it was the best conference I had attended for a long time. I welcomed the opportunity to attend again this year’- Health Visitor

For Booking Form and more information please see our web site
or contact
Conference Organiser Cath Armstrong -
23 - Certificate in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders – Level 3
This programme is designed to increase recognition and appropriate care of children, youths and adults who have been adversely affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol. relatively un-publicised syndrome.

Many clinicians, teachers and most families, have limited clinical expertise in this

This programme has been drawn up in conjunction with FASawareUK -
24 - Swine flu and pregnancy: How to protect yourself and your baby

This leaflet gives information about: the swine flu vaccination that you can have during pregnancy to help protect you and your baby; precautions you can take to reduce your risk of infection; treatments that are available if you do become ill.
25 - Scottish good practice guidelines for supporting parents with learning disabilities
is a new publication aimed at providing practical guidance to social work departments and other agencies that support people with learning disabilities who become parents.
26 - Improving Safety, Reducing Harm: Children, young people and domestic violence
This toolkit provides information about children, domestic violence and related issues, including risk assessment and safety planning information, guidance for schools, as well as sample forms and key fact sheets.

Elaine Hanzak

Monday, 1 February 2010

Dignity in Care - do you get or give it?

Dignity in all health and social care settings is an area that matters to me and many others. It can make a huge difference in how you perceive the care.

I am delighted to see that the Department of Health is also aware of this and are having a Dignity Action Day on 25th February.

Full details at

Elaine Hanzak