Monday, 21 June 2010

The Unite/CPHVA Annual Professional conference - Healthy Family, Healthy Child

The Unite/CPHVA Annual Professional conference is a vital opportunity for you and your colleagues to hear the very latest developments in best practice in primary care and public health.

Over three days the conference will once again feature high-level policy makers and opinion formers at the forefront of the debate.

It is to be held in Harrogate 20- 22nd October 2009.

For full details see

Elaine Hanzak

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Alternative Ascot Day by The Wellbeing Project

Yesterday Mum and I were delighted to be guests at The Wellbeing project Alternative Ascot Day.

We both dressed up, as requested, and Dad took us to the Haydock Thistle hotel

The Wellbeing Project is a social enterprise based in St. Helens and have developed pioneering and ground-breaking work within the area of mental health. Ann and I delivered some mental health sessions for young families recently with them. The event yesterday was to raise funds for the Wellbeing Choir.

Over 20 years ago, Dr. Paula Gamester one of the founders of The Wellbeing Project and was going to Ascot with friends but missed the train from Liverpool Lime st station! Instead they went back to her home; set up their own book and gave the proceeds to charity; had a picnic and champagne and still had a great day! A tradition was born and has escalated into the amazing event yesterday!

After a drinks reception and mutual people watching by the mainly female 'race-goers' we went into a gloriously decorated marquee in the courtyard of the hotel. Catering was wonderful, staff very attentive and brilliant company. Paula (pictured) is the best organiser and hostess I have ever come across! She was the epitome of elegance and attentiveness from our arrival until the end.

After lunch we were entertained by Dave Ashley singing Frank Sinatra hits; the energy of Bernie Whelan who will front the choir and racing from Ascot via TV. Each race we could buy £1 tickets which had the runners. All those with the winning horse were then placed in a draw for prizes from sponsors.

These included
Nicole Photography
IceBerg jewellery
Ashton Dental Practice
Virgin trains
Haydock Thistle Hotel

Before we knew it all the races and raffle were done, followed by the freshest sandwiches I have ever tasted for afternoon tea.
Finally we were entertained by Robbie Williams (Tony Lewis) who did a great job and getting everyone up and moving (some more than others!!!).

Mum, Dominic and I remembered meeting him a few years ago as audience members for the BBC 1 programme 'The One and Only' for which he deservedly reached the final.

Dom will not be impressed at this photo taken back then! How he has grown since then!

What a wonderful day - same time next year? We hope so! Our wellbeing was excellent!

Thanks and congratulations on a wonderful event to Paula, Mark and all the Wellbeing Project team.

Elaine Hanzak

Friday, 18 June 2010

FREE to attend training on self-harm, 7th July in St. Helens.

Please see the following from Kerri:-
Another training day has been arranged from No Secrets for anyone coming into contact with people who may self harm, or for those who self harm themselves.

If you attended the last training session you can still come along to this one which covers more ground surrounding self-injury and mental health.

Guest speaker is Elaine Hanzak who has had personal experience of puerperal psychosis and self-injury. She overcame her experience and is now an international speaker - we are privileged to have her on board. For more information visit her website at

The training will be held on Weds 7th July 2010 at Knowsley House, Peasley Cross. There is NO CHARGE for this training and it will be on a first come first served basis.

If you'd like a place or would like to nominate a member of your team you can contact me on this email address or on the number below. For more information on No Secrets visit

As previously mentioned, you can still attend this session even if you attended the last one in March - it's completely different.

Looking forward to hearing from you, and please do pass this email onto colleagues or anyone who may have interest.

Many thanks in advance

Kerri Jones, Co-Founder, No Secrets


Hope to see you there!

Elaine Hanzak 

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Some advice and information about nutrition in pregnancy and for infants

I breastfed my son until forced separation when I had to be hospitalised for puerperal psychosis - in retrospect this was cruel for both of us and a pleasure I resent being taken away from us.
However, I see my baby niece and god-daughter both thriving on bottle feeding so I have an open mind to feeding. I feel it has to be individual choice and mothers need support either way, although I would encourage and recommend breast-feeding if you are able, and seek support if you are struggling with it.

There is a wealth of useful information at on many aspects of feeding for both mum-to-be and babies.

Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Good practice in working with families – keeping the whole picture in mind

Good practice in working with families – keeping the whole picture in mind

Don’t miss the latest of PMHCWN’s vibrant and innovative events aimed at highlighting key issues in working across health and social care boundaries to support the parent-child relationship.

‘Good practice in working with families – keeping the whole picture in mind’ will use keys to try and unlock ways of working with whole families and is aimed at professional working with parents with mental health problems and their families, as well as managers interested in developing think child, think parent, think family protocols following on from the SCIE guide of the same name. This study day will take place in Birmingham on Monday 5th July 2010.

The event supports the aims of Every Child Matters, the Children’s Plan, and the Think Family programme and associated initiatives, to encourage local systems and services to join up and respond to the needs of whole families. They will consider the possible implications of government plans concerning Sure Start Centres and health visitors as well as any further announcements made between now and the event.

The day will consist of plenary sessions with round table discussions and workshops including information about implementing Family Nurse Partnerships and SCIE’s guide. Speakers will include:

  • John Burnham Head of Family and Systemic Psychotherapy and Director of Systemic Training CAMHS, BCH (Birmingham Children's Hospital) on moving from paper work to paper play
  •  Hugh Constant Practice development manager, Social Care Institute for Excellence on the implementation of SCIE’s guide Think child, think parent, think family
  • Judith Lask , the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice in the UK
  • Anne Rawcliffe from ACCORD in Suffolk on a joint working protocol for embedding thinking family in practice
  • Alison Stunt and members of the Well on facilitated peer support for women with experience of postnatal depression
  • Frahana Rashid on working with women from south Asian Pakistani and Pushto communities with infants and young children 

See full information and boking form here

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Latest research and news on postnatal depression

Here is the link to ChiMat's latest news and research around Child and Maternal Mental Health issue

It includes details on
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) knowledge questionnaire for healthcare professionals
  • BBC: New dad depression 'often missed'
  • Mental Health Foundation: Study shows physical therapy exercise program can reduce risk of postnatal depression in new mothers
  • Getting it right from the start: DVD and booklet on attachment and bonding for new parents
  • Inequalities sensitive practice initiative: analysis of the maternity services user engagement survey. Final report
  • The best start: Supporting happy, healthy childhoods
  • Postnatal depression: fathers have it too 
Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Savour the moment ... with BBC Radio Manchester

This morning I was a guest on Heather Stott's coffee shop slot on BBC Radio Manchester.
Listen again at:

Fellow guests were Wendy Breakell, Director of School of Sound Recording
and Nicky Oliver of Nicky Oliver hairdressing

We chatted about some of the unusual newspaper stories in addition to snippets about ourselves. These included the baker who sells a loaf for £21; the decline of church weddings and happiness in your job.

I declared that I have not got a job but am following my passion and purpose to make early parenthood happier for others and to fight the stigma and ignorance around mental illness. I do sincerely believe that and remain humbled and privileged to do what I do.
Also very grateful to those who support me to do this.

I also commented that although I wouldn't pay that much for bread I did acknowledge the pleasure that food can bring. It is part of my mental health tool kit to 'savour the moment' at regular times as a respite and appreciation from the hectic world we live in. 'Take notice' is also one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing identified by the New Economic Foundation. Two weeks ago in Italy I did this with a Danish pastry when I was there for the Exposanita Healthcare exhibition! The hotel restaurant was an exquisite theatre. The delicate Danish pastry was amazing! As it melted in my mouth I almost melted into the chair! I indulged myself in really focusing on it's texture, taste and smell whilst looking at the beautiful paintings on the ceiling and being aware of the serene classical music playing! Wow! So much better than rushing it and thinking about what time my plane was, etc. Just a few focussed moments and I created a magical moment in an oasis from the chaos of life.

What can you do today to make a moment like this?

I had another moment I wanted to preserve last week. I took my baby niece, Sophie, shopping to get new baby great niece, Alanna, some clothes. As I surveyed the cute little dresses Sophie (age 15 weeks) began to niggle. I lifted her out of the pram and chatted to her about what I was doing. I held up different outfits for her to look at. Some she definitely chuckled and smiled at, others - no reaction. We chose the two she was most excited about! It was magical! It also reminded me of the very special children I used to teach who could not verbally communicate but we would give them choices to make in this way. Sophie repeated the action at the check out making me a very proud Auntie! The wonder of baby chuckles!

I also reflected on how my postnatal illness had robbed me of savouring special times like this. I was always anxious and rushing onto the next stage. Meanwhile my beloved Dominic grew up fast! When I spend time with him now I make sure I appreciate it. As a young man of 14 he is at a different stage altogether and sharing increasingly adult things with him is fun! Although I acknowledge if I gushed about how proud of him I am at a check-out when he was with me I'd be in BIG trouble!

However, I do have his permission to share this amazing project he has made for an English GCSE assignment during half term. He has done the majority of the film editing and he is the Hobbit, tramp, Frankenstein and 'the boy'. The rest of the team were Tom Roberts, Jack Simcott and Nicholas Chambers. Very well done and the A* grade was deserved!

As I walked through a shop with Sophie a kind elderly gentleman stopped me to look at her. He assumed she was my baby and warmly advised me to 'enjoy this time with her - they aren't with you long before they get their independence'. He understood the importance of savouring the moment. Also the pleasure (and sometimes pain) of being a parent.

Seeing my brother with his first grandchild on Sunday was also beautiful.

I feel like my late great grandmother who told my Mum when she was expecting me 'children bring their love'!

If you are reading this as a new parent and don't feel this way, please get help! The sooner postnatal depression is recognised and treated, the sooner you will get better and live the magic moments.

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Challenging Delivery and Changing Health and Social Care for the Better.

Tonight I attended the latest  Platform Network: Bringing together innovators, social entrepreneurs and commissioners in the health and social care sectors - Challenging Delivery and Changing Health and Social Care for the Better.

The speakers were excellent and it was great to be in a room filled with positive and innovative energy!

First was Kevin Bond, Director, NE Lincolnshire CTP Mental Health Services (a national pilot site for Right to Request and a nationally and internationally recognised innovator in mental health services). It was inspiring to hear how he has transformed the psychiatric provision along with his staff and service users and I look forward to visiting them soon.

We also heard from Helen McFarlane, Chair and Director, Salford Health Matters (a nationally recognised social enterprise pathfinder site CIC). She spoke about the transformation of their primary care provision.

The final speaker was Annie Francis Director IM-UK an Industrial Provident Society - New Provider of Midwifery Services to the NHS. Of course this is a subject close to my heart. The rate of postnatal depression is lower for the mothers who use this service. I hope we can see it expand.

Thank you to the team at for another excellent evening - can you change the date of the September one though as I'll be away on a cruise?!

Elaine Hanzak

Social Value - Myth or Economic Reality?

Today I attended a NW NHS conference called Social Value - Myth or Economic Reality, at the impressive Aintree Race Course Liverpool, 

Social Value is about how well scarce resources are allocated and used; and how their collective use delivers measurable and improved outcomes. It reflects a balanced approach in assessing outcomes, taking into account the wider benefits to the patient, the wider community and the general public.

It was aimed at:-

Are you a Provider?
• Do you want to show how you can provide added social value when tendering for services?
• Do you want to know how you can support the NHS and Social Care in delivering services differently across local communities?

Are you a Commissioner?
• Do you want to know how the NHS and Social Care can gain more from the services they commission?
• Do you want to know how you can provide added social value to your local communities without spending additional resources?

It was well attended and it was good to meet up with Paula and Mark from The Wellbeing Project, amongst other familiar and new faces.

Due to a big meeting being called at Whitehall, the 'biggest cheeses' did not attend! Julie Cheetham, Project Director NHS Cross-Regional SHA Social Value Project, NHS North West   gave an opening address, followed by a Pan-SHA Social Value Commissioning Project Overview by Brett Nelson, Senior Manager, CPC Ltd.

Next we heard of case study stories from pilot sites in Blackburn with Darwen and Kensington and Chelsea PCTs.

Unfortunately this overrun and there wasn't time for Mandy Wearne to speak about the importance of listening to patients! There must be some irony in there as we had to listen to loads of statistics instead!

After a break we all split for workshops. I attended one by Richard Kramer and some of his team from Turning Point. 
It was good to hear from a gentleman who has been supported and successful in turning his life around due to Social Value.
Next I listened to Dr. Jessica Allen, Project Director of the Marmot Review.
Fair Society, Healthy Lives: A Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England Post-2010 was published on 11 February 2010. During the process of researching, writing and consulting on the report, and following the high profile launch of the Review, widespread interest from all sectors has inspired us to continue to champion a social determinants approach to reducing health inequalities. 

The afternoon began with a stimulating presentation by Craig Dearden-Philips, Chief Executive of Speaking Up and a Social Enterprise Ambassador.

He then chaired an unusual but interesting Dragon's Question Time where various presenters gave a 5 minute pitch about their role in Social Value and as an audience we used our mobiles to answer questions, which were instantly transferred to the big screen by sponsors Good4Health
As the final speaker speculated though, did this give 'permission' for addicted Blackberry users to apparently  use their devices 'innocently' during the session?

The panel were

Peter Holbrook, CE, Social Enterprise Coalition
Jenni Inglis, Director, Social Return on Investment
Richard Kramer (as above)
Dr. Stephen Brookes, Senior Fellow in Public Policy and Management, Manchester Business school
Robert Longley-Cook, Executive Director, Fundraising, Marketing and Communication, WRVS
Nick Brown, Chair, Oldham Local Strategic Partnership
Martin Kinsella, CEO P3

I especially enjoyed the closing talk from Mike Pyrah, Chief Executive of Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT who spoke about the next steps for the NW - Social Value Foundation Launch. 

I do hope the innovation, passion and enthusiasm that has been spoken about and presented today can be used to move forward and improve services. ..... that the myth CAN become reality!

Here is the link to the official resume of the day

It was great that Paula from The Wellbeing Project won one of the sponsors prizes Good4Health - a luxury weekend away! Well deserved. 

Elaine Hanzak

Monday, 7 June 2010

Are you a Liverpool resident? Are you proud to be?

As I am a member of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, some readers may be interested in the Pride of Liverpool project.
The aim of Pride in Liverpool (PIL) is to increase Liverpudlians knowledge of their city and to engage our community to build respect for their neighbourhood and city as a whole. We will create both an encyclopaedia, and a memory and myths book as a legacy for future generations. This website records the gathered information and will will remain as a living document. You can get involved by starting your own project, or by sharing your thoughts on the neighbourhoods forum.

See the flyer here

Elaine Hanzak

Friday, 4 June 2010

Mental illness to rise as millions struggle with debt

A posting from the Mental Health Foundation reports on a study that claims 'Mental illness to rise as millions struggle with debt'.

Depression and mental illness will increase as millions struggle to cope with debts and money problems during the economic downturn, according to a study.
People who owe money are more likely to suffer from psychological problems, the study from the Nottingham School of Economics found.
Researchers examined information from the Families and Children Survey, which questions about 8,000 people a year on issues including their financial situation and health.
In 2005 13% of respondents who reported debt problems and 17% of those reporting financial stress also reported mental health and psychological concerns.
At the same time less than 3% of those who did not report debt or financial stress said they were suffering from psychological problems.
Professor Richard Disney, who carried out the study with Dr Sarah Bridges, said loans such as mortgages were not associated with stress unless payments were overdue.
But money owed to relatives, friends and money-lenders was likely to cause stress whether payments were overdue or not.
He said: "The credit crunch has undoubtedly increased the risk of debt problems, as figures on mortgage arrears and repossessions show.
"In such circumstances it's no surprise that the incidence of mental health problems and psychological stress has also increased.
"We have figures that show more and more people have been seeking advice from counselling agencies and from friends and relatives."
A recent report by mental health charity Mind has also shown the risk of unemployment and hardship has led to a sharp rise in depressive illness.
The study is published in the current edition of the Journal of Health Economics.

Add to this equation families with new babies and the consequences can be even worse.

There is also a good guide to stress here

Elaine Hanzak

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Raise the profile and recognition for PND support groups!

Please make a vote if you would like to raise the profile and recognition for PND support groups!

Beat the Blues was founded by women suffering with Post Natal Depression. Their aim was to aid the road to recovery for women and their families through practical help and support.

Last year the National Lottery funded art therapy sessions for the group which were extremely beneficial in helping our members to relax and communicate.

We have now been nominated for a National Lottery Award for Best Health Project and are through to the semi-finals.

We now need your vote to get us through to the final by calling 08446 861931 or online at between 9am on the 1st June and midday on the 18th June 2010. Please can you forward this e-mail to all your contacts and ask them to do the same, Your support is very much appreciated, thank you.

Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

My trip to Exposanita in Bolgona - Italians suffer postnatal depression too

A couple of years ago I visited Milan as part of an exciting European trip with business group. I was also part of the UKTI Passport to Export scheme which helps UK business to trade abroad.

Whilst I was there made contact with the people in the UKTI office and British Consulate. It was through this meeting that I ultimately spoke at The European Parliament.

The team then invited me to attend Exposanit√†  last week - Italy’s unique exhibition and Europe’s second largest event dedicated to health care and assistance. Established 27 years ago, it is viewed as a must-attend appointment and provides a platform for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors to meet the medical community of the Mediterranean area.

Prior to my visit they had sent some publicity around about me and as a result my story is to appear in two main Italian magazines - Noi Donne and Donna e Mamma. I had a translated interview and a three hour photo shoot around the hotel and centre of Bologna!

I met several interesting people at the exhibition, including:-

Laurence Bristow-Smith, HM Consul General and Director General for Trade & Investment
Roberto Mirabile, Presidente of La
Giovanni Romeo, President of the European Genetics Foundation
Richard Bloss, Director Profo

In addition it was good to meet many impressive UKTI staff from Italy and the UK. Their skill, knowledge and contacts are worth being part of! I loved the city of Bologna and was sorry my visit was so short but keen to return all being well. We are looking into an Italian edition of 'Eyes without Sparkle'.

Thank you to the British Consulate/UKTI team in Milan, Bologna and Naples for making me so welcome. I hope it can be 'arrivederci'!

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

NW NHS leadership awards ceremony - 26th May 2010

Last week I was part of the Question and Answer panel at the NW NHS leadership awards ceremony at The Palace Hotel in Manchester.
The day was run by the efficient Cynergy team 

See the event details here 

The fellow speakers on the Q and A panel were:-

Helen Bevan, Director of Service Transformation at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

Professor Robert Harris, Director of Commissioning, East of England SHA

Mike Farrar, Chief Executive, NHS Northwest

Ross Baglin, Director of Leadership, Department of Health

Andrea Sutcliffe, CEO, Appointments Commission

We had an audience of around 350 NHS NW leaders. I shall link the reports from the events which I am sure will follow!

My main points were about using 'small' ways to make big changes and I also felt I wanted to thank everyone - often patients use such opportunities to complain and moan but I find a postive approach is far more helpful and motivating.

We had a brilliant presentation by Paul Redmond, Head of Careers and Employability Service, University of Liverpool. ttp:// 
He spoke about the different generations at work and the challenge of leadership.
 I would recommend him for any event!

After a lovely lunch I had to leave early to catch my flight to Italy ... more later!

Elaine Hanzak

Ignite your life - Mothers and Fathers -to-be film

Last month Ann Girling and I did a couple of pilot sessions for Mums and Dads to Be.
Ignite Your Life is a Wellbeing Project event aimed at Mothers and Fathers to be in Halton and St Helens, although we would love to take it further afield too.
Read the full account here

We now have a film to go with it - watch it here (you may need to register for free first).

Elaine Hanzak