Since the beginning...
The first session was held on 11th January 2016 and the attendance has been healthy from the start with numbers never being lower than 38 and the most being 54.
Attendees are a mixture of people who currently use mental health services, ex service users, carers and paid workers from a range of providers, both secondary and third sector.
The Mix is a drop-in service with most people arriving at the start of the session and others arriving later. Some stay for the whole two hours whilst others call in for a shorter time.
The space we rent consists of two rooms connected by a cafe bar. A separate quiet room is used for Art during the session between 2pm and 3pm. All attendees are offered one free hot drink. Drinks, homemade cakes and snack lunches are also available at reasonable prices - tea & coffee is 50p and cakes are 50p or £1. The coffee bar is staffed by the YMCA.
In the first twelve sessions members of staff from the following providers have attended:
- MIND ( 3rd sector Mental health charity)
- RETHINK ( 3rd sector mental health charity)
- POhWER (advocacy service)
- Healthwatch ( Dept of Health local ‘watchdog’ group)
- Open Door (service for homeless and vulnerably housed people)
- Richmond Fellowship Employment and Training service
- Mk Housing- specialist mental health worker
- Carers Support service
- COMPASS (service for people with drug/alcohol issues)
- MK Council Commissioner
Secondary Service Managers – Manager of the Recovery and Rehabilitation Team, Social Care Managers for mental health
Secondary Service staff from Early Intervention Team (EIT), Assessment and Short Term Intervention (ASTI), Specialist Therapy Team (STT) and the Recovery and Rehabilitation Team- workers have included both health and social care staff i.e. nurses, occupational therapists, support workers and social workers
Within these first weeks there have been increasing numbers of service users and there is a steady flow of new faces. The Mix is managed by a committee which consists of those using services, carers and workers and this group of people are responsible for running the weekly sessions. A key aim of this service is to provide a place where people are welcomed and supported to be socially involved and committee members have an essential role as host/hostess.
A Reflection From Stu
Stu is a service user and on the 4th April he shared his opinion about The Mix drop-in:
Today was my Birthday, 47 years of age, and still I felt walking into the Mix, putting a brave face on, the condition of my all too real past, dramatic but succinct.
So I found happy faces, and a broad-shoulder or two, I flounder you see, Im in a frying pan and can’t control the heat. Im on medication again and feel slightly apathetic towards this mainstream care, for my jitters and extensive cupboard of skeletons.
So I began a chat with a professional, who gave some insight into the events of their (trouble free) life. So I listened, and began to hear, not, you should continue to feel out of sync, or (perish the thought) I can tell you being labelled as a schizophrenic, has not been easy, and often comes with associated problems, depression, anxiety to name two. So I listened, and after much laughter and nodding, I have agreed to find my own psychotherapy, long, (too long) coming. As the NHS have little, or no help in said expertise psychoanalysis.
So I also realised Im one of millions that have ability and hope, grounds me that does. My family, what’s left of it, can also contribute as a safety net.
Im under no illusion when I say Im going to benefit greatly from the advice today at the Mix, for the rest of my life, no small thing you may say, so raising a glass (it’s my Birthday) with no one in the room, I salute you professionals who try and make a difference, boosting self-respect, abilities, engagement, and all manner of things.
........And at the Mix (YMCA) MK, you get a free cup of SPLOSH and cake only a quid.
Big up yourselves, believers!!!
The cover image this week is of the concrete cows in Midsummer Place (which are sadly no longer there!).