Invitation to the launch of Chris’s House Midlothian this Friday 27th

About Chris’s House

Chris’s House was founded by Anne Rowan, a Wishaw mum with a passionate vision for a crisis centre established in memory of her son Chris, whom she lost to suicide in 2011 at the age of 36. In the years following Chris’s death, Anne experienced an overwhelming sense of guilt. Her hair fell out, she lost her balance and couldn’t go out unaided.

She turned her attention to taking action – through the creation of Chris’s House, a ‘Centre for Help, Response and Intervention Surrounding Suicide’. It is the first 24 hour, non-medical crisis centre in Scotland offering integrated support. The cosy rooms have each been carefully designed to offer guests an environment they can feel comfortable in. The generosity of families that have been touched by the work Chris’s House have accomplished have raised the funds or made donations to allow for the space offer calm and wellbeing.

Anne remains an active and passionate leader of Chris’s House she is adamant that the focus not remain solely on her efforts. She is joined in this mission to help bring awareness to mental ill health with more than 60+ volunteers. Each have been touched in some way by suicide and understand the on-going ripple effects that it has on family, friends and the community. 

Find out more about Chris’s House here

The on-line consultation on the Draft East Lothian Poverty Plan 2021-2023 is now live

From Paolo Vestri, Service Manager – Improvement, Policy & Communications, Communities & Partnerships, East Lothian Council

Tackling the causes and effects of poverty in East Lothian is one of the, if not the, most important priorities for East Lothian Council as we begin to recover from the COVID pandemic.

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”      Nelson Mandela

Following publication of the East Lothian Poverty Commission report in 2017 much has been done over the last few years to reduce poverty and inequalities, but much more still needs to be done.

The pandemic and lockdowns have increased poverty in East Lothian. (Read the leaflet, ‘Poverty in East Lothian’ for more information.) So it is vital that we put in place a new Plan to reduce poverty and improve the economic and life chances of all our citizens.

A Draft Poverty Plan for 2021 – 2023 has been prepared for the Council by a working group including representatives from key council services, NHS Lothian and community and voluntary groups. 

The Draft Plan sets out objectives and actions that should be prioritised over the next two years.

It can be accessed using the following link.

Run your own Recovery Conversation Café toolkit launched!

The Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart MSP has officially launched a new engagement toolkit for organisations and services.

Developed by the Scottish Recovery Network the Run your own Recovery Conversation Café toolkit provides a guide and resources to help you engage people in meaningful discussions about what is important to them and their communities.

Providing a different approach to engagement a recovery conversation café moves away from traditional consultation. It creates a welcoming environment where people are not just passive responders but active participants, listening to each other and building on ideas. Using the approach organisations and services are providing the opportunity for people to participate in:

  • The design, delivery and evaluation of support
  • Influencing local and national planning and strategies
  • Events that bring people together to connect and share ideas on mental health and wellbeing

You can order free Run your own Recovery Conversation Café toolkit(s) from the Scottish Recovery Network (Scotland only) by calling  0300 323 9956 or emailing info@scottishrecovery.net

British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us directly by using contactSCOTLAND-BSL

The toolkit can also be download from www.scottishrecovery.net

Chair appointed to Public Health Scotland board

The Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd MSP and COSLA, Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Councillor Stuart Currie today announced the appointment of Angiolina Foster CBE as Chair of the Public Health Scotland Board.

Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport said:

“As Chair of Public Health Scotland, Angiolina will bring considerable experience and insight that will be invaluable as the organisation continues to innovate, adapt and transform.

“She will play a significant role in ensuring Public Health Scotland strengthens and supports a whole system, partnership approach to understanding and tackling our public health challenges, making best use of our considerable public health assets to realise the vision of a Scotland where everybody thrives.

“I look forward to working with her as Public Health Scotland continues to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.”

Councillor Stuart Currie, COSLA’s Health and Social Care Spokesperson said:

“I am delighted with the appointment of Angiolina as Chair of Public Health Scotland. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from a number of high profile positions.

She has exactly the skill set required for this exciting role and will play a key role in bringing the organisation’s vision of a Scotland where everyone thrives.

From a personal point of view I look forward to working alongside her and the fantastic team we have in place at PHS.’

Angiolina Foster CBE is a respected public service leader whose work has spanned local government, national government and the third sector. She most recently held a Chief Executive position within Scotland’s NHS. In all her roles, she has aimed to put people at the heart of service design and delivery. This has afforded her rich learning in system leadership, strategy and service transformation, all of which she will bring to her role as Chair of Public Health Scotland. She was awarded a CBE in 2011 for her contribution to Scotland’s public services.

This appointment will be for four years and will run from 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2025.

This appointment is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

First steps towards a National Care Service

‘Real life experts’ to help focus on what really matters to people receiving social care.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and Minister for Social Care Kevin Stewart have welcomed the first meeting of a Social Covenant Steering Group, set up to help guide the development of a National Care Service.

Establishing the group, made up of people with day-to-day experience of social care, was a key recommendation of Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Adult Social Care and marks the fulfilment of one of the commitments for the first 100 days of this government.

Find out more at the link below.

First steps towards a National Care Service – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Racism in Scottish Social Work: a 2021 snapshot

The Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) has launched a report exploring racism in Scottish Social Work

Racism in Scottish Social Work: a 2021 snapshot is the result of ongoing work undertaken by SASW including a survey, which ran towards the end of 2020, and an anti-racism roundtable in March 2021, all in collaboration with members with lived experience.

The report provides evidence that:

  • Racism exists within social work in Scotland
  • Racism is experienced in both employment and education settings, from colleagues, managers and people who use services
  • The impact of racism on social workers from BAME backgrounds is significant
  • When racism is reported it is rarely dealt with in a satisfactory way
  • Racism experienced within social work is harmful, both to individuals and to the profession

On the launch, Alison Bavidge, National Director, said:

We asked social workers about their experiences of racism.  What they told us shows we have a long way to go to ensure our workplaces and educational settings are free from discrimination based on race.  This report will lay the foundations for SASW’s own anti-racism strategy and action plan for the next three years as part of a wider equalities, diversity and inclusion programme throughout BASW UK. SASW will be working to consider its own position in terms of representation on our National Standing Committee, staff group, whether our systems act against diversity and so on.  We will also engage with universities and social work leaders in Scotland to work positively, collaboratively and to learn from each other to eradicate this exhausting and harmful abuse”

Read the report here

Mental Welfare Commission publishes two reports for consideration by the Scottish Mental Health Law Review

Advance statements

In the first of two reports published today by the Mental Welfare Commission, new analysis shows very low use of advance statements by people who are detained for treatment and who are visited by doctors appointed by the Commission. An advance statement is written by a person when they are well, setting out the care and treatment they would prefer or would dislike should they become mentally unwell again in the future. A person’s advance statement should be regarded by their psychiatrist, the designated medical practitioner, and the Mental Health tribunal for Scotland.

While advance statements were introduced in the 2003 Mental Health Act as important safeguards for individuals, the Commission’s new analysis shows that only 6.6% of people being detained for treatment under the Act over a three and a half year period (to December 2020) had written an advance statement. The report published today analyses the data and makes recommendations to health boards to improve uptake of advance statements. It also make suggestions for the Scottish Mental Health Law Review to consider as part of its current work.

Significantly impaired decision-making ability

The second report published today by the Commission is a research paper focusing on one of the criteria – significantly impaired decision making ability (SIDMA) – used when doctors consider that a person requires compulsory treatment. Significantly impaired decision-making ability is a concept unique to Scottish law. It was also introduced in 2003 Act as part of efforts to reduce discrimination and incorporate greater respect for patient autonomy.

Today’s research paper finds poor practice in recording and describing the presence of significantly impaired decision-making ability in the individual concerned in almost every one of 100 compulsory treatment forms examined. While it is not a legal requirement to record that detail, the Commission believes it is important to do so. Again, the Commission asks the Scottish Mental Health Law Review team to consider these findings and make changes for the future.

Dr Arun Chopra, medical director at the Mental Welfare Commission, said:

“We undertook this research and are publishing these reports today because we believe they will be of interest to the Scottish Mental Health Law Review as it develops its thinking on the future of mental health laws in this country.

“Both of the subjects we explore – advance statements, and the concept of significantly impaired decision-making ability – were introduced to law in the 2003 Mental Health Act.

“Both sought to bring about more consideration of individuals’ rights, but today’s research shows that while the concepts were and are good, the practice has not achieved what it set out to do.

“We hope that by having this factual analysis the Scottish Mental Health Law Review team will be more able to take forward ideas for change.

“We would be happy to attend a session of the relevant group to discuss the findings and legislative ideas further.” Copies of the research documents are available here: