Welcome to the Dorset Mental Health Forum

The Dorset Mental Health Forum is a local peer led charity. We exist to improve the lives of everyone affected by mental illness by promoting wellbeing and recovery. We were established in 1992 and employ people with lived experience of mental health problems whenever possible. Our main office premises are situated in Durngate Street in the market town of Dorchester.

We believe that people with lived experience of mental health problems have a wealth of specialist knowledge and valuable expertise. We believe in the effectiveness of partnership working in the design and provision of mental health services. Everyone has an equal right to enjoy all of the opportunities that life can provide and that is why we promote the principle that hope, mental health and wellbeing are essential to all.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week from 8th May to 14th May 2017 is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year, hosted by The Mental Health Foundation, is “Surviving or Thriving”.

This year The Mental Health Foundation has chosen this theme to move the conversation away from asking why so many people are living with mental health problems, to asking why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.

Check out this link to the Mental Health Foundation website for more information: Mental Health Awareness Week.

We often find that when people talk about mental health they mean mental ill-health, or mental illness. We also find that people sometimes have limited awareness of mental health, the importance of maintaining it and how it can become compromised and lead to mental ill-health in some circumstances.

We believe that it is essential that people consider their mental health and their physical health in equal measure. Understanding how to look after our mental health and to build our emotional resilience is paramount in our lives.

This week is a fantastic opportunity to join in and have important conversations about all things related to our mental health, including the difference between “surviving” and “thriving” in our lives.

Annual Beach Football Friendly Tournament for Mental Health Week

As has been the case for a few years now, our REACH team are helping to mark Mental Health Awareness Week by joining with Dorset Healthcare to organise a beach football tournament on Bournemouth Beach.

The tournament is at Canford Cliffs Chine football goals on Saturday 13th May 2017 and this year we've added Volleyball and Rounders to the day to involve as many people as possible.

We have had some great weather and tournaments in the past so let’s hope this continues - early forecasts look good !

For more information about the day please click below for the tournament flyer

2017 Beach Football Tournament

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The Recovery Education Centre 2016/17 Prospectus and Spring Timetable

REC ProspectusEveryone has a right to wellbeing, to feeling positive about today and feeling hopeful for tomorrow. At times life can feel uncontrollable, and empty of opportunity, and most of us experience this at some point. At the Recovery Education Centre (REC), you will find courses that help to empower you to find hope, to see and embrace opportunity through building skills and gain control by putting these skills into practice in your life.

Please download the REC Prospectus 2016/17 .

REC Summer 2017 Calendar .

REC Summer 2017 Timetable .

Contact the Recovery Education Centre

By Post:
Recovery Education Centre
Hahnemann House
Hahnemann Road

Tel: 01202 584478
Mobile: 07787 836708
Email the REC

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Dorset CCG Mental Health Acute Care Pathway Public Consultation

The public consultation started on Wednesday 1 February 2017 and will end on Friday 31 March 2017. This is a really important consultation and there are several ways that you can be involved.

1. Download a Mental Health Consultation Document and complete the questionnaire online at www.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk

2. Collect a Mental Health Consultation Document from your GP, Community Mental Health Team Office or local library. You will then be able to complete the questionnaire and send it in the free post envelope to Bournemouth University, who is processing the responses on behalf of the CCG

You can also attend one of the 'You said…. We did' events

The CCG is arranging four information sharing events for people who were involved in the view seeking activities. A light lunch after the morning session or afternoon tea after the afternoon session will be provided

• Saturday 25 February, 11am - 1pm, The Dorford Centre, Dorchester

• Saturday 25 February, 1:30pm - 3:30pm, The Dorford Centre, Dorchester

• Saturday 4 March, 11am - 1pm, Poole Lighthouse

• Saturday 4 March, 1:30pm - 3:30pm, Poole Lighthouse

To attend one of these events you will need to book as there are a limited number of places. Please contact the CCG either by email to: involve@dorsetccg.nhs.uk or by telephone on 01202 541946 to book your place.

If you wish to attend the Dorchester event please book by 12pm on Wednesday 22 February 2017. If you wish to attend the Poole event please book by 12pm on Monday 27 February 2017.

At the events you will hear about the Review and the proposals and you will be able to ask questions on the proposals in smaller groups or individually, to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard.

There will then be time to fill in the consultation questionnaire and there will also be people around to support you to do this if required.

Consultation Drop In events

If you are unable to come to the 'You said…. We did' events, there will be drop-in events in 11 different locations around Dorset over the next few weeks, that you are also very welcome to attend.

If you are able to drop in, you will be able to speak to representatives from Dorset CCG and from Dorset HealthCare about the proposals and there will be a consultation questionnaire available for you to fill in, with time for questions and further support as required.

* Wednesday 8 Feb 2017 Bournemouth Library 11am-3pm

* Tuesday 14 Feb 2017 Dorchester Town Hall 11am-3pm

* Wednesday 15 Feb 2017 Wareham Corn Exchange 11am-3pm

* Thursday 16 Feb 2017 Christchurch Library 11am-3pm

* Monday 20 Feb 2017 Digby Memorial Church Hall, Sherborne 11am-3pm

* Tuesday 21 Feb 2017 Sturminster Newton, The Exchange 11am-3pm

* Wednesday 22 Feb 2017 St Mary’s Longfleet Church Centre, Poole 11am-3pm

* Thursday 23 Feb 2017 Ferndown venue to be confirmed 11am-3pm

* Friday 24 Feb 2017 Weymouth Library 11am-3pm

* Friday 3 Mar 2017 Bridport Town Hall 11am-3pm

* Tuesday 14 Mar 2017 Boscombe Library 11am-3pm

Beverages will be available at each of the drop in events.Please take this opportunity to influence and shape your local mental health services.

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Changes to the NHS in Dorset - Clinical Services Review

The NHS in Dorset needs to change. Dorset CCG have developed a vision for how health care in Dorset could be changed and improve. Have a look at the animated film below to find out why the NHS in Dorset needs to change:

Please click here to go to the film.

A three-month public consultation on changes proposed in Dorset’s Clinical Services Review (CSR) started on 1st December 2016 and will run until 28th February 2017.Local residents are encouraged to take part in the 12-week public consultation to give their views about proposals that could see major changes to acute hospital and community care services across Dorset.

The Clinical Services Review was launched in 2014 in response to major challenges which health and care face both in Dorset and across the rest of the country. These include:

• a growing population with more people living longer.

• an increasing demand on services.

• workforce shortages that will be difficult to fill.

• variations in the quality of care.

• a potential funding gap of at least £158m per year by 2020.

The CCG say that making the changes proposed in the CSR would mean high quality services would continue in Dorset for the future and more lives could be saved.

During this important consultation, people will be asked for their views on proposals which have been developed by local doctors and health professionals, and representative groups of patients and the public. These include changes to the larger hospitals in the county and bringing more care closer to home through the development of community services including new hubs.

Over the coming weeks there will be lots of opportunities to get involved and have a say about your NHS, with events being planned, thousands of consultation documents being available at venues throughout the county – including GP practices and hospitals – and the opportunity to complete the questionnaire online.

Further information and resources can be found at The Dorset CSR website.

Alongside the CSR consultation, Dorset CCG is expected to launch the Acute Mental Health Services Review consultation in January 2017 which will run for 8 weeks. Further information will be available here and on the CCG’s Dorset Vision website when it becomes available in January 2017.

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Do you need help to keep your home warm this winter?

Information, guidance and financial support is available for people who need it through a project which runs until March 2017, coordinated by Dorset Community Action and funded by the British Gas Energy Trust.

Do you find it hard to pay your gas and electricity bills?

• Is your home hard to heat?

• Would you like to check you are getting all the benefits and financial help you are entitled to?

• Will keeping warm in winter be made more difficult by poor physical or mental health, having a disability, having young children under 5, or living ‘off mains gas’?

• Will finding it hard to pay your fuel bills and keep your home warm affect your physical and mental health?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions then help is available before the cold weather arrives.

The Healthy Homes Partnership project can help you with advice, benefit claims, switching suppliers, home improvements, loans and grants as follows:

Age UK Dorchester and Citizens Advice are providing advice on welfare benefits and access to grants and other financial help. This includes a ‘hardship fund’ aimed at people under 60 years old who are having difficulty paying their fuel bills or affording more energy efficient heating and insulation in their homes.

Magna Housing is working with the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team to identify tenants who might benefit from a wood-burning stove; support will include helping tenants to get their wood from local sustainable woodland

Wyvern Savings and Loans is on hand to consider low-cost loans for people struggling to pay their fuel bills.

For further information about accessing help, please contact one of the above organisations or contact bget@dorsetcommunityaction.org.uk who will be able to help you.

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Hidden Talents – Valuing the Lived Experience of Staff Working within Dorset

The Hidden Talents group was set up five years ago, in partnership with Dorset Mental Health Forum.

As well as providing a support network for staff who have been through mental health problems or emotional distress, it aims to raise awareness and help create a more inclusive working environment where such experiences are seen as a positive.

The Hidden Talents group is aiming to challenge attitudes and stigma further and to bring about better understanding of mental health problems, through the launch and publication of a new film and information booklet, featuring inspirational stories from people within Dorset HealthCare’s workforce.

The booklet, which has a foreword by Dorset HealthCare’s Chief Executive Ron Shields, provides more personal testimony alongside contributions from directors and senior managers about the need for change.

If you would like to join the Hidden Talents group or to be kept out to date with our work then please contact us at Hidden.Talents@dhuft.nhs.uk and a member of the team will contact you. We would also be happy to come along and talk to your team - just let us know when is convenient for you

The Hidden Talents film can be seen at: The Dorset Healthcare YouTube channel.

The Hidden Talents booklet can be downloaded here. Hidden Talents booklet

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Open Minds Dorset

Do you have personal experience of hearing voices and would you be interested in joining a planning group to set up Hearing Voices Groups in Bridport & Dorchester?

For more details please click here. Open Minds flyer

Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP) Biennial Report

Biennial Report

The Biennial Report and Executive Summary for the Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership have now been published. The documents cover the period 2012-2014 and details the achievements of the partnership between the Dorset Mental Health Forum and Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust in supporting people using local mental health services and their carers


To read and/or download the documents plus for some more information on the WaRP  

please click here

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Mindful Employer Initiative

The Forum supports the Mindful Employer Initiative - we are a signatory to the voluntary charter for employers who are positive about mental health. For further information, please visit the Mindful Employer website.

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Understanding the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 2007)

Finding yourself or someone close to you detained under the Mental Health Act, (or “sectioned”), can be a frightening and confusing experience and it can feel hard to get straight answers or information in plain English. Mind produce an excellent guide giving general information about the most commonly used sections, your rights and a glossary.

If you have questions or concerns about your own personal circumstances, or those of someone close to you, or you want to appeal your section, one of the Forum's team of Independent Mental Health Act (IMHA) advocates can help you. Go to the Advocacy page for more details.

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Welfare Reform Guide

This Welfare Reform Guide is a very basic outline of some of the recent benefit changes and how they may affect people; it isn't intended to be used to calculate specific eligibility, but to help you understand the principles.

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Nutrients Table for Improved Mental Health

Please download this extremely useful Nutrients Table for Improved Mental Health developed by the Mental Health Foundation. It provides details of which nutrients may be lacking in your diet and suggests foods and vitamins that can improve your condition, aid recovery and maintain good mental health and wellbeing.

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Supporting Staff Recovery & Hidden Talents

The Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP) has published a collection of papers called Supporting the Recovery Journeys of Staff.

The Wellbeing@work tool provides a simple supportive way to enhance work based conversations that focus on an individual's wellbeing. The Sharing of Lived Experience document looks at how all staff can use their own lived experience of trauma and life to create a recovery focused workforce and culture. The Lived Experience Survey highlights how commonplace and normal mental health problems are and the importance of seizing this opportunity to celebrate and utilise all lived experience and expertise.


Hidden Talents is about NHS workers who have personal lived experience of mental health problems. It is a part of the Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership which is a collaboration between Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust and the Forum.

Download the Hidden Talents booklet for more details.

The three aims of this booklet are:

  1. tackle stigma of mental health problems through the use of recovery narratives and creative expression
  2. to take the opportunity to learn from the lived experience of staff and provide some initial guidance about how to effectively support people with their emotional wellbeing
  3. to improve the experience for everyone accessing and working within the service, by creating a discussion centred around how best to support people, underpinned by the recovery approach

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'No Decision About Us Without Us'

'No Decision About Us Without Us' document coverIn essence, this document describes why, how and the many ways that the general public can get involved in the shaping of local health and care services. It's very comprehensive and describes simply and accessibly many of the new bodies and groups that now exist around local service commissioning and provision.

Please download the 'No Decision About Us Without Us' document to inform yourself of the changes to health services and see how you can get involved in shaping these services, now and in the future.

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Dorset Mental Health Forum Information Leaflet

Forum Information LeafletIf you or anyone you know has an interest in helping to shape services you can get involved by joining the Forum. Download the Forum Information Leaflet to find out more about what we do and how you can be a part of it.

It explains who we are and the many pieces of work and projects that we undertake, including:

  • Consultation and Representation
  • Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP)
  • Dorset Mental Health Advocacy
  • Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
  • WorkWise - An employment support co-ordination service
  • Sports and Leisure Activity Programme
  • Peer Support Groups and various other projects

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