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.

The Recovery Education Centre 2016/17 Prospectus and Autumn 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 Autumn 2016 Calendar .

REC Autumn 2016 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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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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Mental Health Acute Care Pathway Review Update

The CCG are now in the third stage of the Mental Health Acute Care Pathway Review where they are looking at possible future models of acute mental health care in Dorset. The CCG have organised a series of workshops that will involve people who access services, carers, Dorset HealthCare, the Local Authorities and so on and participants will bring ideas and expertise and to start to identify the best services to meet the needs identified in stage one and two of the Review process.

Once all the workshop events are finished NHS Dorset CCG will develop a business case and that will for stage four of the project which will be a public consultation.

For more information on the Mental Health Acute Care Pathway Review visit: www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/mentalhealth For more information on the Mental Health Acute Care Pathway Review please visit The Dorset CCG website.

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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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