Stand Up for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Awareness Week, from November 11 – 17, is not only about taking a stand for a misunderstood illness, it’s also about having hope for the future.

Read more about the Rethink Mental Illness campaign Stand Up for Schizophrenia

Last year’s Schizophrenia Commission found that urgent change was needed in the NHS and beyond. The good news is that providers of mental health services across the country are showing real enthusiasm to improve those services through our Innovation Network.

Innovation means trying new things, so here are six ideas that will be tested in the coming months.

  1. Animals and therapy – What about a dog or cat being resident on a ward, or visiting regularly? In response to the Commission’s finding that some inpatient units can be “stressful, chaotic and scary places”, ideas for therapeutic inpatient care include looking at how animals could help reduce anxiety and encourage engagement with therapeutic activity, One service in Lincolnshire has even seen a Shetland pony make an appearance!
  2. Every day counts – Purposeful Admissions to Inpatient Care (PIPA) is a model that ensures reviewing and planning the person’s hospital stay on a daily basis, reducing the time they spend there and helps support them to leave as soon as they’re well enough.
  3. Physical health – The body as well as the mind – poor physical health in those with mental illness is common, and shortens lives. Rethink Mental Illness Innovation Network are finding ways to help reduce smoking rates in secondary mental health services and prevent weight gain in young people experiencing psychosis for the first time.
  4. Changes in workplaces – Only 8% of people with schizophrenia are in employment. How can people with mental illness be supported into work and during their employment? Initiatives include the embedding of employment specialists in mental health teams.
  5. Recovery valuesRethink Mental Illness Innovation Network is also looking at how to help Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) support recovery by engaging their staff with recovery-promoting relationships and working practices. The recovery-focused workforce intervention involves increasing self-awareness of values and beliefs, and knowledge about recovery, among CMHT staff.
  6. A touch of comfort – Finally our fantastic fundraising team are getting behind a scheme to get ‘Sleep Packs’ in psychiatric wards. ‘Sleep Packs’ will contain things like eye masks and earplugs, touches of comfort that will aid better sleep – which we know is crucial to getting better.