SW Newsletter #57

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I hope your summer was delightful despite rain, cuts, riots plus the zillion daily challenges of inpatient care. My summer culminated in an unexpected but voluntary and highly therapeutic return to being an inpatient at St Ann’s.

And there’s also a little ‘movie’ I flung together using photos I took while in hospital. For obvious reasons of confidentiality, no people feature in it and this possible makes it rather more melancholy than I was intending! But you may find it useful, even for staff training or, more radically, as part of recruitment selection. For example, you could show applicants the film and ask them to reflect on what a particular image might mean for patients, visitors or staff. Here’s the link to youtube:

and here
And in other news…. We’re thrilled to welcome Brixton prison hospital wing and Addenbrookes Hospital (Cambridge) as new members. Their joining the Star Wards’ community has developed our work from being to support staff in mental health hospitals to being about supporting staff working with mentally ill patients in any hospital setting. We’re slightly international already (a big hello to our members in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America and Bermuda) and now TalkWell is about to be introduced to… Ethiopia! How cool is that? One of the many dynamic staff at Leicestershire Partnership Trust, Claire Armitage, is going to Ethiopia to contribute to their first university training course for mental health nurses, and taking TalkWell with her. Thanks Claire!

The theme of this newsletter is Cheap as Chips. Inspired by so many, many great ideas from wards, we’ve compiled a bunch of no-cost or low-cost suggestions. Two more I’ve come across since then – reminiscence boxes from local museums (thanks to The Retreat in York for that one) and pampering products for the guys eg footspas and Vibrohug – vibrating neck massager scarf/wrap (thanks to Leicester for those.)

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and, as ever, would LOVE to hear your ideas and examples.

Love marion and Buddy




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You might be wondering – what difference does Star Wards actually make to mental health wards? It’s a question we continuously ask ourselves, to make sure that we are having a positive impact. Well, we have over 800 wards signed up to receive our resources and, in the past, we have had Star Wards independently evaluated. A micro-summary of what our users have said is that wards who tried Star Wards ideas had:

This is not about us, it is about people like you. These improvements are down to your hard work. And you can check our newsletters for wards doing amazing things right now. So we are told we do help you make a difference – and we want to get better and be here to help you in the future. So, join up, join in and let us know your wonderful ideas – and if you can donate to us or fundraise for us, we would be delighted to hear from you. Thank you for all you do.