Dr Andrew Mayers
PhD, MBPsS, FRSA
Mental health campaigns and community action
On this page, you will find details about current and historical mental health projects that I have helped promote, including centre openings, fundraising events, and community campaigns. If you would like me to get involved with your project, please contact me via e-mail or Twitter.
Dorset Mind youth project
I am Patron (and Trustee) for Dorset Mind. Among many projects, we are current seeking funding to help establish young people's mental health services. You can discover more about that here. Young people are our future. We owe it to them to ensure better mental health.
Perinatal Mental health
Over the last few years, I have been part of several campaigns to urge better perinatal mental health services, support, and education. That has been undertaken through 3 routes: Perinatal Mental Health Partnership, Maternal Mental Health Alliance, and 1001 Critical Days. Much of that has involved visiting Parliament to make our case. You read more about that on perinatal mental health pages on this website. We are beginning to see some return on those efforts, with increased funding from the UK Government. However, there is a still a long way to go. We need perinatal mental health mother and baby units (and associated community services) within easy reach for very family in the UK. We need comprehensive mental health training for all health professionals involved in the perinatal period. We need high quality (benchmarked) peer-support services across the UK. There's much work still to do!
One of the key casualties as result of poor perinatal mental health is the relationship between mother and infant. We know that poor attachment is related to negative developmental outcomes, including emotional difficulties, conduct problems, social interaction, slower development, and poorer physical and mental health. To address that locally, I am working with a new charity (DorPIP), which provides therapeutic services to help rebuild those relationship difficulties. DorPIP is part of the UK-wide groups under the PIP(UK) umbrella.
Fathers' mental health
Notwithstanding all I have said about maternal mental health, we also need more support for dad. I work work with inspirational Mark Williams on several projects (not least International Fathers' Mental Health Day (the day after Father's Day). You can read more about why I feel this is such an important topic by reading my blog. Good things are happening, but there's much more to do.
Mental health education in schools
All too often, young people are completely unprepared for emerging mental health problems. We know that most mental illnesses are likely to appear (for the first time) in late adolescence. Add yet, many young people have no idea about why they are feeling or behaving like they do. It makes sense that we should deliver mental health education in schools. We can teach about the typical conditions, and how to deal with them (and seek help). We can help young people to look out for their mates. We can help school staff support young people. I am working with partners to getting these programmes established local and nationally. Please let me know if you want to be part of that.
Bridport Mental Health Drop-in Centre
Following recent funding and service changes, many parts of rural west Dorset have limited access to mental health support. The nearest mental health beds are now located in Poole, up to two hours away. The recent service changes have also had an impact on community support. In addition to inpatient facilities, it is vital that people have access to local support services, including signposting, advice and referrals. This is particularly important in rural areas, where access to (and provision of) mental health services can be compromised. Mindful of these problems, Dorset County Council have now opened a new mental health drop-in centre in Bridport. It was my great honour when Councillor Ros Kayes invited me to officially open the unit on September 25th 2014. You can read about the opening ceremony I these media reports from Dorset Echo and Bridport News.
Zest Cafe, Sherborne Centre for Wellbeing
In another example of withdrawn mental health funding, the Zest Cafe (Sherborne Centre for Wellbeing), Dorset, are fighting for their very existence. For many years, the centre has provided supported employment, volunteer opportunities, informal training and social facilities. for people with mental health difficulties. The Zest Cafe aims to reduce the stigma of mental illness through education, and employs people who have experienced mental ill health to run the cafe. Without funding, all of that will end soon. The story has already attracted media attention in local and national sources (Western Gazette, Blackmore Vale News, BBC News). It was my great honour to launch the fundraising campaign on September 30th 2014 - see Western Gazette for more about that.