Latest news from Falkirk's Mental Health Association
July/August 2015
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July/August 2015 Newsletter

Hello <<First Name>>,
In this newsletter there is more fantastic news from our Pink 2:2 Media Group. Their work has been terrific at highlighting mental health issues and now FDAMH can provide you and your workplace with training to further improve your understanding. Check out our Training Academy to find out more. And, due to growth, we have some excellent job opportunities just now too!
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- - NEWS - -

FDAMH Welcomes Audit by the People who use Services

Members of the Involvement Group have been working very hard recently, preparing for a major project examining the services that FDAMH provides using the Scottish Recovery Indicator 2 monitoring tool (SRI 2) which is made available by the Scottish Recovery Network.

After giving an excellent presentation about SRI 2 to staff the Involvement Group have now commenced their work looking at FDAMH's activities through the lens of SRI 2. We're very pleased that the group have decided to apply SRI 2 to FDAMH and keenly await the results of the audit. Recovery is extremely important to FDAMH and we hope that this work will both demonstrate this and help us to develop further.
Read More

'Being Frank' makes British Theatre Challenge Shortlist!

The impact of our Pink 2:2 Media Group's play 'Being Frank' has been clear to see, with audiences expressing the huge boost the play has given to their understanding of mental health issues and recovery. Now the fantastic feedback we've been getting is reinforced by the play's script making it first on to the British Theatre Challenge's Longlist, and now into the Shortlist of the final 25 plays. The script was written by Pink 2:2's members with support from award-winning local writer Katie White and is drawn from the real experiences of group members. The ten winning plays will be announced by the end of July and be filmed and performed in London by professional actors. With thanks to See Me for funding this very successful drama project.

Job Opportunities at FDAMH

Do you want to be involved in satisfying work that makes a difference to your community? Would you like to be part of a valued team providing support services that are key to helping FDAMH achieve its goals? If so you may be interested in these new vacancies in Finance and Administration:

Finance and Administration Manager
This is a new role now required due to FDAMH's continued growth. You will manage the administration team and work closely with FDAMH's Manager, Fundraiser and Board producing management accounts and monitoring all aspects of FDAMH's finances. Closing date: 20th July 2015

Administration Officer
Due to the current post-holder moving on to another role in FDAMH we now have this vacancy, offering interesting and varied administrative support to FDAMH and the staff team. It offers a fantastic opportunity to anyone keen to learn and use their own initiative. Closing date: 27th July 2015
Get Full Details for these Vacancies

New Support Through PIP & ESA Assessments

Forth Valley Advocacy have launched a new service offering advocacy support to people going through the PIP and ESA assessment processes. Ian Dunsmore is the new worker taking on this role and here he explains what his post is about:

"I am a benefits assessment advocacy worker. I am part of an independent and free service that works for vulnerable people. Essentially, my job is to attend disability benefit assessments with clients, while making sure that they are educated on the assessment and are supported throughout the process. As an advocacy worker, I can also speak during assessments when required, to make sure clients are treated as fairly as possible, and can also prompt them to speak if they have forgotten to mention any details of their condition.

I hope to make the often degrading process of benefits assessments as painless as possible for people with mental health issues, learning difficulties or persons aged 65 and over, and will ultimately attempt to help people receive the benefits they deserve.

If you think that you or someone you know could benefit from this service, please don’t hesitate to contact me, as I want to help as many people as I can!"

Many thanks to Ian for popping out to FDAMH to explain his role to our staff. If you feel Ian could be of assistance, you can contact Ian on his mobile – 07812 666413 (text or call) or by calling the Forth Valley Advocacy Office on  01324 574301.

Thanks for New Funding from:

Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust
Waitrose Stirling
Find Out More About FDAMH's Supporters

FDAMH's Training Academy

Our Training Academy has a growing selection of courses available for you to book online, whether you represent an organisation, are interested in training for your role as an employer, employee or volunteer or are individually seeking self-development. Whatever your background, you'll enjoy safe, interactive learning delivered by one of our enthusiastic, experienced tutors. We currently have dates for:

Introduction to Mental Health Awareness
Scotland's Mental Health First Aid
Understanding Self-Harm
Boundaries Training
COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills

Most courses can be paid for online. If online payment is not suitable for your organisation please contact us to discuss invoicing.

Students say:

"Learned how to deal with employees who are upset and angry, the scenarios were good – made me think about real life issues"

"Definitely leaving with a lot more knowledge on the topic and reasons why people self-harm"

"Had boundary training previously however this course actually made sense to me"
"Really good course"

"I am more knowledgeable and confident to ask appropriate questions to be able to support my colleagues"

"If you are considering applying for this course, be prepared for your life to change….for the better"
Visit FDAMH's Training Academy

Last places remaining on Counselling Skills Course due to start Aug 2015

But if you're too late, you can still apply and join our waiting list for the next course!

Late August will see the commencement of our next COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills Course at FDAMH. Feedback about this course of year-long part-time study has been terrific and we offer excellent tutoring, very competitive pricing and an extremely convenient and comfortable location.
Find Out More / Sign Up

A tiny bit of tweeting!

We've started using our FDAMH Twitter account a little bit as we noticed people mentioning us on Twitter and it seemed a shame not to be part of the conversation! However don't expect to be deluged in bird song from FDAMH quite yet - we certainly won't be tweeting all day long! If you'd like to encourage us as we embark on our first Twitter summer you can find and follow us using the link below.
FDAMH on Twitter
FDAMH on Twitter


Our new receptionist, Eve, is a musician in her spare time. Eve and her friends will be putting on a fundraiser at the end of the month, with funds going to local charities including FDAMH.

(Click the photo to visit the event's facebook page!)

- - SERVICES - -

Personal Development

New Website Layout

You may have noticed that all of our courses for Personal Development now have a new link on the front page services photo menu of the web site. These are free courses available to people using any of our services and/or volunteers.

Anxiety Management Course

Congratulations to the latest students to complete the Anxiety Management Course. Course tutor, Liz Trodden, would like to thank all of her students for working so hard and also extend her gratitude to guests John Dunbar for delivering a session on Mindfulness and Anna Canning who took the group to Calendar Park for a Nature Walk.

Service User and Carer Involvment

NHS Clinical Services Review Update

We were delighted that so many of you participated in the recent NHS Clinical Services Review, whether it be online or within one of the review groups. Pauline Marland, Patient Experience Coordinator for NHS Forth Valley, says "Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback and suggestions over the last six months to help shape local health services for the future. We aim to complete the first draft of the healthcare strategy over the summer and it will then be subject to wider consultation and further engagement before it is finalised."

Linda, our Service User and Carer Involvement Co-ordinator, will continue to keep anyone interested up-to-date with how this is developing and we'll let you know when any further public consultation on the review opens.
Read more


We'd like to thank our volunteer Carol Traynor for all the hard work and support she has given to FDAMH since she started training with us back in 2012. Carol has finally had to give up her hours with FDAMH due to work commitments but we'd like to wish her every success in her new counselling job. 

Third Age Befriending (TAB)

The Stepping on Group had a lovely day out on the canal this month, courtesy of the Seagull Trust.
Read More
Stepping On Group Programme

Family and Carers Support

Welcoming Susan to the Family and Carers Project

Susan Burns has moved across from the Drop-In Project to become the new Carer’s Support Practitioner, working with Neil to support carers and their families. Susan says "The carers at FDAMH  have made me feel very welcome.  Having been a carer for 20 years, it’s a privilege for me to support and represent other carers”.

Sometimes a short intervention can make all the difference

Family and Carers Support tailors its service to each individual case. Sometimes it only takes a short period of direct support to help families get back on track, as in this case, referred to FDAMH because of concerns that there was a risk of family breakdown:

"My son and I were referred to Neil Sowerby from FDAMH's Family Support Project. My son had had several years of some mental health issues – now improving significantly with appropriate intervention –and we had been having problems with communication. For the most part we have a very good relationship but any discussion of contentious issues could escalate quickly into chaotic communication and result in upset on both sides. Both of us were aware of this but, after the event, neither of us could work out at what point it deteriorated into upset/ negative communication or what the trigger was. It was suggested that mediation may help and subsequently we met with Neil.

We both felt able to speak frankly to Neil and were able to say how we felt during these incidents. This gave both of us opportunity to see the other's perspective; my son felt I was TELLING him what to do and being overbearing; I felt I was trying to give advice and help him. With Neil's help, we agreed to bear each of our feelings in mind when speaking to each other and respect them. I agreed that I would not give advice unless asked; my son agreed that he would not take this as disinterest and would ask if he needed my help for anything.

Since then, our communication has been more effective and the volatility has stopped. We are both grateful for Neil's help and feel it has had a very positive impact on our relationship."

The support given may have been short, but its had a really postive impact on this family. Family members also have the confidence of knowing that they can contact the Family Support Project again if they need to, helping to prevent any future difficulties from escalating.

Next Carers Education Course starts Autumn 2015

Quote from a particpant on the last course:
‘I never wanted to join any groups in the past as I didn’t think there was any benefit.  I also didn’t want to reveal personal info about me or my son, I was extremely guarded.  I now know that if I had joined a group, I would have gained the tools needed to understand mental illness from different perspectives.  It also relieves a lot of stress to share problems and listen to other carer’s experiences, good and bad.  This was the first time, in nearly 20 years, I had ever shared to anyone outside the family that my son has schizophrenia as I had been scared of the stigma around mental health. So the education group helped me open up and begin to accept and understand what my son has been going through”

Next Mindfulness for Carers Course provisionally starting in September 2015

FDAMH’s Mindfulness Course for Carers can help relieve the stress and anxiety often associated with caring. These courses are proving popular and extremely beneficial to participants. There are limited spaces available for the next block of training which is planned to commence in September. It will take place on Wednesday evenings from 6pm – 8pm in the Victoria Centre.
To find out more or note your interest please contact Neil Sowerby on 01324 671 600 or email
A student from the previous course says:
"I feel happier with myself. I don't get so stressed. I feel in control of my thoughts.  Practising the Mindfulness tools every day has become part of my daily routine.  It's become as easy as brushing my teeth. In fact for the few minutes it takes to brush my teeth I can be doing this mindfully without realising it! I'm 66yrs and so wish I had known about Mindfulness during my working life." 

Take a Break

Creative Breaks Programme
Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre can offer grants of up to £300 to eligible carers who are caring for an adult (21 years and above) for a flexible break of their choosing  A break might be an opportunity to pursue a hobby, catch up with friends or just relax and recharge your batteries.  For some people, a short break is something they enjoy having together and for others it is enjoying quality time apart. Examples have included funding for gym membership, cinema passes, short breaks away, pampering, guitar lessons, meals out and much more. Breaks to be taken before the end of October 2015. To find out if you are eligible or to apply please contact the Carers Centre on 01324 611510 or download the Creative Breaks Guidance and Application Form from the Carers Centre website.
Carers Centre Website
Short Breaks for Carers of People with Mental Health Problems
Do you care for someone who has mental health problems and need a break from your caring role?  Support in Mind Scotland, along with the Carers Trust for Scotland, is able to provide funding so carers can take a short holiday, start a new leisure activity, or have a few days of pampering and relaxation. If you are an unpaid carer for someone with a mental illness, or a mental health problem (excluding learning disability and dementia), you may be eligible to apply for financial help, of up to £350, towards a break.  The scheme is also open to young carers, under 18 years old. To apply contact Karen Martin, The Carers Trust for Scotland, on 0300 1232008.

Support Group Summer Socials

Volunteer Support and Development

Join our Board!

We have spaces for additional trustees and are also specifically seeking a Finance Director.

If you have great experience and skills to share have you thought about putting them to excellent use in your community by becoming a charity trustee? The trustees (known as the 'Board') of a charity are all volunteers and have ultimate control of the charity and are responsible for ensuring it does what it was set up to do. Our Board meets every two months on Wednesday evenings (6-8.30pm). Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to meet with other trustees and attend a Board Meeting as an observer before committing to joining. FDAMH's Board is made up of friendly people keen to work together to help FDAMH develop and continue its good work.
Read More

Volunteer Training Opportunities

Thanks to the volunteers and staff who participated in the recent free First Aid Awareness training. The wonderful Steve Naylor took the group through the basics of recognising the signs and symptoms of medical conditions such as heart attack, stroke, falls and diabetes to name a few. Participants learned how to best assist someone experiencing a medical emergency and the course has certainly increased knowledge and confidence with people feeling very reassured that should a situation arise they are now definitely better equipped to deal with it.

We are very glad to be able to provide these extra opportunities for the people who volunteer with us and our Volunteer Coordinator, Morag, has been hard at work organising events and using a variety of communication channels to make sure all of our volunteers are notified. Events like this also provide a great chance to meet up with any staff and other volunteers attending. It would be lovely to see more of our volunteers at these events - if you didn't get notified about this one, please contact Morag and make sure she has note of your preferred communication channels!

We'd Like to Help YOU Build a Better World!

Not sure what you have to offer your community? Uncertain about what volunteering at FDAMH could mean for you? Interested in having a chat about volunteering? You can contact Morag Fullard, Volunteer and Training Development Officer, on 01324 67100 or by emailing

- - EVENTS - -

Get Event Details on FDAMH's Website
There's so much going on this just covers the next couple of weeks. Full details and event information for further weeks is available on our website!
Please get in touch with us before attending any of the groups for the first time: it helps to make sure you're accessing groups that are best suited to your needs and we can let you know which groups have a waiting list.
Mindfulness for Carers Course
Wed 8 Jul, 6-8pm
Victoria Centre

Mindfulness Course
Thu 9 Jul, 5-7pm
Victoria Centre

Women's Group - Bingo
Thu 9 Jul, 11.30am-1.30pm
Victoria Centre

Welfare Benefits Appointments
Fri 10 Jul, 9.30am-3.30pm
Victoria Centre

Mindfulness for Carers Course
Wed 15 Jul, 6-8pm
Victoria Centre

Mindfulness Course
Thu 16 Jul, 5-7pm
Victoria Centre

Women's Group - Lunch Out
Thu 16 Jul, 11.30am-1.30pm

Carers Coffee Afternoon
Fri 17 Jul, 12-2pm
Victoria Centre
Welfare Benefits Appointments
Fri 17 Jul, 9.30am-3.30pm
Victoria Centre

Film Group
Mon 20 Jul, 1-4pm
Victoria Centre

Carers Annual BBQ
Tue 21 Jul, 7pm
Victoria Centre

Mindfulness for Carers Course
Wed 22 Jul, 6-8pm
Victoria Centre

Mindfulness Course
Thu 23 Jul, 5-7pm
Victoria Centre

Women's Group - Zoo lab
Thu 23 Jul, 11.30am-1.30pm
Victoria Centre

Welfare Benefits Appointments
Fri 24 Jul, 9.30am-3.30pm
Victoria Centre

Bereaved by Suicide Group:
Summer Get Together/BBQ

Mon 27 Jul, 6pm
Victoria Centre


Doc Ready is a website that helps you get ready for the first time you visit a doctor to discuss your mental health. It contains information and advice about what to expect and helps you to build a checklist of things you want to talk about with your doctor that you can take along to your appointment.

Doc Ready Website
John Niblo

Everyone at FDAMH, staff and service users alike, were much saddened at the news of John Niblo's death in June after a period of illness. John joined FDAMH in 2013 as a Welfare Benefits Advisor with Grangemouth CAB. Such was his connection with people at the centre that he rapidly became very busy, but John seemed tireless and his work on his clients' behalf made a very positive difference to people's lives and still is.
John, we all miss you.
Copyright © 2015 Falkirk and District Association for Mental Health, All rights reserved.

FDAMH is known as Falkirk's Mental Health Association.
Our registered name is Falkirk and District Association for Mental Health.
Registered Scottish Charity: SC011889
Company Limited by Guarantee: SC151357

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