Stronger Together 02 – 2017

Last modified: February 28, 2019
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Background

Stronger Together is a working group of parents and professionals working in partnership

with Bringing Us Together and Respond.

We received funding in February 2016 from the NHS England Engagement Team to

organise and run an event for parents who have loved ones in, or who have been in

Assessment and Treatment Units.

It was critical that this event was led by parents and the agenda set by the families.

In February 2017, we received further funding, again from NHS England, to run a further

event for parents who have had loved ones in (or still in) and Assessment and Treatment

Unit.

We sent a flyer to our family networks advertising the event through social media and

email. Again, we had an overwhelming response from people interested in attending.

Parents applied on line and we contacted each person prior to the event via phone calls,

emails and Facebook to ensure we got to know everyone. This was important in holding

an event that was going to be an emotional roller coaster and where people would be

encouraged to share their hard hitting stories and experiences.

This was, again, a weekend to support families to network and to develop strategies to

help them to stay strong rather than resolving individual issues during the event.

The event on June 4th and 5th 2017 brought together parents from across the country

along with a group of facilitators. We also welcomed Sue North from NHS England and

Dame Christine Lenehan and Mark Gerraghty also came along to discuss their current

review into Residential Schools and how the families could engage with that.

We used the event to listen to each person’s story and provided guidelines to ensure that

everyone had the opportunity to share their experiences. We were able to include themes

determined by the families’ agenda and NHS England that had been set prior to the

weekend.

During the weekend there were tears, laughter, emotional support, bonding, networks

and sharing of information. Some parents had never met another parent with similar

experiences, many had come feeling isolated, angry at the system, and some were not in

a good place emotionally.

Themes:

The main themes gathered throughout the event included;

• What were the issues in parents attending an overnight conference

• What made them smile about their child or young person

• Why their child or young person was admitted to an ATU

• What they expected or hoped for when their child or young person was in the ATU

• What actually happened

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