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Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Service User Network (SUN)

Summary

The Personality Disorder and Complex Needs (PD&CN) Service User Network (SUN) is for service users living with a diagnosis of Personality Disorder, or for those whose complex emotional needs mean they would meet, or are within the threshold to meet, diagnostic criteria for Personality Disorder (i.e. they have ‘traits’). For more information about Personality Disorder, please download our information pack. This pack has been co-produced with service users with lived experience of personality disorder. All the quotes provided throughout the pack are real experiences contributed by service users.

Service Information

The Service User Network (SUN) is a community-based, open-ended support service which sits within the Specialist Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Team. We hold a philosophy that once the SUN is being accessed by a service user, they hold the responsibility and lead in what they get out the service, including how long and how regularly they access the network and how much they want to be engaged. 

Peer-led support is when people use their own experiences to help each other. The SUN brings together people with shared experiences to support each other, both giving and receiving support, Providing a space where individuals can feel accepted and understood and treating everyone's experiences as being equally important and valid. The SUN can support individuals to ‘make sense of what is going on for them’ in a way that they may not have had before. We empower service users by giving them the time and space to become stronger and more confident, especially in taking control over their lives. The service enables individuals to be at the heart of change and their progression.

We strongly encourage co-production and involvement, and advocate for the service user voice being the strongest voice in making positive change to care, services and service user experiences.

The Service User Network (SUN) currently offers 5 groups:

Personality Disorder and Complex Needs (PD&CN) Support and Awareness Group (Expression of interest is required by medical professional).

In this group, service users and members of our Specialist Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Team meet fortnightly, currently via video on MS Teams. Our aim is to provide a service that acts as a layer of support for people (aged 21+) within Essex who have a formal diagnosis of Personality Disorder and/or have complex emotional needs that may meet diagnostic criteria.

Service users choose the topics of discussion and we invite guest speakers to join us and share their knowledge on local services and general health and wellbeing, as well as more specific topics relevant to service users particular struggles e.g. relationships – interpersonal dynamics; personality and emotions. Service users can also take a turn at presenting, if they wish.

In order to join the group an expression of interest form must be completed by a medical professional, please see ‘Referral Information’ below. We will review each expression of interest on a case-by-case basis, to ensure the group is going to be appropriate and most helpful for the individual.

Young Adult Awareness and Support Group for Complex Emotional Needs. (Expression of interest is required by medical professional).

In this group, service users and members of our Specialist Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Team meet fortnightly, currently via video on MS Teams. The aim of this group is to provide an environment in which young adults of transition age (18 years) within Essex, who might meet criteria for Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) (i.e. they might have traits), but are still ‘working out’ what’s going on for them, can be supported in managing the practicalities of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood including managing emotions, starting employment, interpersonal relationships, etc. The group has a focus on staying well in the community, and specifically managing transitions when experiencing complex emotional needs.

In order to join the group an expression of interest form must be completed by a medical professional, please see ‘Referral Information’ below. We will review each expression of interest on a case-by-case basis, to ensure the group is going to be appropriate and most helpful for the individual.

Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Peer Support Group. (Self-expression of interest)

In this group, service users and members of our Specialist Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Team meet weekly, currently via video on MS Teams. Our aim is to provide an environment in which people aged 18+ within Essex who have a formal diagnosis of Personality Disorder and/or have complex emotional needs that may meet diagnostic criteria can support each other through sharing lived and learned experience.

The group is a 1 ½ hour session, facilitated by the peers that attend. Peers are invited to share how they are feeling and support each other through their lived and learned experience. Risk is managed within the group and it is the responsibility of all peers to ensure it is a safe and supportive environment. Service users raise their own expression of interest for this group.

Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Service Development Collaborative (SDC).

Service users and the Team meet once every 4 weeks, currently via video on MS Teams. The collaborative offers people the opportunity to be more dynamically involved in shaping and developing services, using their lived experiences to inform positive change. There are various levels of engagement ranging from contributing thoughts and ideas for a specific project, to participating in interview panels, co-delivering training and being Peer Support Workers for other service users.

Service users work alongside staff to bring together their experiences and journeys and use them in a meaningful and proactive way to help shape our service. If you are interested in joining the collaborative please email epunft.pd.cnsun@nhs.net, or you can ask your key worker to email in on your behalf.

I care: Supporting Carers of Loved Ones living with Personality Disorder and Complex Emotional Needs (Adult Carers: Self-expression of interest)

The purpose of this peer support group is to bring together carers and loved ones of individuals living with Personality Disorder, offering members the opportunity to make contact with others in a similar situation, help individuals to gain support and know that they are not alone. The aim is to support members in the form of conversation and sharing experiences, resource sharing and by simply listening. As the group develops, it will identify what information is needed and feels important and therefore can draw of professional expertise, and invite speakers, organisations etc, to help access this information.

The Carer Support Group is open to any carer who resides in Essex (Essex registered GP) who is caring for a loved one who has a formal diagnosis of Personality Disorder and/or have complex emotional needs that meet diagnostic criteria for a Personality Disorder.

Please note that this group cannot support carers whose loved one has a differing diagnosis to Personality Disorder or Complex Emotional Needs that indicate Personality Disorder. The group is facilitated by an Expert by Experience Carer, a Peer Support Worker and the Service User Network Manager.

Referral Information

Groups are accessed by a raised expression of interest form (apart from the SDC), to ensure that the group’s function will match a service user’s presentation and individual needs. For the Awareness and Support Groups, this must be completed by a professional. For the Peer Support Group and Carer Support Group this must be completed by the individual wanting to join. For the SDC, there is no form.

We use the terminology ‘expression of interest’ because Service user’s cannot be ‘referred on’ or ‘into’ the SUN; it is intended to compliment and be an additional support for service users who are receiving more tailored support elsewhere or who could benefit from light touch support (e.g. they are generally coping but would like to learn more about their diagnosis and skills to manage).

For a professional to refer, they must have the following information:

  • Full name
  • NHS number
  • Locality/area
  • Service user's email address
  • Service user's telephone number
  • Service user's date of birth
  • Service currently under
  • Named involved person e.g care coordinator, assessor, support worker, GP
  • Full consent from the service user for the expression of interest

There are also a few questions we ask on the expression of interest form that must be completed

Please email the completed expression of interest forms to epunft.pd.cnsun@nhs.net


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