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30 October 2018
Black History Month October is Black History Month and, as usual, St Martins has celebrated and marked the occasion in a number of ways. Most of St Martins' homes have organised diverse African and West Indian culinary evenings. Some of our service users have taken an active role in arranging events that look at various questions and notions surrounding a range of different black identities. This is a complex area and includes such diverse considerations as what it might mean to be black in Britain today, historical considerations of the movement of peoples across nations and continents, either through choice, environmental, political, social or other reasons. Histories of diaspora and the slave trade still exert a powerful legacy, but of course are only two of many factors that might influence notions of black identity today. A theme that emerged this year was positive role models. At some of St Martins' homes discussions were held about the visibility or otherwise of black politicians, singers, business people, athletes, community leaders and 'normal' members of the public. Exploring these notions of identity and race can be important and focusing on positive role models has given a lift to this years' celebrations of Black History Month. Thank you to everyone that took part and supported these events.
03 October 2018
A tragic event and what we might learn from it At the beginning of September we were faced with the loss of one of our service users who passed away in his room at Chalkhill Road. It is desperately sad that it appears that he took his own life.  Our condolences and our support have been offered to the family of this young man and many of us will have thought often about him during this past month as we have tried to gain a sense of how life had become unbearable for him, asking ourselves whether we might have done anything differently so that this tragedy may have been averted. Statistically it is likely that at St Martins we will be touched by suicides from time to time, and we must continue to do everything we can to ensure that these remain as infrequent as they have been at St Martins. In the UK there are currently around 6,000 suicides per year. For young people aged 20-34 suicide has become the leading cause of death. Even a casual glance at some of the risk indicators tell us that many people who use St Martins' services are particularly at higher risk – male, current drug and alcohol misuse, history of trauma, current unemployment, experience of violence, experience of family breakdown, and current mental illness, particularly depression – approximately 90% of people who take their lives have been having psychiatric treatment. If we reflect on the tragedy of a suicide we may think about the challenges that many people who use our services are living with and of the importance therefore of the caring support that we provide at St Martins in allowing people to talk to us at times when they may feel themselves sinking into despair. We must also continue to do all we can to help people who use our services to access external resources and support. St Martins are grateful for the work of all the staff at Chalkhill who supported this young man so professionally and who responded so competently to this tragedy when it occurred, and who furthermore have supported the remaining service users at this project through this difficult time. On Wednesday 3 October, the family of this young man are joining staff and service users at Chalkhill to plant an apple tree in his memory.
02 October 2018
2018 annual reports published We are pleased to release our 2018 annual reports which give an account of our work, finances and goals. You can find all our annual reports HERE.
02 August 2018
Connect Another cracking issue of Connect is available online HERE and will soon be distributed in paper form. Well done to Harpreet, Connect's editor, and all those who contributed!
18 July 2018
Medication Education St Martins are offering an opportunity to all service users to ask questions and discuss antipsychotic medications with a mental health pharmacist at 11am on Thursday 26 July at Head Office.

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