Welcome to Beth

What is Beth?

Beth is a secure platform powered by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (the trust) that promotes supported self-management and opportunities to improve communication between service users, carers and clinicians.

It is currently in development, more features and improvements will be added in the coming months.


Who is Beth for?

Anyone can sign up to  Beth to explore wellbeing tips and recovery stories and create goals and coping strategies. If you need help or support using Beth, please email beth@slam.nhs.uk


If you are a service user at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, you can choose to connect your Beth account with your health record and care team. This will enable you to send and receive messages with your care team, share tracking, goals and coping strategies with them. Watch a YouTube video that shows you how to use each feature.


If you are a close family member, friend or carer of a service user at the trust, you can connect with their care team and let the team know how the person you support is doing.


If you are staff at the trust, you can access Beth via the icon in the top panel in ePJS. You can send and receive messages with service users and their carers and view updates that your caseload has chosen to share with you. As staff, if you need help or support using Beth, please contact the trust service desk. Watch a YouTube video that shows you how to use each feature.

Beth is powered by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, if you are interested in using Beth in your trust or organisation, contact: DigitalServices@slam.nhs.uk


Why Beth?

Beth aims to demonstrate how personalised health records (PHRs) could enhance NHS service delivery and support people to stay well.


How does it work / what next?

Beth is built using agile development processes which enable iteration through user-centred build, test and learn cycles.

Beth integrates with the trust's clinical record system (ePJS).

The platform is being built open source and in a modular way that allows for future integrations, features and partnerships. Development of Beth so far has been funded by Maudsley Charity.

Beth will continue to grow and develop. If you are interested in using Beth in your trust or organisation or have ideas for how to add to the platform, contact: DigitalServices@slam.nhs.uk

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Wellbeing Tips

Small improvements in our wellbeing can help to decrease some mental health problems and also help us to get more out of life.

These 5 ways to wellbeing are proven to improve personal wellbeing. Read the full document.

#Connect with the people around us. Building stronger, wider social connections can help us feel happier and more secure, and give us a greater sense of purpose.

Who might you want to connect more with?

Consider calling a friend.

It’s often easy to text or email, but talking is a great way to strengthen relationships.

#tips #connect

#BeActive There’s an activity out there for all of us, suited to our level of fitness and mobility. Being active is great for our physical health and fitness, and also improves our mental wellbeing. Evidence shows moods can improve after just 10 minutes of exercise. Even just walking more every day can make a big difference.

How might you get more active in your daily life?

Go for a Swim!

Simply being immersed in water tends to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Exercising in water is a great way to build fitness and have fun.

#tips #beactive

#KeepLearning Learning can boost self-confidence and self-esteem, help build a sense of purpose, and help us connect with others. Research shows that learning throughout life is associated with greater satisfaction and optimism, and improved ability to get the most from life.

What might you want to learn more about?

SLEEP TIPS - For more information and tips on sleep

Visit the Sleep Foundation - https://www.sleepfoundation.org/

#tips #keeplearning

#GiveToOthers Doing even little things for others can give us a sense of purpose and self-worth. It can make us feel happier and more satisfied with life. Being kind to others can stimulate the reward areas in our brain, creating positive feelings. Even doing something small for someone else can give us a buzz.

How might you do something kind for someone today?

Offer someone a compliment.

But keep it short and sweet, people can feel embarrassed by over-the-top compliments.

#tips #givetoothers

#TakeNotice Being in the moment, including just being aware of our thoughts, feelings, body and the world around us, can help us appreciate the little things, understand ourselves more and get the most out of being alive.

When in your day can you stop to notice what’s happening with you and around you?

Where possible try to remove distractions from your bedroom.

It is better to watch TV, play computer games and eat in another room. This will allow you to relax with no distractions in your bedroom.

#tips #takenotice

Nikki - Overcoming Depression

Nikki, 29, suffered in silence with depression for more than 10 years. Now she is an ambassador for mental health charities and her aim is to raise awareness among as many people as possible.

When Nikki was 13 she knew she was “different” to other children. She couldn’t relate to her peers. She spent endless hours in her bedroom by herself every evening thinking nobody loved her. She was aware she was depressed but had absolutely no idea what to do about it.

To make matters worse, Nikki’s dad suffered from clinical depression and she had seen how it had consumed him, almost destroyed family relations and - worse still - how many people had negatively reacted to him and effectively turned against him when they found out about his mental illness. Nikki was resolute that she would not be treated in the same way as her dad so she vowed not to tell anyone, which resulted in her having to confront her illness on her own - for more than a decade.

Nikki said: “I was very normal in front of people and at school. I worked hard, had a lot of friends and was bubbly. But inside I did not feel right. I would get home from school and just go to my room, sit there and feel unloved.

“Unjustifiably I felt my family would not care if I died. I felt lonely and isolated and this went on for far too long.”

The endless depression and the perpetual isolation culminated in a number of overdoses. She didn’t ever intend to commit suicide - she said she didn’t want to die - but she could not think of any other way of dealing with her depression.

The 29-year-old took her first overdose at the age of 13. Remarkably nobody ever found out and she got away with a stomach ache and nausea.

One of Nikki’s strengths is also, ultimately, a weakness in terms of her mental health - she has always remained strong and supportive of others but this meant people always believed she was strong and rarely asked her how she actually was.

“My dad was diagnosed with depression when I was younger and, after seeing how he was treated by people, I point-blank didn’t want to talk about it,” she said. “My dad was a kind, carefree man but when he suffered depression he was a different person.

“He was a pastor of a local church and I saw how much he did for people but when they found out about his depression these people were nowhere to be seen. He was alone except for mum. It felt as though everyone had turned on him and that made me so sure I was never going to let anyone find out about my depression. Ever. Especially my mum as I didn’t want to burden her with something else.”

Nikki’s depression drifted on in much the same way throughout her early adult life. She got good grades at school, went to parties and enjoyed studying but the depression was always bubbling away in the background.

She accepted a place at university to study criminology and sociology but she could never properly escape her mental health problems…which got worse when she was raped on her 19th birthday.

“It was then I could feel everything slowly closing in on me, suffocating me. I couldn’t escape it, or him, and I started to drown in my depression.”

“That made my depression much worse,” Nikki said. “I felt like a failure. And things were worse domestically because my dad’s illness was really bad at this point. I ran away and to make matters even worse nobody seemed to notice!”

What followed was years of depression which manifested itself in Nikki “rebelling”, drinking a lot with friends, going out a lot and trying to forget her troubles. The start of the turning point for Nikki was after she took her third overdose at the age of 23. This time s

he took more than on previous occasions and realised she needed desperate help. She called her family GP and said she needed immediate help. It was the first time she had ever spoken about her depression.

Seeking help
“It was a relief but it was also very, very strange,” she said. “I had kept my depression to myself for so long that it was almost as though it was tricking me too. So to suddenly talk about it was, in a way, liberating but also extremely scary.

“In my mind nobody had ever listened to me before and suddenly he was. It sort of validated me being alive. This was the start of what I see as my turning point. Not long after that I looked in the mirror and realised I did not want to let this take hold of me. I walked round the block, took a deep breath and never looked back.”

The most common question Nikki has been asked since being open about her mental health is how she managed to survive it without taking any medication or receiving any therapy. “It got to a point where I realised it was me or depression, and I had to reach deep down inside myself and find the inner strength to overcome it,” she said. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking medication, I just refused it because of the effects I saw in my Dad. It was not easy, and there were times when it felt impossible, but that’s how you know when you’re doing the right thing, because it’s hard.”

Nikki said her feelings of loneliness did not go away, they are still there but she “manages them”. “I know I have come a long way but sometimes I feel those really negative thoughts coming up on me again,” she said. “Then I check myself to stop it getting worse. I have managed to control it so far but it is not always easy because I am terrible at talking to people, I am a listener - I prefer to help with their problems rather than deal with my own.”

One of the motivators for Nikki over the past year has been her work as a very active volunteer for Time to Change, the national mental health charity on a mission to end discrimination. Nikki does presentations, talks to other people with mental illness and does all she can to promote awareness.

One of the downsides of speaking out about her illness is the reaction of some friends. She said even though many have been supportive there are some who just do not understand. Some of her friends thought she didn’t trust them because she didn’t tell them and she has to spend a great deal of time reassuring them that this is not personal.

“Awareness is so much better than it used to be and every day we are making progress,” she said. “But there is still a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding of mental illness and this can result in problems with family and friends.

“I think the next step is to give people a little help in terms of dealing with people coming out to them with a mental illness. One of the reasons people are not open about their illness is because they are scared of reactions and so the more people we educate, we inform, we get the message to, then the more they will understand how to treat someone with a mental illness.

In her own words, if she can just prevent one person going through the “10 years of hell” she went through, then she would have achieved her mission.

By Nikki

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