The Community Family Centres (CFC)
Working within our communities, we often find that, for some people who do not or cannot be with their original family, they have a friend family rather than their own family. Maybe they don’t have a family as we usually think of it and their friend family is all they have; and what about the rest of the people, are we all ok?
By the number heading to A&E each week for non physical assistance, it appears that our nations psychological health isn’t at its best. Our emotional health, our psychological state is a good indication of the emotional state of our environment. This rise in poor emotional health has been evolving for so long that its is not about the recent times political parties but goes farther back than our recent governments. The reason for the request for the introduction of Community Family Centres (CFC) are neither about political nor monitory issues but based on community and the needs of people and the environment around them.
There are certain things that people need to survive and indeed flourish; one of the largest of these things is connection. Connection involves relationship (Erskine, Moursund & Trautman 2014), this not just romantic relationship but human relationship.
Our connections are our happiness and the lack of connections bring great hurt and heartache to humans as we are made for connection and we we don’t have connections we become isolated and unhappy.
We need people around us; people who will be around, because they just are. People who are in the same place as you because they are in the same community as you, know the families that are in your community and as it used to be, no-one is actually alone.
We have evolved over the past few decades to be more isolated than we used to. Community isn’t about ‘living in each other’s pockets’, its about being there, actually being there. This is what we felt in the lock-down. Its a feeling, its healthy, its emotionally important
Over the time of the first lock-down, we began to notice something that many people had never felt before; a sense of community, some of the older population of course know that feeling, the feeling that they have observed a loss of in more recent years, from when they were small.
Isolation, as we know (even when we don’t realise we know) is the ultimate hurt for humans. We function in a different way when we are isolated. Isolation has always been the punishment for humans yet millions of people live in isolation through no fault of their own, that is difficult to even imagine, that people live in the same solitary confinement as many do for a punishment for a crime (which is also we’ll get onto later). Some people live on their own day after day after day; older people yes, but not only that part of our population; there are many people being or feeling alone, feeling that they live life on their own, unhappy and distressed.
As older people have come into the reading of the project, we will turn next to them, and come back to connection afterwards…
We reach an age where we can be the most useful to other members of the community. We’ve been there, done that, and bought the T shirt; we’ve reached a time when our children are grown and we finally have the time, the experience and the patience to slow down and be able to share the knowledge we’ve finally learned is important. When we were younger, running around, as we all do with young and growing children, new to it all and making lots of mistakes, I wasn’t able to think like I do now.
This is the biggest cause of upset and the biggest change that the proposal wishes to address is social care.
It’s not surprising to me that the social care system is constantly struggling and doesn’t work as it could, it comprises many parts, no parts touch each other and therefore it’s something that looks like a system but, its lots of cogs trying to spin on their own make it no singular system that is efficient enough to deal with the bigger picture.
Here are some examples of independently spinning cogs that could be the base of an integral system:
The Samaritans are an immediate service for those in psychological need and they are trying to recruit as many people as fast as they can. The service that they provide has no information regarding the person on the line as they are an independent body but are available 24 hours a day.
Social Services have all the information on known vulnerable people, but an immediate service is not known to the public to use other than crisis. For those who don’t fall into that category, there is no service that can deal with the numbers who require service in real time. Some of these people call upon the services of The Samaritans etc. There are crisis teams within the A&Es of hospitals, but they for those who are at a top level of distress. These services are running on empty and are not equipped for all situations other than that of high-level distress; in other words, fire-fighting at best. What does everyone else do, do they have live in the state they are in, until they go into the high risk category? Thousands of people are living in distress but are not in a category of high risk. The state of any person is a reason for compassion and care.
The social care system has a knock-on effect for the NHS. The older people who are sitting in hospitals, waiting for somewhere to go, will be out of the hospitals and into somewhere within their community, and only within their community. The different socio-economical differences will denote how many local community homes should be set out for the older population.
New buildings that hold 40, 50, 60 etc people are not required. Acquiring larger sized existing buildings will be all that’s required to breach the gap that is lacking at present. Plenty and familiar is the key. Staff will be happy to work there, within their communities with people who are in their community. Families will be able to see their elders and so will everybody else. The doors will be open, they will not be locked up. They will not have lost their place within the community; in fact, they will take their place as the knowledge of the community, an up-to-date version of what has always happened. A history of a different kind, a needed part of the community.
Emotional conditions would be supported at the Compassion Family Centres which will be attached next to each hospital A&E where ‘minor needs’ are now, or a department within the hospital where people can go for that need, just as much as others can go their physical needs. People who have a complex need can be seen efficiently as each physical (A&E) and emotional (CFC) place is in a location together with the other. What about the department of ‘minors’ at A&E. I believe we need to put an x-ray machine in the walk in centres. All this costs money? It already does but on the same pattern, so we get the same outcome.
The NHS will then be able to manage the physical accidents, emergencies and conditions that come their way. The NHS doesn’t need to have good money thrown into a system that doesn’t work because its dealing with something that was never meant to be dealing with. It was intended to deal with issues that entered the building, which were then resolved and then went onto the next person.
Each Compassion Family Centre should have an addiction counsellor, a trauma counsellor, a listener, a person who is there for them. Someone to connect and have a compassion for the situation.
The emotional states are trying to be dealt with by physically trained doctors and therefore the situation is unmanageable as it is doing what its made for an it shows. The violence through frustration is unacceptable and yet there is nowhere else to go. My colleagues and I are very aware that a place for physical trauma or medical assistance is not made for emotional trauma or emotional assistance. Only when these states are presented as physical do they arise in the accident and emergency department of a hospital. Imagine a hospital accident and emergency department without people who are drunk or have addictions. The absence won’t be because nobody cares, but because there is a place where someone can cater for the emotional type of trauma or distress rather than physical trauma or distress.
GPs are amongst the top professions for emotional stress. Research states that this is due to the underlying training they receive to relinquish their emotions in order to do the job (Deveer 2021)
The therapy world has many doctors in all their professional capacities as surgeons, GPs, A&E specialists etc and the relinquishing of emotions is not an ideal target to aim for, when training people to heal people (Wible 2005)
GPs are at the beginning of the procedure for patients and could be referring patients very differently by starting their enquiries as to why that person made the appointment in the first place. GPs are not trained to ask the patient in the clinic “what happened to you that makes you feel like this” and yet they are the people who need to say it the most. Instead, several investigations begin which are both time consuming and costly and is solely for the purposes of finding something physical.
The disconnection is very clear.
If we ourselves are disconnected, our resolve will be search for the cause by the same rules. It is no wonder or no fault that the physical is not found where they didn’t need to look. Many (nearly all) of the doctors who have attended counselling or psychotherapy are listening to the psychological reasons for physical disturbance. IBS, fibromyalgia, CFS, ME etc. Trauma to the human being isn’t always an event; it can be something that didn’t happen that should have or something that did happen that shouldn’t have, and the body may have a physical reaction to it, either in an immune response, or a nervous system response such as violence or anxiety (Porges 2017).
Actually, most people know ‘what happened to them’, but they don’t associate that, to what is physically happening to them now.
Once we get onto housing, we can begin to see how the new systems can easily come together. The reclaim of houses for the people who need them comes into view and the system of humans is seen for what it’s supposed to be.
Social housing doesn’t have to be new housing; utilising what’s already in the area is familiar, comforting. Refurbishing those houses, isn’t more expensive than building from new, but building new would be somewhere where they know no-one, when they can only see family now and again as people who can’t afford to go; people without cars must spend time, find childcare, time from work, their own resting time etc. This is all unnecessary; if you can’t walk it, it’s too far. Refurbishing the existing houses will keep families in the area, making it far easier for all socio-economical levels of people to see their loved ones and to take the children with them; popping in instead of having to make it an event.
Strategically placed Churches and Public Houses, all empty…We will go onto the other subjects shortly…