Dr David Fluck
You will have seen a number of messages last week in the build-up to World Mental Health Day which took place on 10th October. This day highlighted the importance of mental health with the key theme of suicide prevention being on the agenda for 2019. Working at ASPH our role is two-fold in that we have a responsibility to look after the mental health of our patients but also to look after our own mental health. There is a wealth of evidence showing a close link between positive staff ‘wellbeing and experiences’ and ‘increased patient safety and outcomes’. We are unable to care for others effectively if we aren’t in the best frame of mind ourselves so please remember that ‘every mind matters’.
Throughout Thursday and Friday we ran two insightful events to raise awareness of the different areas of mental health with staff and visitors across the Trust and we provided training for clinical staff on mental health topics and suicide prevention with over 60 members of staff attending. To enable us to support staff with mental health concerns and to improve staff wellbeing we are looking to recruit ‘Workplace Wellbeing Guardians’ who will be trained in mental health first aid and the first point of contact for staff and advocates for all health and wellbeing matters.
Raising awareness through education and the promotion of mental health are critical to us and our patients going forward. It is important though to recognise the work we have done to date and the number of patients and staff we have helped here in both our Trust and in Surrey and Borders Partnership (SABP). We are proud of the work our mental health team does with adults and children and have recently had a patient’s parent feedback positively about the care her son received whilst at St Peter’s saying “the staff on Ash Ward told me they were simply just doing their job but they went above and beyond making my son feel safe, allaying our fears about his suicidal ideations and finding a safe place for him to go to when he left the hospital. Trish and Taka, Mental Health Nurses in Paediatrics, were so knowledgeable.”
Here at ASPH, the Schwartz Rounds are just one example of ways in which we are supporting mental health where staff have a safe environment in which they can talk about the emotional and social challenges of caring for patients. We also offer other staff support mechanisms such as the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and more broadly, Public Health England offer online support, ieosheatlth.com CBT self-referral where you can self-refer through a discrete and secure system giving you access to free cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). As mentioned, we have the Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.
SABP have been working with partners to deliver tailored suicide prevention training programmes for GPs, mental health and acute hospital colleagues which has been shortlisted in the training and development category of this year’s Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards. For SABP Suicide prevention click here. This is all part of the Public Health’s multi-agency suicide prevention strategy for Surrey, where suicide prevention is everyone’s business.
We have made a great start here at the Trust and SABP in mental health so thank you. The future is encouraging with the exciting changes happening within the Trust and it is an opportunity to put wellbeing at the heart of the matter.
David Fluck, Medical Director, ASPH and Justin Wilson, Chief Medical Officer, SABP