ARE YOU REALLY FINE?

Murray MacGregor

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the average adult will say “I’m fine” 14 times this week, Mental Health Awareness Week, yet less than 20% will actually mean it!

It’s been known for some time that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

Over recent years, we have been working hard to improve the support we provide to our staff. Given the types of cases that they deal with, we need to be sure that we get better at making sure their mental wellbeing really is ‘fine’.

Director of Workforce, Kim Nurse, said: “We have 24-hour support through their management team, our Staff Advice and Liaison Service (SALS) and the Trust is employing two psychotherapists who will provide dedicated help for staff. We also procure specialist support from an external counselling service The Listening Centre who can support staff with a variety of help.

“With a workforce of over 5,000, we want to be certain that we have a range of support in place to assist our staff stay mentally well in addition to their physical health. We know that some of the cases that our staff deal with are extremely difficult, so we want to do as much as we can to support their wellbeing.

“Another important development for the Trust is our training of hundreds of staff in Mental Health First Aid courses. These courses teach our staff to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support. The training teaches people to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and potentially reach out to someone before a crisis happens. Feedback has been really positive, and all courses have been fully attended with a waiting list for staff wanting to be included in the future.

“As a Trust we have moved forward significantly, but recognise that we need to keep moving forward so that we can continue to support our staff so that they can support the public when they need us most.”

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