Patients and staff to get more mental health help

Pictured: Daniel Platt, Lead Mental Health Nurse

Patients and staff on UHNM's acute rehabilitation and trauma unit (ARTU) are set to receive more mental health support. A pilot project has been launched to increase engagement between staff and patients and staff themselves will also have the opportunity to attend sessions where they can discuss the impact their experiences have on them. 

Daniel Platt, Lead Nurse for Mental Health, said: "We really want to take a more proactive approach to mental health care by bridging the gap between physical and mental health and ensuring the patient is cared for on all levels. We know that patients who feel mentally well are likely to make a better physical recovery, so of course we want to help with this. Patients on trauma wards tend to face particular challenges to their mental health due to the severity of injuries they have suffered, and that's why we chose ARTU as our pilot ward. Patients will be screened for risk in terms of developing mental health issues and the team will draw up a plan of action, which may include one-to-ones where the patient will have the opportunity to talk openly with a member of staff. We will also look at how different sorts of medication could help them in their recovery."

Staff will also be given the chance to take part in 'diffusion and reflection' sessions, where they can share how the issues they come across affect them.

Daniel said: "The diffusion sessions will provide a safe space for staff to open up about how they are feeling. Looking after people and seeing them go through very challenging and upsetting things can have a big effect on the people caring for them, so it's also really important that our staff also feel well cared for and supported. Good mental health is important to everyone, but is especially relevant in a healthcare setting. If someone doesn't feel well mentally themselves, it's unlikely they will be able to care for others as well as they'd like to, so we need to get this right."

The programme was launched in April and will run for a trial period of eight weeks, with the possibility of extension and roll-out across the Trust if it is successful.