UHNM helping to improve mental health

Thursday 10th October 2019 is World Mental Health Day. According to national statistics, one in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness. With a dedicated lead for mental health and a whole range of enhanced training opportunities, UHNM is leading the way in working to improve the mental health of staff and patients.

Daniel Platt, Lead Nurse for Mental Health, said: "It's really important we take every step to ensure everyone working in or visiting our hospital gets the help they need. We offer all of our staff a constant programme of training and awareness sessions on key subjects such as wellbeing, depression and anxiety and we are giving clinical managers extra training to ensure they can spot the signs and symptoms of potential mental health difficulties in their staff and patients. A recent success story saw a member of staff be referred for mental health care and receive the help needed within a matter of hours and this was because her manager saw the signs and contacted our team for help. Ultimately, happier staff means happier patients, so good mental health is of the highest importance."

UHNM also provides diffusion sessions for staff who have gone through particularly challenging experiences in their work, has introduced an official mental health policy and a mental health delivery plan endorsed at Board level.

Daniel, who leads on work around mental health, has personal experience of mental health issues in the past, and is able use this in his role.

Daniel said: "I went 31 years with no problems and then because of mental and emotional pressure, began to suffer with severe depression. I went to my GP and I received counselling, medication and the treatment I needed. I'm much happier now and my experience has helped me to understand the impact that failing to look your mental health can have. I know that to be well, I need to make time for the things I enjoy, get enough rest, the right medication, eat well, exercise and take care of important relationships. This is the same for everyone.

"What I went through also really helps in my work as I can now look at things from a patient point-of-view, which translates to being able to provide better care and services for our patients and staff. UHNM is going from strength to strength in terms of the enhanced mental health care we provide and we work very closely with other providers in the area. Some hospitals only have Monday-Friday mental health cover, whereas we provide it 24-hours-a-day on both of our hospital sites. The most important thing is that we are open and that people know it's ok to not be ok."

UHNM is looking for 'mental health champions' - staff who take an active interest in mental health and would like to help lead on improvements for patients and colleagues. This opportunity is open to any staff. Contact Daniel Platt for more information: Daniel.platt@uhnm.nhs.uk, 07825272618.