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Staff mental health

It’s World Mental Health Day 2017 today (10 October), and the theme this year is mental health in the workplace. Not just a place that cares for patients, our Trust has made it a priority to support staff’s health, and physical and mental wellbeing.    

Dr Helena Jopling, public health registrar, said:

“As a healthcare organisation we have a duty to support our community’s health, but as an employer we also have a duty to support our staff- the two go hand in hand. Ensuring our staff’s mental wellbeing also helps provide good quality patient care; a healthy and happy workforce will also ensure the best service to patients.”

The Trust offers staff a number of support mechanisms to help them look after their own wellbeing, including a 24 hour-a-day telephone and online counselling service, and a range of books on self-help and mental wellbeing topics in the library.

Recently a new service called ‘Tea and Empathy’ was launched for anyone having a difficult day, offering on-call emotional support from a team of 25 senior staff.

The Trust also has a partnership with a debt management service for any staff who may be experiencing money worries.

Helena added: “We know our staff work in a high-pressured environment; whilst they often spend their days caring for patients, it’s important we take steps to care for them as well. We want to make sure that staff can access support, day or night, should they feel they need it.”

To ensure staff feel valued for their contributions, every month the Trust presents a selection of individuals with a ‘Putting You First’ award, to recognise extraordinary commitment to Trust values and for going the extra mile for patients. An annual staff award ceremony, Shining Lights, is also held as recognition of outstanding contributions to the hospital.

 Although today focuses on mental health awareness, Helena says it’s important to recognise the impact of physical health and activity as well: “We offer staff access to an occupational health department and physiotherapist for musculoskeletal issues, and encourage healthy forms of transport to and from work by providing staff showers and bike racks.

“We are always looking for ways to develop and improve what we offer our staff, and plan to provide line manager training in mental health awareness over the next 12-18 months. We encourage other businesses in the area to make staff wellbeing a priority, and tackle these issues in light of World Mental Health Day.”

The Trust’s efforts have been recognised nationally by the HSJ (Health Service Journal), having recently been shortlisted as a finalist for its Staff Engagement Award 2017.

Results from the latest NHS Staff Friends and Family Test also show good staff health and wellbeing at the Trust, with more than 95% of respondents saying they would recommend it as a place to receive care or treatment – beating the national average (81%).

If you are struggling at work and need support, visit, visit your GP or call The Samaritans free helpline, 116 123, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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