What a simply fantastic month October is proving to be. So much going on, so much good news to share and so much to look forward to. It means another packed CEO Blog to share with you all.
OUR NEW £1.1 MILLION CRISIS CARE CENTRE HOLDS OPEN DAYS FOR STAFF AND SERVICE USERS
We pulled out all the stops to celebrate and promote the impending opening of our brand new £1.1 million Mental Health Crisis Centre, based at Harplands Hospital.
The new service is unique in the NHS in bringing together under one roof a whole range of teams offering a service to people of all ages, 24/7 and 365 days a year.
Anyone feeling they are in distress – or needing advice or reassurance – can ring 0300 123 0907 to speak to a mental health professional, who will be able to direct them to the most appropriate and accessible service to meet their individual needs.
If they have a hearing impairment and are unable to utilise the telephone, they can text the Access Team on 07739 775202 and the team will respond as soon as possible.
The week started with Open Days where staff, service users and local partners could come to view the new facilities and meet the staff who will be providing the new service. We had a simply tremendous response with over 200 people through the doors in just two days, including colleagues from local government, Healthwatch and PEGIS.
Well done to Sandra Wright and the team for pulling together such a success. Our Chair, David Rogers, attended the first Open Day and helped us celebrate with a short speech and ceremony. I was able, a couple of days later, to have a tour myself of the centre and the sense of excitement and achievement from the staff I met was palpable.
We trailed the Open Days with a Special Edition Podcast featuring four of the key individuals involved in setting up the new service, sharing their expectations and hopes for what it will provide, as well as showcasing new recruitment opportunities for anyone wishing to join the fantastic new service. It’s been our most popular Podcast we’ve ever done, with well over 200 listens in its first week.
And on the day itself, BBC Radio Stoke turned up and recorded a fantastic news item with our Director of Operations, Jonathan O’Brien and newly appointed Ward Manager Joanne Willis, which aired on the prime drive time show with Stuart George. A little bird told me it was even listened to by Jo’s mum in Greece! You can listen below to the Special Edition Podcast and BBC Radio Stoke item by clicking on the icons below.
CELEBRATING WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2019
We’ve been super busy this year to mark World Mental Health Day. The event takes place every year on 10 October and it aims to educate and raise awareness of mental health issues. The day was set up by the World Federation for Mental Health and it was first celebrated in 1992.
Each year the event has a different theme and this year it’s psychological first aid and the support people can provide to others in distress. Suicide prevention is the primary focus for the 2019 theme for World Mental Health Day.
Amongst the activities we have undertaken to mark World Mental Health Day, was a ‘Combinations’ Podcast, featuring Lesley Whitaker and Sue Slater discussing the particular risk factors and demographics relating to suicide in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. They also talk of the STP’s plans to introduce trainers across the whole of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire using a “train the trainer” approach, to equip people working in mental health, the wider NHS, local government, primary care and education to spot suicide risk factors and help prevent suicide. To listen to the Podcast, click below:
The second Suicide Prevention Conference took place on Friday 11 October 2019 at the Bet 365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent. I was proud to be able to offer some opening remarks.
This was the 2nd annual Together We’re Better Suicide Prevention Conference – hosted by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust – and led by our Medical Director, Dr Buki Adeyemo.
The day offered a unique opportunity to hear from a number of experts on topics such as Care of the Bereaved by Suicide, Young People’s Mental Health and exciting updates about funding for Suicide Prevention across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. The challenge for everyone working in public-facing organisations will continue to be how do we work better together to prevent suicide. The conference enabled partner agencies to reflect on what they can do to help, better identify those at risk and hear about new innovations from our region and across the UK. Well done to all concerned with running the event, including our own Lesley Whittaker, who was the deserved recipient of the Suicide Prevention Award.
VISITING OUR REACH SHORTLISTED TEAMS
You may remember that, at the time of our REACH Awards, I gave a personal undertaking to try to get out to visit any of our shortlisted teams that I hadn’t already met in my first few weeks at the Trust. It’s taken a little while to sort out diaries, what with summer holidays and the like, but I was able to spend a good part of my time over the past week or so doing precisely that.
And it’s been a real pleasure – many thanks indeed for such a warm welcome to those I’ve met so far – colleagues from Moss Green and Moorcroft surgeries, the DBT team, Mental Health Liaison Team and Looked After Children CAMHS Team – and I’m really looking forward to continuing the programme of visits over the past few weeks.
SUPPORTING OUR FREEDOM TO SPEAK UP CHAMPIONS
This month is also Freedom to Speak Up month, where we highlight and continue to show our support and encouragement for an open culture, where everyone feels able to raise concerns.
As part of its celebrations of the month, you may have seen that we have launched a new ‘Freedom to Speak Up Champions Portal’. Available to all staff on the Trust’s Intranet, the new portal contains an interactive tiled display of all of the current Champions. By hovering over each tile, staff can see biographical details of each Champion, plus contact numbers and email to allow them to get in touch direct.
By having Freedom To Speak Up Champions across the Trust’s localities and diverse staff and professional groups, the aim is to give staff a wide choice of who they may be most comfortable in speaking up to.
The Champions are supported by the Trust’s main Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Zoe Grant. Their role is to support staff to speak up and help her identify themes and trends emerging from the front line.
I know that one of the things that staff want reassurance about is that the process is genuinely independent, confidential, valued and respected by myself and the Board. To help provide that reassurance, I recently recorded the video message below, which we are releasing publicly on our Intranet and public websites and across our social media channels – as well as embedding in a brand new interactive Induction Pack, which is under the final stages of production.