The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health: A report from the independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England
I’m sure many of you have already read some or all of the report which came out on Monday. If you haven’t read it then I’d strongly recommend reading it.
It makes over 50 recommendations on the future of mental health services across the age range and also across the whole health and social care system. This includes acute physical health care as well as mental health services specifically. There are also recommendations around payment systems and commissioning as well as workforce.
I wanted to highlight the recommendations on staff health and wellbeing (recommendations 33 and 34) which suggests that mental health in the workplace should be better managed and that commissioning should include incentive payments for this. Within my Trust, we recently had a staff health and wellbeing CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) which has helped to raise the importance of staff health and wellbeing and also help to extend the development of Schwartz Rounds across the Trust (from 4 to 10 trained facilitators). However, across the NHS staff health and wellbeing still has some way to go to being more than just a good thing. Also, the taskforce report highlighted the work of the BPS/New Savoy Partnership staff wellbeing survey which highlighted high rates of self-reported depression and feelings of failure in the participants (the news item is here http://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/news/news-from-the-new-savoy-conference-psychological-therapies-2016).
These things are important to us as psychological professions as our wellbeing can impact on that of our clients/patients/service users. The intensity of the work we do mostly on a one-to-one basis can mean we hold the distress of those who come to see us and that can take an emotional toll. There has been much written about vicarious trauma in those who work in the field of trauma whether adults or children. However, working with those who may be very low in mood or who view us with suspicion due to their own belief systems can be wearing. Also, we shouldn’t forget our colleagues who work in acute mental health in-patient care dealing with people who can be challenging and abusive. We have a responsibility to look after ourselves and our colleagues and to do our best to promote the space and time for reflective and restorative conversations. Only by doing this can we effectively contribute to the huge task presented by the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (https://www.england.nhs.uk/mentalhealth/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2015/09/fyfv-mental-hlth-taskforce.pdf).