PPN North West Blog
The delayed NHS Long Term Plan was finally published this week. It’s encouraging that mental health is mentioned prominently in the plan. The focus is on both adult and children’s mental health as well as learning disabilities. Staff wellbeing is also mentioned.
It’s World Mental Health Day and there has been a lot of attention to this with programmes, news etc. on TV and radio, Twitter as well as blogs focusing on things such as early warning signs, the importance seeking help and reducing stigma. And this is another blog on World Mental Health Day…..
There are many publications, tweets, media reports and so on around celebrating the National Health Service’s 70th birthday on 5th July this year. There is less focus on social care although it is also the anniversary of the founding of the social care system. Health and social care are inextricably linked so it may feel as if we celebrate the birthday of one twin but not the other. The impact on colleagues who work in social care is likely to be negative. The celebration of the NHS at 70 may also feel negative to those who are working in difficult situations – poor environments, lack of support, insecure employment and reducing wages.
It’s been a year since the Manchester Arena bombing. This week also saw the start of the Grenfell Tower enquiry. There can be hardly anyone who has not been touched by these events in some way – whether directly or indirectly, professionally or personally. The testimonies of those who survived the events and those who lost loved ones has been all around over the past week. Some have been heart-breaking and some uplifting as people have expressed their own personal experiences. Some people have chosen not to talk publicly or to retreat from all the public memorials and that needs also to be respected.
The Mental Health Foundation have identified next week as Mental Health Awareness week with the theme of stress for 2018. There is a lot of information available on the website about stress, managing stress and how to support their campaign.
There are probably a million and one ways to say something. But how do we decide how to say something? How we speak to our family and friends is often different to how we speak to people at work. At work, we may speak differently to different audiences – our service users/patients, our colleagues, our managers. We also use jargon – this can be helpful in precise communication with someone who speaks the same jargon. In academic contexts, we can use less frequently used words and express ourselves in a different more complex way with longer and more complex sentences too. This may support the clear expression of complex ideas (or it may not).
A cognitive assessment can be used to gain an understanding of a person’s higher mental functions, and how these skills and abilities impact on their lives. The potential benefits of assessment include: obtaining a profile of cognitive deficits and strengths to assist formulation and treatment plans; clarifying cognitive profiles that exist alongside co-morbid mental health issues which may aid diagnosis (- e.g. differentiating between progressive and non-progressive conditions); assisting clients, families, carers and colleagues in understanding cognitive issues and the likely impact on the client’s everyday function; and, providing evidence to assist with decisions about Capacity issues.
The new Psychological Professions Network Alliance has completed its first piece of work. We have jointly written a report on how we can support the new Health Education England Workforce plan that was developed to support the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health implementation plan.
It’s hard to believe we’re nearly at the end of another year. I’m probably not the only person who thinks the year has gone very quickly. The Psychological Professions Network has had a busy year and gained more members and taken on projects on behalf of Health Education England (Core 24 and assistant practitioners to name but two). We organised a live-streamed panel debate on The Future Professional Representation of Clinical Psychology. This was watched by over 100 people live on the night and streamed by a further 1100 in the following week. We also contributed to the Digital IAPT summit in Manchester earlier this month with a presentation around the importance of wellbeing in our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner workforce.
Last night (19th October), a panel discussion took place in Manchester with representatives from different organisations and viewpoints. The areas represented included:
The dreadful events in Manchester on Monday night will have had an impact on us all. Some of us may have been directly affected, some of us may have been indirectly affected, some may be professionally involved and some of us may become involved professionally over the months. It’s important to recognise the impact of something happening so close to home. Many of us will know what helps in situations like this and many of us may well be involved in providing advice and support.
In March it was the 10th Anniversary of the New Savoy Partnership Psychological Therapies Conference and an opportunity to reflect on the last 10 years. As someone who’s worked in and with the Step 2 workforce throughout that time it’s certainly interesting to look back at just how much the PWP role has developed, although I was a little sad to note that, according to the delegate list anyway, not one working PWP was in attendance – they were probably all back at the day job working hard to get their contacts in for the last quarter of 2016/2017!
Last week, I co-facilitated a Schwartz Round with students at the University of Liverpool. This was the sixth Round we have run with students at the university. I first heard about Schwartz Rounds at a conference I attended several years ago. The presenter's enthusiasm for Rounds sparked an interest in me. I was keen to know more but also curious to know whether the Rounds offered anything additional to the reflective spaces I was already familiar with in my work as a clinical psychologist. Did Schwartz Rounds offer anything different or better?
As many of you will know it’s Time to Talk day on Thursday this week. It’s part of the Time to Change campaign to end mental health discrimination. The point of the Time to Talk day is to increase conversations about mental health to reduce the isolation and negative feelings that people may experience when dealing with a mental health problem. For those of us working in clinical settings, this may be what you do every day – talk to people with mental health problems. That’s important and the role we have in doing this is a privilege as well as hard work – we should definitely keep doing this. How often are we able to do this in other settings? We often have those conversations that involve one person saying ‘How are you?’ and the other saying ‘Fine’ or ‘Hanging in there’. We may nod sympathetically but perhaps we don’t ask more and the conversation moves on. Perhaps it’s time to think about doing things differently – could we say something else that may be encourages a different conversation. There could be so many ways of doing this and I’m sure you all know of many different options. So instead of moving on, we could ask ‘What’s been happening?’ or ‘How’s your day/week going?’