World mental health day this week was focused on psychological first aid and supporting people in distress. There have been stories in the media, website links and other resources and information on this area which I am sure many of you will have seen.
PPN North West Blog
Time seems to pass quickly and it seems surprisingly quick that the PPN is approaching the 3rd anniversary of the website launch. There has been research looking at the experience of time passing and relating it to age and experience (adults have more to remember than children) and to heart rate (slower heart rates may mean time is experienced more quickly). However, that’s for another day.
There’s a phrase which I’m sure many of you will have heard that describes the UK and USA as divided by a common language. It’s been attributed to both George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. Hearing the phrase again made me think about the day to day world of the NHS and how sometimes communication seems particularly difficult. As psychological professionals, we spend a lot of time communicating with our service users/patients/clients and endeavour to ensure there’s a shared understanding of the issues being discussed. Our colleagues in other professions/disciplines have similar aims in their clinical work too.
It's mental health awareness week this week. The theme of the week is relationships. There's been research showing the importance of social relationships for our health overall. People with fewer social relationships had more ill-health and died younger. Also, the importance of at least one close confiding relationship on better wellbeing has been well established.
In a recent survey of psychological professions conducted by the BPS and New Savoy Conference showed that most of the respondents agreed that they had good relationships outside work. However, they still reported high levels of stress and workload pressures. They also reported feelings of failure and depression.
I was recently at a meeting with colleagues from NHS England (North) and Health Education England (in the North West and North East) which was facilitated by Clare Baguley – PPN programme manager. The meeting looked at the overlaps and potential for shared work across these.
There’s probably a recommendation for each defined part of the population in the report from the Mental Health Taskforce as well as recommendations for government, NHS England, commissioners and bodies such as Health Education England, Public Health England. There’s also mention of the need to improve research and implement evidence-based pathways. Spending on mental health research is reported as less than 5.5% of all health research funding. NICE provides guidance on evidence-based approaches and much of their work focuses on the robustness of the research.
The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health: A report from the independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England
It’s been a while since I last posted. It’s been a really busy year for the network and really encouraging that it continues to go from strength to strength. We now have over 1500 members – thank you to all of you and please do encourage colleagues to join.
This week the North West PWP Professional Network welcomed Dr Saba Khan and Kate Thompson from the Tavistock Clinic to their master class at the University of Central Lancashire to explain what Couples Therapy for Depression (CTfD) is and how it is helpful, how to screen for suitability and to explore how elements of ‘Think Couple’ can be used to to enhance the role of the PWP.
There has been a lot about parity of esteem recently and it appears to be used in a variety of ways to basically say that mental and physical health should be viewed and treated equally within health care. However, I was recently asked by a very senior Health Education England director whether frontline staff and patients/service users actually knew what it meant. I confessed I didn’t know if they would and then reflected that perhaps they wouldn’t as it appears to have become a label for a range of thoughts – a bit like ‘Transforming Community Services’ if anyone remembers that.
I read an interesting article in the newspaper today about curiosity, the psychological concept of ‘Need For Cognition’ and its role in fostering creativity and innovation.
Its good to be back following pre-election ‘purdah’ and although we've been quiet on social media a lot has been happening.
Gita and I are signing off our blogs for the month of April as the PPN is subject to the 6 week pre-election 'purdah' conditions. During this time publicly funded bodies and their employees are not allowed to use social media or any communication that may influence the election.
Leadership has been on my mind this week. We’ve recruited to two multi-professional leadership programmes that are jointly funded by the CPWD. The first is a one day introduction to leadership for early career psychological professionals and the second for practitioners who are already in leadership roles to help them to develop skills in ‘transformational change’. The number of applications have been high showing that psychological professionals are keen to develop leadership both within day-to-day practice and at a strategic level. The number of applications has been particularly impressive for the introductory course and we’re really pleased to be able to offer two more dates in the autumn for those who didn’t make the spring dates.
PPN North West supports the most active and longest-lived IAPT network in England and it is a great example of the potential that comes from collaboration between practitioners, service managers, clinical leads, academics and commissioners.
The PPN has reached its first anniversary marked by our second annual conference.
When we were offered the chance by HENW to create a brand new psychological professions network it was an important signal of the growing awareness of the importance of psychological approaches across health care. In the North West we are well known for 'just getting on with it', so, not wanting to loose a unique opportunity, this is exactly what we've done!
I am looking forward to 2015 being a successful year for the Psychological Professions Network - North West. We launched in February 2014 and since then the PPN now has nearly 800 members. Networks have been set up with counsellors, cognitive behaviour therapists, psychological well-being practitioners and psychological services leads as well as other areas such as CPD. Just before Christmas, we also met with psychological colleagues in the North East of England to explore how we can support each other in promoting psychological approaches and workforce development with Health Education across the North