World Mental Health Day – help to prevent suicide

News: World Mental Health Day 2019

World Mental Health Day (WMHD) will be marked globally this week on Thursday 10 October.

The day is an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma.

This year’s focus is on suicide prevention and getting people talking about a subject that tends to be taboo and about which, many hold mistaken and prejudiced ideas.

The message is that suicide is preventable and needs to be given priority in public health agendas around the world.

Mental Health First Aiders

How we’re supporting WMHD

At Oxleas NHS, to mark the day, we’re launching our Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) scheme in the workplace.

Our MHFAs are trained to spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health or emotional distress among colleagues, and can intervene, listen and signpost them to help and support.

They are not trained to be therapists or psychiatrists, but can offer initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health issue. They’ve been trained to listen non-judgementally, assess risk of suicide or self-harm, and escalate if necessary.

Appointed from across our mental health, physical health and community services, our MHFAs will also help to increase mental health literacy within the trust by leading conversations around mental health and wellbeing.

Karen Kennedy, who works with our Business Intelligence and Performance Team, was one of the first to sign up to the scheme.

She said: "I feel that mental health is often invisible in the workplace and, as Mental Health First Aiders, we have now been given the tools to support colleagues who may be struggling and can help them to access appropriate help."

Helping to prevent suicide

This year’s focus for World Mental Health Day is on preventing suicide.

We all need to talk more about suicide, and we know that by raising awareness and training, and delivering safe and effective care we can reduce the likelihood of it.

This year, we have introduced specialist training for frontline staff to build skills and confidence in assessing and talking about self-harm and suicide with patients and their families.

Working closely with the families of those who have taken their own lives, we’ve also produced a film which looks at how devastating an event suicide is for families, friends, communities and members of our staff.

Dr Ify Okocha, Deputy Chief Executive, said: "To lose someone to suicide is unimaginable and the impact it can have on those left behind is devastating. Building trust is what enables the people we see to feel that they can talk to us. As clinicians, we need to show compassion to build empathetic relationships where people feel confident to talk about their feelings, and we feel confident and have the necessary skills to help and support them."

Published on 10th October 2019