10 Oct 2016
World Mental Health Day is marked every year on 10 October as an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and mobilise efforts in support of mental health.
This year’s theme is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress. Recently our own Nash Momori, service user consultant in West London forensic services, qualified as a National Mental Health First Aid Instructor. This makes West London Forensic Service the first and only service to have an in-house accredited trainer.
Our various services throughout the trust have planned a number of events to mark the day, including:
- A ‘Great British Bake Off’ where cakes will be baked and decorated by patients
- ‘First Aid Box’ activity for patients to discuss what keeps them mentally well
- Workshops on mindfulness, Tai chi, health promotion, smoking cessation and recovery
- A smoothie bike and horticulture table, with recipes and tasters using vegetables grown within the forensic unit
- Performances from a service user band
- Tea and Talk (with cake) sessions for staff and service users to talk about mental health, especially relating on how to tackle stress
- Dr Chris Hilton, director of business and strategy, has written a blog post about the importance of psychological first aid
- The therapies team at Hammersmith and Fulham Mental Health Unit are exploring topics with service users such as what makes them feel better and supports their recovery, their favourite things to do and their coping strategies
- Activities session including karaoke, poetry, themed art, mindfulness and Wii games
- A “Let’s Sing” taster session, as research has shown that singing improves our physical and mental wellbeing
Carolyn Regan, chief executive at West London Mental Health NHS Trust, said: “On World Mental Health Day, I want to make it clear that mental health affects everyone. We all have different levels of mental health, the same as we all have different levels of physical health. Just as we know we should try to eat healthily and that we should seek help when we have a problem with our bodies, we should be looking after our minds too, and seeking help when things aren’t going well.
“I am proud to work in mental health. We are making big strides in improving our services, and every day I hear stories about the differences we are making to patients. Mental health should never be an afterthought – it is at the heart of living a fulfilling life, and the professionals who take care of people’s mental health are doing vital, often lifesaving work.
“Mental health is in the spotlight more than ever before and our thinking needs to be big and bold. We need to see mental health as part of people’s overall health, and not something secret and stigmatised. We are working to make our services more integrated with one another and with physical health services, so we can help people get on with their lives and continue to improve the quality of our services.”