Sheena's Blog: Mental Health Awareness Week - relationships

by Sheena Cumiskey - 13 May 2016

Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 is taking place from 16-22 May, this year focusing on the theme of ‘relationships’.

Relationships, I think, is a particularly pertinent theme for this year’s campaign. Historically, the stigma and stereotypes that influenced past attitudes towards mental health led to many people with mental health conditions being treated as different, and separate from their communities. This is a mind-set that, for years, we’ve worked incredibly hard to change.

The fact that 2016’s campaign is primarily focused on supporting acceptance and integration - rather than simply on a particular condition or service - is a great reflection of just how far public attitudes towards mental health have come.

We know that isolation can have a hugely negative impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing, and the supportive connections that can be shared within communities are incredibly important to ensuring that people can stay healthy and happy at home.

As providers of mental health services, we understand the importance of investing in these supportive connections in the community. We work in partnership with numerous local organisations to make sure we have a strong community presence that enables people who use our services, their carers and families to receive high quality care in an environment they are comfortable with. 

A fine example of the progress we’ve made to support local people at home is the recent work done by our Complex Recovery Assessment and Consultation (CRAC) team. Against the rising pressures facing acute bed levels nationally, the CRAC team’s commitment to ensuring people are able to receive appropriate, high quality treatment in the community - without having to be referred into inpatient services – has allowed CWP to achieve one of the lowest inpatient bed user rates in the country. CRAC team experts Dr Ian Davidson and Clair Jones were asked to present the team’s successes at a recent international forum for quality and safety in healthcare in Gothenburg. Watch the video of their story.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation has given everyone one key challenge: to make arelationship resolution to be more present with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Although it may seem like a small change, just taking a bit of time out of our busy schedules to listen to people can have a profound impact on those who may be feeling down or lonely.

Supporting the people most vulnerable in our community is, of course, part of day-to-day life for everyone involved with CWP. But Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to spread these values far and wide. If we all take a moment to encourage someone we know to make their own relationship resolution, we can together make a huge difference.

Best wishes

Sheena

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