Island launches new initiatives in mental health promotion
A conference to look at how services on the Island can work better together to promote employment opportunities for people with mental health conditions was held last week.
60 people from organisations including NHS mental health services, social services, Job Centre Plus, specialist employment support services, voluntary and community groups and service user groups attended the conference which was held on Thursday 12 March at St. Georges Stadium.
Several new initiatives were launched including a resource for local practitioners allowing for easy signposting and referral to support services. An update was given on the progress of the Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies programme on the Island which will see 11 new NHS primary care therapists delivering cognitive behavioural therapy to people experiencing anxiety and depression.
Also announced was the start of the delivery of Mental Health First Aid training which develops people's skills to recognise and responds appropriately when encountering someone in mental distress and the joining of forces of Health Promotion and the Chamber of Commerce to promote the Mindful Employers scheme to local businesses.
Rachel McKernan, Health Promotion Specialist for NHS Mental Health services and who organised the event said: “We know that only 40% of employers would consider employing someone with experience of mental health conditions. However, with 1 in 6 of the working age population experiencing mental health problems at any one time the irony is that most employers already do.
“The Mindful Employer and Mental Health First Aid schemes aim to dispel the myths and negative stereotypes that surround mental health and by bringing agencies and organisations together today and creating new linked ways of working we hope to ensure that nobody on the Isle of Wight is prevented from taking up meaningful employment because of issues relating to their mental health.”
Those attending the conference appreciated the opportunity to find out what was already available on the Island and to make connections. One delegate said they knew they were taking away “information which I know will create a positive impact to individual lives.” Another said “it was good to see this event had a much more obvious local relevance…it was good to see service users making such an input too.”
Notes for Editors
For further information: Contact the NHS Isle of Wight communications team on 01983 534184 or 552003. Further information about health services can be found at www.iow.nhs.uk or www.nhs.uk.
- Time to Change is England’s most ambitious programme to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and improve the nation’s wellbeing. Mental Health Media, Mind, and Rethink are leading this diverse programme of 35 projects, funded by £16m from the Big Lottery Fund’s Well-being programme (www.biglotteryfund.org.uk) and £2m from Comic Relief, and evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. The programme is founded on an international evidence base, and has people with direct experience of mental health problems at its heart. Further information can be found at www.time-to-change.org.uk or contact Rachel McKernan, Health Promotion Specialist, NHS Isle of Wight on 01983 814282.
- 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some stage in life – Office for National Statistics www.statistics.gov.uk . This equals 29,020 adults on the Isle of Wight
- It is estimated that at any one time on the Isle of Wight over 18,000 adults and 1,800 children and young people will have a mental health problem – Isle of Wight Public Health Report – Information Supplement 2006