Improving access to mental health support

Latest on who’s improving access to mental health support

Training barbers in mental health first aid --- NHS improving access to mental health support
Training barbers in mental health first aid — NHS improving access to mental health support

What made me think about improving access to mental health support, you might wonder. While reading Pulse Today (intended for health professionals only?), the following article caught my eye. Barbers to be trained in mental health support as part of £10m suicide prevention plan. NHS England announced a £10m investment in community suicide prevention. This includes a bid to train barbers in mental health first aid.

Research shows that tho’ more women are diagnosed with mental health problems, men are less likely to seek help. They’re also more likely to commit suicide, mainly before the age of 50.

Because men don’t like to admit to having a mental illness, they’re not accessing mental health services, and therefore — they go undiagnosed and untreated.

So, I’m impressed with this bid to train barbers. Where better for men to start talking about mental health?

Okay, I’ll be honest, I’ve never been to a barber. But, rumour has it that men do offload some of their stressors during a haircut. While they might not actually say ‘mental health problems’, they’ll chat about their crappy exes or sh*t redundancies at work.

One of my sources, often asks me what he should do or say to help someone who’s in crisis. Now I’ll be telling him about this training!

This innovative approach got me thinking about who else is improving support systems and moreover, how they’re doing it. So, off I went to visit one of my best friends, Google, who’s helped me with my research many times. And once again, he didn’t let me down.

Better mental health support for chefs

Exhausted chefs experiencing mental health problems
Exhausted chefs experiencing mental health problems

Hospitality Action launches industry-wide mental health survey. Industry charity Hospitality Action is conducting an industry-wide survey into current attitudes towards mental health and stress in the hospitality sector.

Their 2018 survey showed that 46% of respondents had struggled with a mental health problems within the previous 12 months. This industry tends to be male dominated and those figures are what I would expect to see.

Another new report reveals four in five chefs suffer from poor mental health? It said that 81% experienced mental health problems during their career. What’s more, over half felt that not enough was being done to support them in the workplace.

Hospitality Action report that this new survey will help them develop its mental health provision, which includes access to counselling. Additionally, they’ll be able to offer a wide range of resources for managers and staff to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace.

What’s new in schools and colleges

In 2017, the Government published its Green Paper for Transforming children and young people’s mental health.

It detailed proposals for expanding access to mental health care for children and young people. These focused on providing additional support through schools and colleges and reducing waiting times for treatment. 

The first Mental Health Support Teams were launched in 25 trailblazer areas announced in December 2018. These included 12 areas that are also testing a four-week waiting time. These trailblazer MHSTs are building up their capacity and capability during 2019. A further 57 sites were confirmed in July 2019, which will start developing 123 Mental Health Support Teams during 2020.

This long-awaited news is music to my ears. Every school, college and alternative provision will be trained through a series of workshops to pool their resources and understanding and to draw up long term plans.

Massive scale-up in investment

Global collaboration and investment needed in  mental health
Global collaboration and investment needed in mental health

Joint release by the World Health Organization, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health

World Mental Health Day: an opportunity to kick-start a massive scale-up in investment in mental health. The World Mental Health Day campaign will offer opportunities, for all of us to do something life-affirming: as

  • individuals, to take concrete actions in support of our own mental health, and to support friends and family who are struggling
  • employers, to take steps towards putting in place employee wellness programmes
  • governments, to commit to establishing or scaling-up mental health services, and
  • as journalists, to explain what more can and must be done to make mental health care a reality for everyone.

This joint initiative will be hosting a series of events on World Mental Health Day to help increase awareness of mental health issues, break down stigma and bring about policy change.

During one event, world leaders and mental health experts will join the WHO Director-General to talk about their commitment to mental health and what more must be done.

Great, so we’re looking at seeing increased investment in mental health across the world. Let’s all hope they’re not just talking empty words.

Over to you

I love the above innovative initiatives being rolled out in the UK, and wonder what do you think? What’s happening in your part of the world in terms of improving access to mental health support? I love reading about what’s happening in other countries so I look forward to your comments. I also appreciate constructive criticism about any of my posts or about my site in general.

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