Mental Health Matters
Welcome to Mental Health Matters, where, on a monthly basis, our senior clinicians provide expert insight into our work here at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust and all aspects of mental health.
July 2018 - Recognising and supporting the contribution of our LGBTQ+ community
As it is Pride month from 9 June to 7 July, our July Mental Health Matters article is from our Equality and Diversity Manager, Jennifer Duncan who tells us what the Trust support the LGBTQ + community and why its important that we all take pride – both in ourselves and in supporting each other.
My role involves supporting all of our staff networks across the trust so they can play a key role in how we support staff across the Trust. Supporting LGBTQ + staff and service users is a key part of this work.
Although Pride for many people is day of celebration and joy, the first Pride was, in fact, a series of riots in June 1969 against the police who raided a gay bar called The Stonewall Inn in New York. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ + rights.
Although the community has come a long way since then, there is still so much that remains to be done. Pride, for me, is a reminder that although we can and should be proud of our sexuality and gender identity. I believe that all Trust staff must do their bit to help create an environment where everyone is free to be themselves in the workplace, without fear, reprisal or judgement.
Pride month is an opportunity to celebrate the visibility and diversity of the LGBTQ + community, to stand up against hate, and campaign for true equality. You can read more about the London events taking place on the weekend of the 7th and 8th July, here.
The Trust is committed to valuing and celebrating the diversity of its patients and staff, aiming for accessible services, good experience and better health outcomes in line with Trust values.
So, what help and support is available for staff?
- Our LGBTQ + Staff Network held its Pride event on 27 June, where network members were on hand to welcome new members and explain the help and support they provide. To contact the Network, please email: Hannah.Spreadbury-Troy@swlstg.nhs.uk
- We are a member of Stonewall's Diversity Champion programme which has given us a framework to create a workplace that enables LGBTQ + staff to reach their full potential. We share the ethos of the programme - that people perform better when they can be themselves.
- All our employees can access our Employee Assistance Programme or Guardian Services in total confidence if they need support and advice.
- All of our staff will receive harassment and bullying training so we can create an environment where all staff are treated with dignity and respect.
I believe there’s still a lot of work to be done until all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception, but I’m glad that we, as a Trust, are taking strides to address this.
Read previous articles below
June 2018 - Carers Week: Recognising and supporting the contribution of carers
Did you know that one in eight people in the UK is a carer?
That’s a lot of people and for me it’s vital we recognise their contribution and to ensure they’re well supported in their role.
Over the course of the year, I’ve taken a lead role on a number of projects related to carers. It’s my job to make sure all Trust staff value the role of carers and support them as much as possible.
What I will say is that my respect and gratitude to this sometimes undervalued group of people has grown. I’ve recently experienced being a carer for a close family member and I can appreciate the hard work, stress and level of self-sacrifice they go through.
Carers Week, taking place from Monday 11 to Sunday 17 June, allows us to throw a spotlight on carers and explain what we, as Trust, are doing to support them. An important part of my role is to work with clinicians so they are constantly talking to and listening to carers and involving them in patient care – that for me is critical. At the same time, we also need to build communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, whilst recognising that they too are individuals - with health and wellbeing needs of their own.
At our Trust, we’re lucky that we have a plan that demonstrates our commitment to carers and this commitment comes from the very top – from the Chief Executive.
So what are we doing to ensure that the views of carers are heard? One of the ways we do this is to use embed Triangle of Care standards across the Trust, which allow us to:
- improve service delivery
- highlight good practice
- ensure consistency of carer involvement across an organisation
- build partnership working between statutory and third sector organisations
- build a carer inclusive/whole family/network approach to care.
- These standards are a response to the wishes of carers themselves, who want to be consulted more closely and valued as active partners within the care team. (See our Carers Charter).
We’re also working closely with each of the local boroughs we serve - Richmond, Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Kingston – to ensure that carers are well signposted to all the relevant resources out there to support them, so when they need advice and help, it is easy to find.
One of the objectives in our Service User and Carer Involvement Plan (co-produced with carers) is to ensure at least 50 clinical job interviews in the Trust have a carer sitting as an equal partner on the interview panel.
Recently, a carer told me how, after one of our staff had directed her to her local borough carers centre, she was able to carry on having her husband live at home with her after she had reached a crisis point. She commented that she found the support and understanding she received there overwhelming – for me, this goes to show how a simple conversation can make a life changing difference.
Follow the link to see the resources we provide to carers.
We’re always keen to work with more carers and if you are interested in helping us improve and develop services then please sign up to our involvement register by emailing: Involvement@swlstg.nhs.uk