Guest blog: World Mental Health day and EEAST

Hello, my name is Duncan Moore, I’m a paramedic and I’m now in my 29th year of practicing.

As it is World Mental Health day, I’m writing about mental health and where our service is with this.

So what is mental health? It’s something we all have – that’s every member of staff, every patient, every family member, volunteer – you name it!

Mental health is a factor than can dramatically affect our well-being and how we perceive the world around us. It can affect our physical health and equally our physical health can impact on our mental health and overall well-being. You don’t need me to tell you that mental health goes up and down. The good days we remember and enjoyed will be favoured against those we didn’t. Many things will affect our mental health and recognising and looking after yourself is the key as you would with your physical health.

World Mental Health Day is all about raising awareness, challenging stigma, and focusing on how we can improve care, and recognise elements that impact on a person’s mental health.

Now in its 10th year, the theme this year is dignity. This may seem ironic, when we see visions of fellow people being herded from one country to another. Combine this with the continued growth in diagnosed cases of dementia that we are witnessing. I am sure you will agree that’s it’s a good choice to focus on.

Where is EEAST in all this?

The first big positive is that I was asked to write about mental health!  Twenty-nine years ago mental health didn’t get any press and wasn’t really talked about; but mental health is now very much in the focus of health providers and the nation. We often hear about it when supposed poor mental health triggers horrific events, as it’s easy to sensationalise someone’s mental well-being or lack of, for news. Psychosis doesn’t make you a violent person; factors may trigger aggression, we can’t escape from that, and we need to ensure that we have the tools and communication skills to keep safe.

The Trust is working on a national level and with other trusts to develop strategies that keep us safe and look to care for without fear or favour. The introduction of the Crisis Care Concordat a year ago has allowed us to become involved with other agencies in the provision of services around mental health.

We’ve progressed the core training – we can all remember the classic “learn the sections of the Mental Health Act” and this is no more. Working with partner organisations means we are delivering a more focused level of training and education to our student paramedics that meet the national standards, and more importantly focuses on recognising and supporting patients with poor mental health.

And finally, I promise, we have been working to support the launch of the Blue Light Programme, a national initiative. This programme supports us, the carers, along with volunteers, family members and all who work across the emergency services to look after our mental health. Many strands of the programme are already up and running and the positive feedback being received highlights the need for this long-overdue initiative.

Want to know more? Please follow the link http://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/campaigns/bluelight/

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About East of England Ambulance Service

Our aim is to be the recognised leader in emergency, urgent and out of hospital care in the East of England....
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