Young people train staff to talk about mental health

Young patients with mental health conditions are helping to train hospital staff at Barts Health NHS Trust to better support others in crisis when they are receiving urgent medical treatment.

The trust found that the majority of staff felt unable to respond effectively to the mental health needs of children and young people requiring hospital treatment for self-harm, overdose, anxiety and depression, with employees eager to improve their skills in the area.

With the support of Healthy Teen Minds and Common Room, the rrust has developed a training toolkit for hospital staff believed to be the only programme of its kind in the NHS. So far more than 150 staff have attended the ‘We Can Talk’ one-day training session, including children's nurses, health care assistants, doctors and ward clerks. Of those attending, 96 per cent reported it would make a big difference to the way they do their job.

Michelle Johnson, Director of nursing for children, babies and young people at Barts Health NHS Trust explained: “I heard from many staff that they are caring for more children and young people with mental health problems than ever before, but lacked confidence and resilience to care for and meet their needs. Aiming to support staff to give the best possible care, we did something quite unique by taking the views of young people together with mental health professionals to create ten core competencies and a bespoke training course that is actually led by a young person.”

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