I attended a very positive meeting with Karen Bradley MP, the Minister for preventing Abuse and Exploitation, at Clock View Hospital yesterday alongside Beatrice Fraenkel, our chairman. The Minister visited our new Prenton Suite, which is where the police now bring people they suspect of having mental health issues as part of the street triage scheme.
The Minister was very impressed with the partnership we have formed with Merseyside Police and the impact it has had on reducing the number of Section 136 detentions in police cells – when the police believe a person needs taking to a place of safety because of suspected mental health issues. In the first nine months of the triage service up until March this year, there has been a 23% reduction in section 136 detentions.
Those that are referred are now taken to our new Prenton Suite, where they can be assessed and cared for instead of using up police time booking them into a cell. It was an encouraging meeting and hopefully the start of an ongoing conversation with Government.
Human Rights Act
Last Friday (2 October) was the 15th anniversary of the Human Rights Act, which is when it became law and protected universal human rights across the UK. I am very proud that at Mersey Care we have our own version of this in our values when we talk about respect of patients, carers, colleagues and members of the public.
Having respect as one of our fundamental core values – treating everyone we come across with dignity, respect and value – is all part of our journey towards perfect care. I am always very proud as chief executive when I hear people from outside the organisation praise the way our staff have handled themselves. That can happen in many different forms, from Radio Five Live when they visited Clock View recently, to relatives visiting their loved ones at one of our sites, to the positive feedback we received after last week’s well attended AGM.
I think we would all agree that people should be treated with respect in every area of life, but sadly that is not always the case. That is why it is so pleasing to hear when Mersey Care staff are praised for their conduct and behaviour towards others.
It was encouraging to hear so many of you attended last Sunday’s Talk Walk at Aintree Racecourse. I know there was plenty going on in and around Liverpool last weekend, not least the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool, so for so many of you to march against stigma was hugely encouraging.
Around 200 people attended and the walk was given a great send off by Leanne and Dave, the breakfast show presenters on Radio City. There are many ways we can campaign to ensure mental health is positioned near the top of the health agenda, but collective shows of support like this get noticed.
There were many different reasons for people making that walk. Some worked at Mersey Care and had heard about our call to come together to stamp out stigma, others knew someone with a mental illness and one lady called Kelly Marie walked for her Mum.
She wrote a moving Facebook post about the walk, but summed up the spirit of the event by writing: “I was proud to be shouting my Mum’s name from the rooftops and proud to support such a fantastic day. (I was) thinking of everyone who is struggling with this illness and also to all the families we met who unfortunately have lost their loved ones and walked today to show support for other families.”
For those of us who were unable to make the walk, Mersey Care is already talking about making it an annual event that can grow into something even bigger each year. If you want to see a film clip of last Sunday’s walk, you can do so by clicking here.
World Mental Health Day
The Talk Walk was the start of our celebrations for World Mental Health Day, which is marked by a long list of events in and around Liverpool tomorrow. Details of those events can be found further down this newsletter, but we have three stands in Williamson Square – for Talk Liverpool, the Big Brew and the Recovery College – and I am sure they would welcome any support you can give them.
Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive