In Mind: Mental Health Awareness Week and the new mental health triage car are topics discussed in the latest blog from Chief Executive Joe Rafferty

Mental Health Awareness Week

We’re all aware of the changes this organisation has made in recent years and, since welcoming community services from Sefton and Liverpool into the Mersey Care family, we can no longer be regarded as solely a ‘mental health trust.’

There’s no doubt our organisation has benefitted from the introduction of community care into our portfolio, expanding our horizons and making a genuine drive towards providing ALL healthcare so someone with mental and physical health issues can access them all within the same service.

That said, Mental Health Awareness Week, which has just finished, is a great opportunity to showcase all our great work in the mental health areas of our organisation. I was delighted to see so much media attention on our services and for those of you who missed any of it, there are some links below.

In addition to the media interviews we have conducted over the last week, I know we provided several stalls last week in the marketplace area of BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool. There seemed plenty of enthusiasm and interest in our stalls that covered a wide range of our services, including the Life Rooms, Talk Liverpool, Zero Suicide Alliance, PD Hub and our Perinatal teams.

There were also interviews at BBC Radio Merseyside with Nicky Fearon, the Life Rooms’ head of student mental health and wellbeing, Deputy Medical Director Dr Arun Chidambaram, Clinical Psychologist  Dr Sarah Butchard, a piece in the Guardian about working for Mersey Care and Dr Yasir Abbasi’s advice on smoking cessation. There are links to them all below:

BBC Radio Merseyside interview with Nicky Fearon, the head of student mental health and wellbeing at the Life Rooms on mental health in young people. The interview starts at 4.00 minutes:

BBC Radio Merseyside interview with Deputy Medical Director Dr Arun Chidambaram on mental health in the middle age. The interview starts at 49.07:

BBC Radio Merseyside interview with Dr Sarah Butchard, Clinical Psychologist for our older people’s services, on stress and mental health. The interview starts at 50.00.

Dr Yasir Abbasi, Mersey Care’s Clinical Director for Addiction Services, interview with Pulse magazine on smoking cessation:

Article in Lancs Live on our new mental health hospital in Southport:

Guardian recruitment feature including an interview with Dr Arun Chidambaram:


Mental Health Triage Car launch

Another major news item during Mental Health Awareness Week has been the launch of the new bespoke mental health triage car, which we work with in partnership with Merseyside Police.

Those of you who have read the NHS Long Term Plan will be aware partnerships form a large part of this strategy and there are few better examples of working alongside a different service than the triage car initiative with Merseyside Police, which first began in 2014.

It has had major benefits to both services in that we have learned how each other work and, as a result work better together as a partnership. The service allows a mental health nurse to travel with a police officer in a car and give an assessment, which has helped guide those suffering mental health issues to be signposted to the services they need better and has had a real impact on police time.

Until now, the triage car service has relied on a marked police car that has been removed from frontline duty because of the number of miles it had driven. Thanks to a successful joint application to the Department of Health and Social Care’s Beyond Places of Safety Fund, which makes funding available to focus on improving urgent mental healthcare in local areas, a new bespoke car for this service has been launched.


This bespoke vehicle includes seats that allow the option of turning to face the rear seat and a table inbetween. This provides a more relaxed environment to engage with someone who is often at their most vulnerable and we hope it will have a significant impact on the service this joint initiative provides. More information on the new car can be found here: