In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty's latest blog on mental health news, international nurses day and the Life Rooms

In the news

Those of you who have worked for Mersey Care for some time will know that one of the Trust’s main priorities over the last few years has been to champion the cause of mental health in the media and national health circles. While the makeup of this organisation has changed rapidly with the addition of services like Ambition Sefton, Talk Liverpool, our Specialist Learning Disability Division and community services in Liverpool and South Sefton, we remain committed to campaigning against the stigma surrounding mental health.


I think we’re all aware that the profile of mental health has grown in recent years due to national campaigns like the Big Brew. It was pleasing to see that it was in the news this week with the Government’s pledge of new funding for perinatal services and MPs from the Education Select Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee criticising the funding for children’s mental health.

 Our job as a healthcare trust that provides mental health services is to keep it firmly in the sights of commissioners so there is a more equal distribution of funds and we’re still talking about the investment needed for mental health.

 All this is very timely as next week is Mental Health awareness week with a particular focus on stress. There will be plenty of information available on the Trust’s social media channels during the course of the week and can I also point you all to our own self help guides that provide help for all sorts of mental health conditions.

Dying with dignity

Next week is also Dying Matters awareness week, which is putting a real emphasis on opening up greater discussion about the final wishes of our patients, service users and carers.


Most of the focus on all our services is caring for patients and service users so they can get better, but our Specialist Palliative Care service works to maintain a high quality of life for those people that have a terminal illness. We are in the process of updating the information we provide for patients and families so they have practical advice for when someone dies.

Appreciation for nursing staff

The NHS is an organisation made up of many different positions and careers, from domestic staff to finance, administration and frontline staff, which is why it was once ranked as the fifth biggest employer in the world.

Perhaps the most recognisable figure in the NHS though, is probably a nurse and it’s only fitting there is a celebration of International Nurses Day at Aintree Racecourse today for staff, which was attended by our Executive Director of Nursing, Trish Bennett.


Pictured above at the International Nurses Day event at Aintree Racecourse (Left to right): Beverley Nwoso, Jenny Hurst, Catherine Fox-Smith.


It’s a notable milestone to celebrate and is intended to give appreciation to the incredible dedication and expertise shown by our nursing staff and the huge contribution they make to Mersey Care.

This day is not just about nurses, however, and Mersey Care employs various different roles in our nursing workforce, including allied health professionals, health care support workers, assistant practitioners and apprentices. They all make a valuable contribution to the Trust and help us set challenging healthcare standards.


Life Rooms

I can’t let this week’s blog go without marking a special birthday for the Life Rooms this week, with our Walton centre celebrating its second birthday while the first anniversary of the opening of our second Life Rooms in Southport is later this month.


Since we opened up the two Life Rooms as community hubs and centres for our pathways advisors and the Recovery College, more than 26,000 people have gone through the doors at Walton and 11,000 at Southport. We’re planning a third, in partnership with Hugh Baird College, which will open in Bootle later this year.

The Life Rooms concept has never been more relevant than now and provides community support and an opportunity for people to rebuild their lives. It also provides a natural pathway to our work in local, community and secure services.

As ever, both venues are busier than ever and on Monday they are holding an enrolment day for the Recovery College between 10.00am and 4.00pm in Walton and Southport. Tutors and pathways advisors will be present to offer advice. There will be free tea and coffee and more information can be found here.