NHS Lothian leads way in tackling mental illness stigma

NHS LOTHIAN is to consolidate its reputation as a caring and compassionate employer by working towards a prestigious mental health award.

The board of NHS Lothian endorsed a recommendation yesterday (wed) that work should go ahead to gain the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commendation Award, part of the Healthy Working Lives Award programme.

Board members agreed that NHS Lothian should act both to promote good mental health among Scots and among its 28,000 staff.

To gain the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commendation Award, NHS Lothian will provide mental health awareness campaigns and activities for all staff and specific training for managers, conduct stress audits and put into place a workplace mental health and wellbeing policy.

Dr Charles Winstanley, Chairman, NHS Lothian, said:

“I am delighted that the Board has set tackling the stigma associated with mental health issues as a priority, both for our patients and in general terms and for our staff. By working towards this award, we can ensure we are continuing to provide excellent support to all staff colleagues as well.”
“Healthcare workers have difficult and often draining jobs, and it’s vital we care for them and support their emotional wellbeing as much as we can.
”I was very pleased to be able to sign the national ‘see me’ anti-stigma Pledge earlier this year and we are committed to doing everything we can to help end discrimination against people who have or have had mental health issues.”
NHS Lothian signed the national ‘see me’ anti-stigma Pledge in January.
The ‘see me’ campaign was launched in 2002 to eliminate the stigma and discrimination associated with mental ill-health, using high-profile advertising and local activities to raise awareness and change attitudes.
Suzie Vestri, acting Campaign Director for ‘see me’ commented: “One in four people in the NHS Lothian area – and 1 in 4 NHS Lothian employees – will experience a mental health problem at some time in their lives. There is no reason in this day and age why people experiencing such a common health problem should experience stigma and discrimination. NHS Lothian’s commitment to tackling stigma is warmly welcomed by ‘see me’ and we look forward to working closely with them to make stigma a thing of the past across Lothian”.
NHS Lothian has invested an additional £300,000 this year in Occupational Health and Safety services, with an additional £300,000 also being invested next year in expanding the services.
Mental health improvement and promoting positive mental health is one of NHS Lothian’s main priorities in delivering healthcare for the people of Lothian.
NHS Lothian is a member of the Lothian Alliance Against Depression, a multi-agency group. The Lothian Alliance is the only UK partner in the 18 country European Alliance Against Depression, which brings together a wide range of partners to raise awareness of depression.
The European Alliance Against Depression won the first Gastein Award at the European Health Forum Awards in October 2007. This prestigious award is the most important health policy event in the European Union honouring outstanding achievements in the area of healthcare.