photo supplied by Ambulance Service

Healthcare experts across the country had the chance to discuss all things mental health at an engagement day hosted by the region’s ambulance service last week (Thursday, 16th March).

The day, held at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) headquarters in Cambridgeshire, saw a host of key speakers and mental health professionals discuss key topics and how all services can better work together to improve care for mental health suffers.

In addition, two experts by experience, Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn recounted their story when, back in 2008, Jonny tried to take his own life on Waterloo Bridge. Fortunately Neil intervened, saving Jonny’s life, and since being reunited both have become champions of mental health.

More than 70 people from across 15 organisations, including clinical commissioning groups, shared their work experience in mental health from a range of services, including the nationally recognised Mental Health Street Triage team in Bedfordshire, and blue light service colleagues from Norfolk Police and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS).

We heard how, across the region, organisations approach mental health and treat those in crisis such as The Sanctuary – a dedicated, non-clinical environment that people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can access 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Topics touched on included how organisations can have a better understanding of mental health legislation, sharing of information across groups, and geographical issues across the east of England.

EEAST Medical Director Dr Mark Patten closed the day and said: “My thanks to all those who spoke today, their stories can help all of our services develop our work in mental health.”

EEAST Area Clinical Lead Duncan Moore said: “It was a really successful day which was a great platform for mental health experts to discuss what work is currently being done and what we can do more of to benefit those in mental health crises.”