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World Mental Health Day 2020 Special - Perspectives from an NHS mental health commissioner, a healthcare provider and a service user

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    October 9, 2020

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The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access. Everyone, everywhere”. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization stated:

“The world is accepting the concept of universal health coverage. Mental health must be an integral part of universal health coverage. Nobody should be denied access to mental health care because she or he is poor or lives in a remote place.”

In light of World Mental Health Day, this multi-guest podcast episode features Dan Burningham, Mental Health Programme Director at City and Hackney CCG, Brendan Street, Professional Head of Emotional Wellbeing at Nuffield Health and Ben Jones, service user and soon-to-be psychotherapist who share their thoughts and perspectives on Mental Health for All.

The podcast first dives into the barriers and challenges to mental health for all. Dan talks about a rising demand for mental health and psychological therapies, partly due to COVID-19, which increased the need for remote and digital solutions and outreach work. Having had a breakdown in 2015, Ben shares his own experience and the importance of recognising the need for support and the ability to talk about mental health as well as long waiting lists to access NHS services. From a private healthcare provider perspective, Brendan talks about stigma and fear of discrimination as main challenges and availability, awareness and language as barriers to access.

Having discussed the challenges and barriers, Dan, Brendan and Ben provide their thoughts on how awareness levels can be improved, how technology can help, and how greater access can be achieved – both locally and nationwide.

Finally, our podcast guests share their thoughts and ideas on Greater Investment in mental health and where this additional investment needs to go. Brendan emphasises the need for prevention and language being key to understand that “mental health is not just the absence of mental illness”. In terms of investment, he suggests starting early with schools and a model for educating children to understand and look after their mental health, “getting mentally fitter.” Ben mentions the role of technology but also emphasises the need for investing in meaningful conversations in schools and workplaces. Lastly, Dan talks about putting more resources in place for people who need ongoing treatments and who experience more severe and complex problems, such as trauma.

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About Dan Burningham:
Dan is the Mental Health Programme Director at City and Hackney CCG. He has over 25 years' experience in the field mental health. In 2019 the CCG with other local partners won the Mental Health Innovation of the Year Award. Dan is a qualified coach and, over the last 7 years he has coached healthcare managers, using creative approaches to unlock potential.

About Brendan Street:
Brendan is Professional Head of Emotional Wellbeing at Nuffield Health. He is a BABCP Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Supervisor, fully qualified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) practitioner, and NMC registered Mental Health Nurse. Brendan has over 25 years-experience of treating mental health problems in the NHS and private sector.

About Ben Jones:
Ben has over twenty years’ experience of communications roles in high profile and complex UK and global organisations. He has a passion for mental health, work-life balance and the relationships between the workplace and mental health, shaped by his lived experience of a breakdown in 2015, whilst in a senior leadership role. Ben speaks and blogs regularly on mental health issues, including lecturing at Liverpool John Moores University. He is training to become a psychotherapist.

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