Grainne Eloi, General Manager of Mental Health ServicesBradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, will be backing World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2019, and is supporting vulnerable people in mental health crisis needing urgent assistance.

The awareness day’s theme for this year, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, focuses on suicide prevention. Around 4,500 people take their own lives each year in England. It’s the biggest killer of males under 50; mental health illness and financial problems are some of the biggest contributing factors of suicide across the area.

Hannah Nutting, a former teacher, has lived experience of mental health crisis.  The 28-year-old recalls waking up one morning a year ago and finding herself unable to get out of bed and “not wanting to be here anymore”.

The doctors referred Hannah to First Response, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s mental health crisis support service.  Hannah said: “We had a telephone interview and they decided to send someone out that afternoon to assess me and see what kind of support I needed. The First Responder put a plan in place to keep me safe straightaway and signposted me to different services and one of them was Haven.”

Hannah NuttingHannah benefited from Haven at the Cellar Trust.  The Care Trust; The Cellar Trust, a local mental health charity, and Bradford Metropolitan District Council worked in partnership to open the project. The cheerful non-clinical space is open all year round and offers help to people struggling with mental health issues before their condition escalates and they need to be treated in hospital. The service can be accessed through the First Response service and is manned by staff and also volunteers that have personal experience of mental health issues.

A year on from being in crisis and making the call to the First Response service, Hannah is now in the process of completing her master’s degree in psychology, having been inspired to help others through her own experience of mental health.  Wanting to give something back, Hannah has also trained to become a peer support worker at Haven. She says: “I’m in such a different place now, I’m working as a peer support worker, studying for my master’s and hopefully going on to do a PhD, I’ve found my passion and it’s mental health.   It’s made me see the importance of sharing my experience because I know how powerful it was for me.  I remember sitting and talking to Emily, the peer support worker, and now I want to be someone’s Emily.”

Grainne Eloi, General Manager of Mental Health Services at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “World Mental Health Day is a helpful reminder to do all that we can to support people who may be feeling vulnerable. We want to raise awareness of the support available for people contemplating taking their own lives and are fully committed to suicide prevention. The impact of suicide can be devastating, not just on the person, but also on family and friends left behind.  Working as part of the wider, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership we’re looking at new ways to create awareness and support for actions that prevent suicide.”

As part of this work the Care Trust and West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WYHCP),  also fully support the Zero Suicide Alliance, which is a coalition of partners determined to work together and share best practice in preventing suicides. In support of this, the Zero Suicide Alliance developed ‘Save a Life’ suicide prevention training that’s free and accessible to all.

For those people who need urgent crisis care, the Care Trust’s First Response service offers support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to people of all ages living in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, who are experiencing a mental health crisis.  People can call 01274 221181 and talk to a telecoach who will quickly assess their needs, including urgent support.

This may include a First Responder, who are mental health nurses and social workers, who visit people wherever they are in their time of crisis, sometimes with a member of the emergency services. Or the service may refer people to one of three community-based safer spaces for people of any age experiencing mental health crisis, that offer a warm, calm and safe environment, 365 days a year, as an alternative to A&E.