New roles boost mental health support through GP practices

December 8, 2023
Two women sat at a table talking

Five new members of staff at Solent NHS Trust will be working in GP practices to help improve people’s access to mental health support.

Working within local primary care networks, the new members of staff will be brilliant additions aligned to the Portsmouth Mental Health Hub and take on the role of enhanced mental health access facilitators.

By working closely with staff at GP practices, the facilitators will provide compassionate and personalised advice, guidance and support to patients, and connect people with relevant support available across Portsmouth.

Two of the new facilitators currently going through training are Caroline from Portsmouth and Aslima from Copnor.

Caroline said: “Having been involved in the community mental health transformation project and seeing the development of the Portsmouth Mental Health Hub, I realised that I wanted to work in this area and take on this exciting opportunity. I have background of working in mental health in various settings across the community, I am keen to use my skills and experience to make a positive impact.

“I’m looking forward to working in a primary care setting and working in partnership across services, providing individuals with the support and resources to help with their mental wellbeing.”

Aslima added: “I applied to become a facilitator because I have psychology degree and I have great understanding of mental health with a passion to support people. Currently, I am studying a level 4 in counselling at university, and I have learnt a lot about the therapeutic understanding and interventions of trauma. With my background, I always seek to grow and progress, and NHS is national organisation which allows me to do so.

“I am excited for the challenges, supporting people from the community, working with different teams collaboratively, and working with different cultures and religious beliefs. I am keen to actively use my counselling skills and my knowledge in psychology to support individuals’ needs effectively.”

Dr. Marcus Saunders is a Portsmouth GP working with ongoing mental health transformation across the city, including this project.

He said: “This is a really exciting venture to be working in collaboration with our mental health teams and to have a solid and visible Mental Health Hub presence as part of the Primary Care Team.”

The facilitators will all start in post in early 2024 as part of the national Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) and NHS Long Term Plan.

Abi Clarkson, Head of Access at Solent NHS Trust, said: “We are proud to be expanding our integrated ways of working with primary care networks so that Portsmouth residents can benefit from a wider range of clinical care and expertise at local healthcare settings including GP surgeries and pharmacies.

“By boosting larger multidisciplinary teams thanks to these ARRS roles, we are able to strengthen our ability to provide high quality care which meets the needs of our communities in the best ways possible and critically, at the right time and in the right place.”