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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, and in Essex.

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Time to Talk Day - NELFT staff take part in events

Time to Talk Day was established in 2013 and is an important event for raising awareness and encouraging conversations about mental illness. The awareness day on Thursday, February 2 was organised by Time to Change, a campaign led by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

It is hoped that by supporting these types of conversations, being more open to them and making them more common-place, we are all more likely to talk about the things that we find difficult and seek help and support, before things feel so out of control.

As part of the event, NELFT organised two different ways to engage with the public, through local radio station Phoenix FM, based in Brentwood, and via a ‘tweet chat’.

Dr Karen McCarty, NELFT Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS) Essex appeared on Phoenix FM. The radio station broadcasts live to Brentwood and Billericay and had Karen on as a guest to discuss Time to Talk Day, EWMHS and the services that the Trust provides to the locality.

Dr McCarty said: “I was initially a bit nervous about being interviewed on the radio: what would they ask? What would I say? What if I couldn’t find the right words or got tongue-tied?

“Remembering that I have years of experience working in child and adolescent mental health services and that I feel really passionate about it helped to calm me. By the time I arrived at the radio station, I had convinced myself that I was just having a chat with someone about the importance of young people’s mental health. The Phoenix FM DJ, Keith Rogers was welcoming and I quickly felt comfortable. It was less formal than I had anticipated which reinforces my belief that things always feel more daunting in your head than real life.”

To listen to Dr McCarty speaking on Phoenix FM, you can listen back to the show via their website: www.phoenixfm.com/2017/02/03/time-to-talk-dr-karen-mccarty-from-nelft/

As well as Dr McCarty’s radio interview, a team of NELFT staff came together to present a ‘tweet chat’. These are online interactive discussions focused on a particular topic where people are invited to share their views. The ‘tweet chat’ used the hashtag #timetotalk, so that people across the world using that hashtag could follow what was appearing on Twitter.

Taking part in the ‘tweet chat’ were Sam Illaiee (Operational Lead, Waltham Forest), Wellington Makala (Deputy Integrated Care Director) and Dr Russell Razzaque (Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Medical Director), along with NELFT’s own social media guru Kyle Grieve.

Mr Grieve said: “Social media is becoming an increasingly common platform on which to raise awareness for health campaigns, ensuring we can communicate vital information to our service users and the general public.

“The theme of Time to Talk Day is to encourage everyone to open up about their mental health and talk to someone, and we wanted to help start a conversation through our ‘tweet chat’ on Twitter, as well as Facebook and Instagram, and show that there are ways in which you can support your loved ones through this difficult time.

“If we were able to help make a difference in even a small way, then we can say our social media promotion was successful.”

On the day of the ‘tweet chat’, there were 17.6k impressions on Twitter – which was nearly double the normal amount.

Kyle kindly created a Storify link, which highlights some of the tweets that the public sent and how NELFT staff engaged with them: https://storify.com/NELFT/nelft-helps-to-raise-awareness-around-mental-healt

Pictured above L-R, Kyle Grieve, Wellington Makala, Louis Henderson-Dawe (Communications Trainee) and Sam Illaiee.

Pictured below are Karen McCarty and Phoenix FM DJ Keith Rogers.

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