In the last 6 months, we have seen our mental health work grow by a quarter. Crisis, acute and inpatient support has increased 3-fold. We are playing a vital role in helping some of the most vulnerable people access mental health services.
Behind each number is a story. Here is one that shows the importance of continuity of interpreter – something we strive to deliver as part of our charitable purpose.
We have been providing an interpreter for a person dispersed by the asylum system. Following a telephone consultation, both the Psychiatrist and interpreter raised wellbeing concerns. The interpreter also reported that the person is sharing a room in a house in multiple occupation, with no access to a confidential space. The telephone consultation today had to be taken outside in the street, as the house is very noisy.
The same evening at 21.00, the Shift Coordinator of the Mental Health Rapid Response Service (MHRRS) contacted our 24-hour emergency service. Our colleague wanted to set up a visit for Saturday morning with a Social Worker and Mental Health Professional. They gave a range of potential times and said staff would be allocated in the morning and would contact us to confirm details. I raised the issues reported by the interpreter, which were unknown to MHRRS, and we discussed possible solutions. MHRRS staff do not have access to confidential spaces at the weekend.
On Friday evening, I called the same interpreter who had been working with this Service User to check availability against appointment times given. Helpfully they explained that this person suffers from insomnia related to trauma and often sleeps in until midday. I called back the MHRRS Shift Coordinator and we arranged a more suitable time. She made a note on their records of the insomnia.
On Saturday morning, the weekend Shift Coordinator contacted our emergency service to discuss details, including provision of PPE. I repeated all of the information around settings and timings. I also offered to arrange for the interpreter to call the person at midday to let them know about the appointment at 13.00 to give them a chance to get ready.
Our interpreter spoke with the person as arranged. They were relieved to hear the interpreter’s voice and felt re-assured that their needs were being taken seriously. I reported this to the Shift Coordinator who found this empathetic and caring approach very helpful.
This way of working helped to set up a productive support meeting. A confidential space was secured, the optimum time was negotiated, continuity of interpreter built trust and most importantly, the person felt supported and re-assured by the response.