Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) is encouraging local people to get involved with mental health services in the area – by signing up as members of the Trust.
AWP, which provides adult mental health and social care services in the Swindon area, aims to become an NHS foundation trust early in 2010. A foundation trust (FT) is a type of NHS organisation that operates on the principle of working together with local communities for their benefit. AWP is inviting local people to join as members who will raise awareness of mental health issues and challenge the stigma associated with using mental health services.
As a foundation trust, AWP hopes to recruit thousands of members. It pledges to draw on these members’ interests, experiences and enthusiasm to help influence how the Trust could improve its services and make them even more responsive to service users and carers.
Anyone over the age of 16 can sign up to become a member, whether a user of AWP’s services, the carer of someone who uses the Trust’s services, or anyone who cares about mental wellbeing. Membership is free and can involve as much or as little time as people have to spare.
Chief Executive Laura McMurtrie says, “One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any one year. The chances of either having a mental health problem or experiencing someone close to us having a mental health problem is high. Mental wellbeing is everyone’s business and by becoming a member, you can make a significant contribution to help us improve your local mental health services.”
She adds, “As a foundation trust, we will have greater opportunities to talk with our local communities about what we can do together to improve people’s lives. Building a strong, diverse membership for the Trust and being able to draw upon their skills and talents is one of the most exciting prospects of becoming a foundation trust.”
During the summer, AWP will have stands at a number of Swindon events and festivals. Staff will be raising awareness of mental health, the work of the Trust, and encouraging people to sign up as members in advance of becoming a foundation trust.
The Trust will have a stand at the following events:
• Saturday 15 August: Swindon Pride
• Saturday 12 September: Swindon Youth Festival
On 1 September, the Trust will launch a formal public consultation about its proposals to become an FT with its staff, service users, carers, members of the public and other key stakeholders.
The Trust’s website www.awp.nhs.uk has more information about becoming a member.
Pictured above: The Mayor signs up as a member