One of my former colleagues used to think of September, rather than January, as the start of her new year. Not unusual for teachers and students but she’d worked in mental health almost all her career. And there’s a touch of the New Year about September 2012 in Solent Mind.
We held a fantastic induction day this week for 23 new – or nearly new - staff at italk, which is that size of service that we have plan for "attrition", the need to replace the inevitable loss of staff who move on up the IAPT ladder. The sense that people are embarking on a valued career – a rare event these days – attracts a huge number of outstanding applicants. This year’s intake, who will also become Southampton University students for their IAPT training, probably have more professional mental health experience than past years’, and we really value this. I always ask our new staff at induction why they’ve chosen Solent Mind. The answers are invariably about being passionate about mental health, and about making a difference. The IAPT model is hard work – especially at Step 2 with therapy delivered by telephone – but highly satisfying, with every chance to turn that passion into action and make a big difference to peoples’ lives.
A great reminder last week that there are plenty of charities keen to work together for a common cause. The specific cause was the new mental health Wellbeing services in Hampshire, being developed by 4 "primes" – all 3rd sector – and a host of sub contractors. In Solent Mind’s case we’re working with Havant and East Hants Mind, Fareham and Gosport Mind, and Andover Mind (our prime for Eastleigh and Winchester), and planning with SCA how best we can partner each other in the New Forest. Kent-based MCCH were also there, and the day was orchestrated by our Hampshire commissioners. It was good to see some real ambition on everyone’s part to share ideas and good practice.