The festive season is now upon us, and although for many this time of year is about celebrations, enjoying time with family and friends, and rest and recuperation – for some, this period intensifies their struggles. This could be financial, experiences of loneliness and isolation, strained relationships with family, and many other worries that can make this season particularly hard to deal with. For this reason, a mental health and wellbeing hub is open to health and social care staff across the Black Country and West Birmingham, to ensure that those who always prioritise others are supported and can access the help they may need.

The Black Country and West Birmingham Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, which is part of Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHFT), provides access to mental health support services which staff can refer themselves to. Qualified mental health practitioners will offer a smooth pathway into local mental health services, including Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) – which is more commonly known as talking therapies or healthy minds services – and support services close to home.

The Hub is available to all staff who work for any organisation which forms part of the Black Country and West Birmingham integrated care system (ICS) – this includes NHS trusts, primary care, community, and social care services.

Susan van Genderen, IAPT clinical lead at BCHFT and project lead for the Hub, commented: “We have almost reached the end of another challenging year – one which has been incredibly busy and highly demanding for everyone, and in particular those working in health and social care.

“As pressures around Covid-19 continue to rise, staff across our locality are doing all they can to care for and protect others – so we want to make sure we do the same for them.

“The Hub is tailored to individual needs, and support can be offered in a variety of ways – whether it’s over the phone, via video call, or face-to-face.

“We would urge anyone who feels they would benefit from this support to complete the self-referral form online or contact us directly – we are here for you, so please reach out.”

More information about the Hub and the self-referral form can be accessed on the BCHFT website:

The Hub is not an urgent service – if immediate mental health support is required or for those in crisis, Rethink’s Black Country 24/7 mental health helpline can be contacted on 0800 0086516.