A total of 573 staff from across East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) are now able to offer extra wellbeing support to colleagues after completing mental health first aid training funded by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity.

The first aiders act as a point of contact for colleagues who are experiencing difficulties, and provide advice, guidance and a listening ear. They are advocates for good mental health in the workplace, helping to reduce stigma and drive positive change.

As well as offering one-to-one help, the first aiders also support ‘brew crews’, who visit wards and departments and chat to colleagues about the wellbeing support which is available over a hot drink, which has also been funded by the charity.

Claire Lamplugh, consultant psychologist and ESNEFT’s Wellbeing Hub lead, said: “Our mental health first aiders play a really crucial role by helping to recognise anyone who may be struggling, offering a listening ear and suggesting ways to resolve any issues they may be facing. They can make a real difference by supporting people’s emotional wellbeing, in turn helping colleagues to continue providing the very best services.

“We are delighted that so many staff from across ESNEFT have now completed the training thanks to funding from our charity, and look forward to welcoming even more first aiders over the next few months.”

Further mental health first aid training courses will take place during the rest of the year, along with mental health awareness training for managers.

In addition to the training, courses, money raised through the charity’s Staff Wellbeing Fund has also helped to create new rest areas, as well as providing comfortable seating, fridges and microwaves for staff rooms and artwork to brighten corridors.