Anyone can experience a mental health problem. One in four people have reported having mental health issues, with 1 in 6 people experiencing a mental health issue each week. There are around 20 million people in the UK who will need to seek help for mental health issues in their lifetime and this has only increased during the pandemic. This is why we at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust do everything we to help support these people and provide the best services possible. One of the ways we do this is through our charity; Heads On.
Heads On do everything they can to brighten the lives of the people who come to Sussex Partnership for help. The charity develops and supports projects that empower people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and Neurodivergent conditions, building a more equal world for everyone. Their main aims are to shine a light on inequalities in healthcare and how to address them, to give a voice to people who use the services we offer, and to challenge the stigma and discrimination that people with an issue face.
"To address health inequalities, we need to behave differently, and take positive action to enable equity of access and treatment across the health care system. We believe Heads On, and NHS charities more widely, have a role to play in supporting this work."
They do this by designing, developing and fundraising for special events and projects for patients, families and carers, and staff at Sussex Partnership;; pioneering research into mental health and how we treat it; and transforming local mental health hospitals into more comfortable and welcoming environments. These undertakings, along with many other endeavours ensure that the charity can offer the best quality service for people who need care and support during a difficult time in their lives.
Heads On’s new strategy (2021 – 2025) is focused on addressing health also inequalities. Heads On want to make sure that everyone has equitable access to quality health care, regardless of their ethnicity, where they live, their employment status, or any other characteristics that have led to inequalities.
Examples of Heads On’s work include:
Research into how people from ethnic minorities experience Sussex Partnership mental health services compared to a white person seeking the same treatment. The Trust wants to have a better understanding of how we can meet the needs of people from the BAME community, identify where the inequalities are and use this information to improve our services
The UK Government's 2018 review of the Mental Health Act found that "profound inequalities already existed for people from BAME communities in accessing mental health treatment, their experience of care and their mental health outcomes". The same review highlighted adults of black African and Caribbean heritage are more likely than any other group to be detained under the Mental Health Act. We know that racism experienced in everyday life adds to already poor experiences and outcomes from mental health services. COVID-19 has made these problems worse and highlighted the needs of BAME communities.
Supporting non-clinical routes to recovery
The Charity supports many projects that help both staff and patients take care of their mental health, outside of clinical care, through arts, culture, and sports. For example, the charity runs the Heads On Run Club. The club taps into the research that physical exercise can help improve your mental health, all while offering a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, open to all regardless of your fitness level or experience. The group sessions run on Thursdays at 12pm at K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley, and Fridays at 12pm at Worthing Leisure Centre.
Campaigns and Appeals
Thanks to the generosity of people donating to their various fundraisers, Heads On can help to provide the best possible support to people with mental health issues across Sussex and beyond.
Their most recent campaign this year is 'Showing Kindness to a Friend You'll Never Meet'. This campaign aims to bring joy to the lives of people in hospitals over the Christmas period, where families are often separated and people struggle with mental health issues more than ever. There are many ways in which you can show your support for the campaign. You can donate to their JustGiving page or drop a text to their dedicated text line where you can choose the amount you'd like to give. With Christmas coming up you will most likely be doing a lot of online shopping, so why not donate at no extra cost? With Amazon Smile, you can donate to Heads On every time you order your Christmas necessities, without spending a penny extra! On top of Amazon, Easy Fundraising covers a range of different online stores, so you can support the charity wherever you do your shopping. If you would prefer to give something physical, the charity has an Amazon Wishlist full of things in-patents have asked for.
They are also running their first ever 'Hats On for Heads On' this year! They are encouraging people to put on their best looking (or worst looking!) Christmas hat or head accessory and make a voluntary donation to Heads On. There will be more information about this in the coming weeks, including an exciting competition, so keep an eye on their social media.
Lastly, they have Christmas postcards that are being sent to in-patient this year. If you would like to get involved to send some, just get in contact with a member of the charity on their website and they will send you out some postcards to handwrite with pre-approved messages of support.