e-connect May 2021

Welcome to e-connect, our monthly Trust e-bulletin with the intention of helping to keep you connected with us, update you on the service improvements we are making and share the work we are doing to improve access to our services across the county.

Publication date:
28 May 2021
Date range:
May 2021 - ongoing


Welcome to e-connect!

May has been a busy month for us as we have been celebrating Mental Health Week (find out more below) and Maternal Mental Health Week, as well as Dementia Action Week and Learning at Work Week amongst many other days of awareness and celebration.

One day that was particularly important to us was International Nurses' Day - an opportunity for us to all recognise and thank our nursing staff for the incredible work they do. We asked our staff to tell us about their colleagues so that we could give them a special shout out on social media on the day and we were inundated with responses. We couldn’t gather together on the day due to the COVID-19 restrictions so we are planning to have another celebration on 9 July.

If you want to share a note of thanks or appreciation for the work of our staff during the past year, please do contact us kmpt.communications@nhs.net

Monday 17 May saw the restrictions ease once again in England - we can now meet as a group of six indoors and a group of 30 outdoors, restuarants, bars, cinemas and exercise classes are all back, as well as weddings. These are huge steps towards regaining our freedoms and we hope that everyone is enjoying being able to do simple things indoors again. As the Government's roadmap continues, so does our KMPT roadmap. Our service users now have access to community groups and outdoor leave, Lakeside Lounge (our café in Maidstone run by volunteers and service users) has reopened and our job taster programme has restarted. You can find out more about the KMPT roadmap here

Fingers crossed that we continue to move forward and that June continues to be full of promise and hope.

We hope that you all enjoy your bank holiday weekend and stay safe.

Come join us at KMPT

If you are looking for a new direction in your career, there are a number of clinical and non-clinical roles currently available at the Trust.

If you join KMPT, you will be working for an organisation full of friendly, passionate colleagues from 52 nations, rich in their diversity, talents and experience, who are committed to providing excellent care to our service users and their loved ones. We have a team of empathetic leaders inspiring their staff in an environment where everyone is valued and plays a vital role in providing an exemplary service.

Across our communities and within inpatient settings, our workforce is enhanced and strengthened by dedicated peer support workers, people with lived experience, a wonderful team of volunteers and a brigade of pets as therapy support dogs. Everyone counts.

We pride ourselves on our innovative work, and in fact innovation is one of our core values and is demonstrated in many of our award-winning teams:

  • Trailblazing work in partnerships with the police and courts, our liaison and diversion service is designed to support people out of the criminal justice system and towards a positive future; with their work underpinned by bespoke technology
  • Our mother and baby unit, designed by mums with lived experience, helps to support fellow mums in mental health crisis, their babies and families
  • The vocational rehabilitation team, recognise routine and belonging as a way back to wellness, working with employers to offer new opportunities and hope after illness
  • The Kent and Medway Recovery and Wellbeing College offers educational courses to support mental, physical and emotional wellbeing in shared learning environments in the community
  • Our Open Dialogue service treats the patient after their first instance of psychosis which includes meetings concerning anyone involved in the persons care, including family and professionals.

Before the global pandemic arrived, we were already very supportive of flexible working and the use of technology to help deliver services. Our recruitment team is committed to helping support a work/life balance, so if you are interested in any of our roles, please read the job description and then we can chat about how the personal needs in your life can be supported.

You can browse the vacancies here and please do pass on to your family, friends and contacts who might be interested in joining KMPT.

We look forward to welcoming new members of staff to our KMPT family in the near future.

The PATH stigma campaign has launched

The PATH project hopes to enable women, families and healthcare professionals to prevent, diagnose and successfully manage mild/moderate perinatal mental illness (PMI).

The project has just launched its multi-media campaign in the UK, with planned launches for Belgium, France and Netherlands between now and September. The campaign is looking at tackling stigma around perinatal mental illnesses and understanding the barriers that are preventing so many people from seeking and receiving the help and support they need. We are working with Sandra Igwe, bestselling children’s author and founder of The Motherhood Group, and Mark Williams, mental health campaigner and founder of Fathers Reaching Out, to start conversations about PMI, with the two sharing their own stories with us in upcoming animation videos.

We conducted a survey of expectant and new parents to gauge their views of perinatal mental illness and learn about their experiences. The data collected showed that the most common symptoms of PMI are feelings of low mood and depression, stress and loneliness; all traits that have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. It is clear that supporting new parents through pregnancy, labour and during the fourth trimester is the best way to tackle PMI and we hope that through our campaigning we can provide parents with the space to speak up about their experiences and learn from others. You can find out more about tackling the stigma here

As part of the project, we are also actively developing an information hub, with a section dedicated to parents and families. It is important to us that we get this right, and so we're asking parents to sign up to be part of our new parent panel - an opportunity to help shape the information that we are loading onto the the hub and make sure it is of the highest quality and useful to the people who access it. As a big thank you from us, we will give you a £25 Amazon voucher whenever you feed back on the materials we send you! If you'd like to find out more about the parent panel, click here

Read the full press release

Mental Health Awareness Week

From 10 to 16 May was Mental Health Awareness Week. This year's theme was nature and so we spent the week finding ways that our staff and patients could connect with nature and the environments that surround them. Our Voluntary services team pulled out all the stops to help us celebrate as a Trust and here's just some of the amazing opportunities they organised...

Nature art show

We asked staff, patients, carers, volunteers and the general public to use this week as an opportunity to get creative. People submitted their artistic interpretations of nature to our Communications team which we displayed throughout the week in various ways. As well as having an art gallery on our intranet and sharing pictures on social media, our Voluntary services team travelled to the three main KMPT sites with an outdoor art gallery for staff and patients to view. Everyone loved seeing the artwork and it brought a smile to lots of faces. A huge thank you to everyone who took part.

Birds, bugs and butterflies walk

The Voluntary services and Chaplaincy teams joined forces to provide some passionate and knowledgeable wildlife walks for staff and patients.

The Rev. Ruth Bierbaum, Chaplain, and Stephen Tucker, Voluntary services coordinator ran 'Birds, Bugs and Butterflies' on 13 May 2021. The guided walk provided staff and patients at our Maidstone site, with an understanding of what fauna and flora were around them; and gave them the opportunity to take time to appreciate the natural world and the relaxation, peace and joy it can bring.

Trip to Elmley Nature Reserve

The Voluntary services team worked with our Forensic outreach and liaison services to organise a trip for patients to Elmley Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey on the afternoon of 13 May 2021. They were given a guided tour of the reserve so they could experience the tranquillity of being in nature and the amazing wildlife that live at Elmley including hares, marsh harrier, egrets, lapwings and redshank.

Elmley Nature Reserve is a family-run farm full of trails, wildlife, a cafe and 3,300 acres of breathtaking marshland to explore. The team at Elmley run tours - both walking and safari style in a truck, but also encourage visitors to find their own adventures by following the trails (by foot and car)!

The reserve is open to the public, but you must book a ticket to enter.

Stephen Tucker, our Voluntary services coordinator, is a 'friend of Elmley' and has been talking to the team there for a while about ways we could collaborate. They are incredibly pleased to have found a date, particularly during Mental Health Awareness Week, for our patients to visit. We hope they had an amazing time.

Participation and involvement

We are committed to patient and carer participation in all areas of the Trust, particularly service improvement. That is why we offer a number of roles within KMPT dedicated to making a difference.

You can get involved with research, any one of our ongoing service improvement projects, or volunteer. However you want to get involved, we can find a role that suits you and your ambitions.

If you are passionate about service improvement based on lived-experience, or know somebody that is, please get in touch. Along with a meaningful contribution to our communities across Kent and Medway, we will offer you support to grow in your role through training, coaching and support as well as only asking you to commit to the amount of time you are happy with. We will keep in touch with you via our ebulletins ensuring you have the most up to date information on projects available and how others have made a difference by getting involved.

Want to know more? Contact kmpt.engagement@nhs.net

We need your help to develop maternal mental health services in Kent and Medway

The NHS Long Term Plan has proposed the development of new maternal mental health services, which are to be in place across England by 2023/24. For Kent and Medway, this had led to some Government funding to run a consultation alongside a pilot project in east Kent for a maternal mental health service called Thrive. The pilot project Thrive has been specially designed to support service users who have experienced trauma and/or mental health difficulties as a result of pregnancy or birth experience.

Research organisation TONIC has been asked by the Kent and Medway Commissioners to conduct surveys and interviews with individuals who have relevant personal experiences. We want to know the thoughts of women and their partners with lived experience of birth trauma or loss on how maternal mental health services should run and how future services can be set up to ensure they support women and their families during the perinatal period as effectively as possible. We want to ensure their views are central to the roll out of additional maternal mental health services across Kent and Medway. We have consulted people with lived experience and relevant services in developing the survey and the promotion materials.

What will the consultation involve?

If you are a woman who has experienced birth trauma or loss, you can:

If you are a partner of a woman who has experienced birth trauma or loss, you can:

Participation is anonymous and confidential – you will not be asked for any identifiable information.

Surveys and interviews are your opportunity to provide us with your ideas and opinions on this topic.

TONIC will then analyse all responses received, with findings being written up into a report to inform the wider roll out of maternal mental health services across Kent and Medway.

If you are interested or simply want to find out more, please text the word ‘THRIVE’ to 07860 015 450 or email ‘THRIVE’ to engage@tonic.org.uk