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Health

First Step short listed for national award

L-R: Richard Thwaites, Laura Cairns and Laura Wilson

The First Step service which provides mental health services in Cumbria for people with mild to moderate mental health problems has been shortlisted for the Equality & Inclusion (enei) Awards for their work towards ensuring inclusion is embedded in every part of their service to provide the best care for patients.

The awards are an opportunity for employers to showcase and share innovative ways in which they have taken a lead in challenging discrimination and are working inclusively to tap into their talented workforce. First Step have been shortlisted in the Community Impact award which recognises where an organisation has reached out to and engaged disadvantaged and minority groups.

Richard Thwaites Clinical Director for the service said “First Step has been nominated for the Community Impact Award in recognition of our passion and commitment towards ensuring inclusion is embedded within every part of our service in order to provide the best care for our patients. We provide a wide range of interventions with specialist knowledge and expertise and have shown a commitment to understanding and removing barriers to patients accessing or engaging with the NHS and working towards equity of access for all adults in Cumbria.

“In the past 12 months, First Step has put together a dedicated group of Diversity and Inclusion Champions who support other members of the teams in issues related to equality, diversity and the adaptation of evidence based therapies for the various cultures and groups within Cumbria. This is a public commitment to continue to keep the work place free of all forms of discrimination and to support staff in acknowledging the areas where we need to learn about other cultures and develop knowledge to best help the Cumbrian population.

“Many staff have given up their own time to work on this and attend events across the county, seeing this as crucial to their role. This work is needed more than ever due to the rise in reported discrimination, hate crimes and racism since 2016.

“Our campaign to raise the profile of Equality Diversity & Inclusion across the service is a clear statement that all are welcome whatever their background, individual circumstance or protected characteristic. This applies to both staff and the patients we support, helping to improve accessibility, break down barriers and reduce health inequalities from those within under represented and marginalised groups.”

The winners will be announced at the event on 2nd July.

First Step is part of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and provides free, talking therapies to adults (18+) across Cumbria. The Service can help with a range of common mental health problems including mild to moderate depression, anxiety disorders (such as chronic worry, panic attacks, health anxiety and obsessions), mild bulimia, anger or sleep problems. Mental Health affects 1 in 4 people, therefore, this service has a positive impact upon many people across Cumbria and also their families.

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