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Dr Geraldine Strathdee helps celebrate the success of Breaking Down the Barriers

5 July 2016

On Thursday 9 June, Health Education England and UCLPartners hosted a celebration evening to recognise the support our colleagues, from both primary and secondary care settings, have given to the Breaking Down the Barriers programme.

The programme, which began in 2014, aims to support the NHS workforce by providing mental and physical health awareness training packages that enhance existing skills such as early recognition, assessment, management, signposting and onward referral of mental and physical health needs. The programme has been made possible by significant input and robust collaboration with doctors, nurses, subject matter experts, reference groups, education networks and other NHS key partners.

The highlight of the evening was a keynote address from the guest speaker, former National Clinical Director for mental health at NHS England, Dr Geraldine Strathdee OBE. Geraldine is a national spokesperson for Breaking Down the Barriers and is relentless in her efforts to raise awareness of the critical importance of the integration of physical and mental health.

Speaking at the event, Geraldine pointed out the integral need to ensure appropriate, timely, regular mental and physical health training is embedded as part of the current Continuing Professional Development training across the NHS, in order to inform and demonstrate better clinical outcomes.

In her closing speech, Dr Strathdee asked all attendees to remember that an individual’s mental and physical health are inextricably linked, with evidence showing that when a person is treated and managed as a whole (psychologically and physically), the best outcomes are achieved.

Other key speakers on the evening included Claire Johnston from Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Mohan Bhat, from North East London NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Darlington Daniel from Havering.

Closing the event, Chris Caldwell from Health Education England said: “It was great to share the progress Breaking Down the Barriers has made over the last year and hear how this has been positively received across NHS primary and secondary care settings following the initial training roll-out.”