Community embedded practitioners recruited to build trust with communities | Press releases

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Community embedded practitioners recruited to build trust with communities

Stephen Giles, community embedded worker

Three community embedded practitioners have been appointed at South London and Maudsley to build trust and provide services for refugee, migrant and diaspora communities. 

These new roles will support our pledge, co-developed with south London communities through the South London Listens programme, a partnership with South London Citizens, to invest in mental health practitioners embedded in community organisations. 

This pilot is the result of listening with 6,000+ community members. The issue of access to mental health services for migrant and diaspora communities was prioritised, and the idea for the community embedded practitioners was co-developed with community leaders from the schools, community and faith organisations, and parent groups that are part of South London Citizens, alongside practitioners at the trust.  

Congratulations to Theshnee Govender in Lambeth, who will be working in South London Refugee Association (SLRA) and St John's Angell Town Primary School, Laura Parsons in Lewisham, who will be working in Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN) and Stephen Giles in Southwark, who will be working in Surrey Square Primary School and Spring Community Hub. 

Theshnee Govender

A spokesperson for South London Refugee Association said: “We look forward to developing new ways of working with the Community Embedded Mental Health Workers to improve access to mental health information and support those we work with.”

Sir Norman Lamb, Co-Chair of the South London Listens taskforce and Chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “The need to improve access to support and appropriate services to support people in our communities has never been greater. This increased need is particularly felt by those who already experience disadvantage in our society. 

“This pilot scheme could make a huge difference - congratulations to successful appointees, Theshnee, Laura and Stephen, who are first in post in these new roles.” 

Community leaders , worked with the NHS and local authorities to identify areas that need to be addressed as part of the listening campaign. One of the priority areas was to improve access to mental health services for migrants, refugees and diaspora communities, who identified specific issues blocking access including language and cultural barriers, lack of trust in the NHS, complicated forms, not understanding the system and fear of personal data being shared beyond the service. 

David Bradley, Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am pleased are working together with our communities to support the needs of refugee, migrant and diaspora communities. These positions will enable us to improve how we can work alongside key community organisations, develop culturally relevant material and train community leaders to provide low level mental health support.” 

Andrew Bland, Chief Executive Designate for the NHS South East London Integrated Care Board said: “Listening to our communities and acting on what they have told us is at the heart of a responsive integrated health care system. I am proud that we have been able to support this important pilot project with refugee, migrant and diaspora communities. The outcome of this project will help us shape our future mental health work with these communities. Congratulations to the new community embedded workers.”

The roles are being piloted in Lewisham, Southwark, and Lambeth, with a view to rolling the pilot out across south London. 

Find out more about South London Listens and read the South London Listens story