Working in partnership to increase the engagement provided to people with mental health issues
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) NHS Trust have jointly funded a Mental Health Engagement Officer post to support residents with mental health issues.
The two services are working together to increase engagement between both organisations and further support members of the public living in Cheshire East and Cheshire West experiencing mental health issues who might be at a heightened risk of fire.
CFRS recognises that people living with mental health conditions may be at a greater risk of fire due to factors that can be present alongside a mental health diagnosis, such as hoarding, alcohol and substance misuse, side effects from medication, smoking and living alone.
The role will be based within CFRS's Prevention department and provides a vital link between the two services to help increase awareness to mental health teams at CWP NHS Trust about how factors associated with mental health issues can increase fire risk. CWP in return is identifying residents who might benefit from a Home Fire Safety Visit to the Mental Health Engagement Officer.
The Mental Health Engagement Officer will work jointly with CWP teams to identify and address common causes of fire with residents and work with them within their home to reduce these risks, provide further support and advice and, where appropriate, signpost them to other services who might be able to assist. For example, the Service routinely offer a “Safe and Well” visit in collaboration with health and 3rd sector organisations to over 65’s. This provides residents with the opportunity to consent to a referral to health and wellbeing services including support for falls, feeling alone, affordable warmth and blood pressure screening.
Jenny Maskell, CFRS's Partnerships Co-ordinator said: “The Service is committed to strengthening links with mental health providers in order to improve home safety for those most at risk in our communities, and it is anticipated that the Mental Health Engagement Officer role will help achieve this vision.
“It has been a long standing aspiration for our Prevention team to build on and strengthen our links with mental health providers in order to continue to provide an effective service to the public of Cheshire.”