Following the launch of the National Voices and Centre for Mental Health report ‘Ask How I Am’, our Director of Governance and Quality Assurance, Victoria Pilkington, reflects on how simple questions could support our drive to deliver personalised care.

'How are you?’ seems such a simple every day question but how often do we ask it and actually wait to listen for a meaningful answer. This week I attended the really insightful launch of the @NationalVoices and @CentreforMentalHealth report #AskhowIam. The report and campaign has one clear request to ensure that all those who work in health and social care consistently and meaningfully ask those they work with how they are, to understand their emotional wellbeing.

The report highlights that our mental health and wellbeing needs should be fundamentally wrapped together and its interactions and dependencies on physical health considered at every stage of an individual’s treatment and support. Those living with long term conditions in the report felt their mental health was rarely considered in their everyday engagements with health care workers leading to a fragmentation of their needs.

We really need to see people as a whole and at The Trust we work alongside people with an acquired brain injury, autism, and/or learning or physical disabilities to help them live as independently as possible through the provision of holistic services. Those small gestures of support, those everyday questions which seek to understand the emotional needs of the individual in front of us are so critical as we personalise our support. I am really looking forward to working with@andybell from Centre for Mental Health to consider how The Trust can support this campaign to ensure vital conversations take place, and give our brilliant staff the mental health literacy to routinely and proactively understand the emotional support needs of the people in our services.

So ‘How are you?’ – We are listening.