Mental health professionals from Gujarat in India have visited NHS mental health services in Huddersfield as part of a mutual learning partnership with South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust.
The Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to people across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, serves a high proportion of local people who originate from South Asia. The visit enabled Trust staff to learn more about South Asian culture and the ways it can affect mental ill health.
The Indian visitors were also able to learn from the Trust to help them make improvements to mental health services in Gujarat.
During their two-week stay, the Gurjarati health professionals, including a psychiatric social worker, a psychiatric nurse and four doctors with clinical, research and practice expertise in mental health, visited various services provided by South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust across Calderdale, as well as Kirklees and Wakefield.
They spent time looking around the facilities at St Luke’s Hospital where they were welcomed by the Trust’s Chair Joyce Catterick and chief executive Steven Michael. They were also given the opportunity to chat with staff members and people who use Trust services.
The Indian mental health experts also attended the Trust’s Festival of Wellbeing at the University of Huddersfield to celebrate World Mental Health Day.
The visiting group’s team leader, Dr Ajay Chauhan, who is a consultant psychiatrist in Gujarat said, "It has been good to learn about such a broad range of services here in Huddersfield. I have been impressed with how well developed services are here and how they are tailored according to individual need, rather than standardised across the board."
Dr Aruna S. Khasgiwala, who is Dean of the faculty of social work at the University of Baroda added, "Our time here has been valuable to us and very informative. We have been given an insight into how the Trust works out in the community to help people with mental health problems and this is something we can learn from."
The Trust’s professional lead for social care, Mike Young set up the exchange after visiting Gujarat. He said, "The twinning project is a two way process. It’s a chance for us to develop links and learn more about each other’s approach to mental health."