An associate director at the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is to make a return visit to Gujarat, India, to learn about the culture and develop links with hospitals and health services.
There are over 15,000 people from Batley and Dewsbury who originate from Gujarat and Mike Young, who is based at St Luke’s Hospital, Huddersfield, hopes to be able to use what he learns in Gujarat to improve mental health services for the community in North Kirklees and raise awareness of the importance of good mental health.
Mike will spend two weeks in India during November with four other members of staff from the Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to people across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
It is hoped that the trip will build upon existing relationships with mental health professionals in Gujarat to enable them to make improvements to local mental health services. There are currently four state psychiatric hospitals in Gujarat with just 800 beds for a population of over 50 million people and facilities in the hospitals are of a much lower standard than the NHS. During their two-week stay, the 5 mental health professionals from the Trust including a psychiatrist, two community practice nurse team leaders and the manager of the Milen day centre in Batley, will visit various services and facilities for older people in the Indian state and spend time talking to staff and service users. The group hopes to continue to raise awareness in Gujarat of the importance of mental health care and look at ways services have been improved since Mike last visited in April 2007. Speaking about his visit Mike Young said; “It is a chance for us to develop links and learn more about each other’s approach to mental health. Many Gujaratis live in the area served by the Trust and if staff can develop a deeper understanding of the needs of the community, we will inevitably improve our services to them. "At the same time the people we plan to visit can learn from us. For example, their services are not as developed as ours due to financial restrictions, but learning about our community projects might help them find new ways of providing services in India.” On their return the team will produce training information for staff who work alongside the Kirklees Gujarati community and help deliver training sessions for staff and others on mental health in Gujarat.