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Membership Matters

Supporting staff to reduce the impact of trauma

A NEW initiative to support staff at risk of suffering from trauma due to their work has been approved and is set to launch next year.

Known as RAFT (Risk Assessment Following Trauma), it is aimed at assessing the psychological risk to individuals who have experienced trauma in the course of their work. The peer led process looks to identify, assist, support and, if necessary, signpost people for further help. It can be used whenever there is stress resulting from trauma, or a build-up of events.

Sandra Tucker-Quinn, Resuscitation and Clinical Skills Lead who is leading the launch of RAFT, explained: “Many staff in this Trust are asked to undertake a job that is often unpleasant, emotionally charged and even dangerous.

“Most people will not develop longer-term mental health problems but some inevitably will. Early identification of any potential mental health issues means that the help and support available for staff has a greater chance of being effective and returning people to full functioning at work. It is vital that staff should be able to recognise when colleagues are acting out of character, showing low mood or some other discernible change.”

Up to 16 RAFT practitioners will be trained, these will be peers who volunteer. For staff being supported by RAFT, the process begins as soon as the practitioner is notified, who will then offer individuals two sessions.

Sandra continued: “The first session is face to face, it is conversational but with the aim of determining the level of risk the person may be at. Those with higher levels of risk can receive the signposting that they might need immediately. It is not therapy, but a safe, confidential, completely supportive intervention in addition to the traditional ‘debrief’, where staff have the chance to re-charge batteries over a cup of tea in the staff room.”

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