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To be or not to be … mentally well

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11 July 2018
The National Theatre is working with senior health service psychologists at C&I Wellbeing – an organisation set up by staff from Camden and Islington NHS Trust - to help support the mental health of employees. 
The C&I Wellbeing team have been providing mental health awareness training, as well as practical advice and toolkits to help managers proactively enhance their own mental wellbeing, as well as that of other staff.
C&I psychologists recently held a workshop for the cast and production team of the National Theatre’s production of ‘Nine Night’.  They have also provided a range of one to two hour talks on topics including ‘Coping with Anxiety’, ‘Alcohol & Substance Misuse’, ‘Improving Sleep’, and ‘Grief and Bereavement’.
The aim is to ensure NT workers create a culture of openness regarding mental health and wellbeing, learn to recognize signs of stress and mental distress in themselves and others, and develop coping strategies to manage the inevitable pressures of working in one of the UK’s most famous artistic venues, which employs more than 1,500 staff and stages around 30 productions a year. 
C&I Wellbeing was set up in 2017 by NHS clinicians, with profits from the venture being reinvested in caring for the Trust’s NHS patients.
The team has worked with a range of organisations including publishing giant, Pan Pacmillan,  consultancies and law firms.
Dr Beverley Flint, who set up C&I Wellbeing with Dr Lisa Cohen, said:  “Looking after an organisation’s biggest and most important resource, its workforce, is essential in ensuring that they provide the best service possible.
 “It’s wonderful to see organisations taking such a proactive stance to address mental health in the workplace.   However, stigma attached to mental ill health remains a hurdle to address.”
Phoebe Pickard, HR Advisor, from the National Theatre said:  “Creativity has been shown to be the first trait to decline when someone is experiencing stress. As a leading creative organisation, it is therefore vital that we build a positive working culture for our staff in order for creativity to thrive and for us to stay at the top of our game - creating and producing world-class theatre.
She added:  “We identified that our staff were experiencing anxiety, depression, eating disorders and stress in particular due to the pressures of the expected high standards, unsociable working patterns and creative demands they face. 
“Whilst we still have a long way to go in tackling these issues, and the stigma attached to mental health, C&I Wellbeing have been an instrumental partner in helping us create an inclusive and open culture and getting us to our goal of making theatre for everyone and by everyone.
C&I Wellbeing have now trained up over 40 of the National Theatre’s managers in mental health awareness, and this is now being rolled out further across the organization.
Phoebe explained:   “Cultural change and shift starts at the local level, with the relationship between manager and employee, and this training has been vital in helping us achieve this change. 
“We have also held a variety of awareness and knowledge-raising talks and workshops for our staff around mental health and wellbeing, provided by C&I Wellbeing, and have trained up a selection of our staff to be Mental Health First Aiders. 
“From these initiatives, we have witnessed an increase in the frequency and openness of conversations around mental health in the organisation and have seen a cultural shift towards how mental health and wellbeing is seen and approached within the National Theatre”.

Notes to Editors

C&I Wellbeing is a provider of training, workshops, and evidence-based therapies for organisations that are keen to address the mental wellbeing of their staff. By raising awareness around mental health issues and proactively tackling concerns at an early stage, organisations can benefit from increased staff morale, productivity and performance.
The C&I Wellbeing team is made up of psychologists trained to doctorate level, as well as psychological therapists and counsellors. They have a combined wealth of experience in helping adults with common mental health conditions including stress, anxiety, depression, as well as those with more complex needs. The C&I Wellbeing team is staffed by professionals who also work with NHS patients at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, who are able to bring their expertise to support the mental wellbeing of your workforce.

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust’s Strategic Priorities *

Our three strategic priorities are:

  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Recovery and wellbeing through working together and 
  • Research and innovation 
We were recently rated as ‘Good’ by the CQC following their inspection in December 2017.

About Camden and Islington  NHS Foundation Trust 

The Trust was rated ‘Good’ by the CQC at its latest inspection in December 2017.  We provide mental health and substance misuse services to people living in Camden and Islington, and a substance misuse and psychological therapies service to residents in Kingston. 
We have two inpatient facilities, at Highgate Mental Health Centre and St Pancras Hospital, as well as community based services throughout the London boroughs of Camden and Islington. Our Trust is also a member of University College London Partners (UCLP), one of the world’s leading academic health science partnerships.
We provide services for adults of working age, adults with learning difficulties, and older people in the London area either in a community or inpatient setting.
Our annual income is around £139million and we have approximately 1,800 staff. Our staff  work in multi-disciplinary teams providing a holistic approach to recovery. This means that we often work with partner agencies and the voluntary sector. Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust  was established in 2002. In March 2008 we became the first Care Trust to achieve Foundation Trust status and are licensed by NHS Improvement.


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