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Good practice is sustainable practice

This month the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) launched its Position Statement on the Climate and Ecological Emergencies.

Good practice is sustainable practice

An important stance on the role healthcare needs to play in protecting our environment

Included as part of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) Position Statement on the Climate and Ecological Emergencies  is a paper called “What mental health professionals and organisations should do to address climate change”

Two consultant psychiatrists at Sussex Partnership have spent the past ten months helping to create this important document, Lisa Page and Sharon Cuthbert. The statement lays out the likely impacts of climate change and ecological breakdown on mental health, outlines pledges for action for the RCPsych and some ‘asks’ of other related organisations – including government, NHS trusts and research bodies. Within the paper four tenets of sustainable healthcare are outlined. They are:

  1. Prevent mental illness, build social capital and promote individual, social and community reliance and mental well-being.
  2. Empower patients, staff and carers to manage their mental health.
  3. Eliminate wasteful activity.
  4. Make use of low-carbon alternatives.

This aligns with the commitment to Care Without Carbon at Sussex Partnership and it is exciting to see the subject get such prominent attention within the mental health profession. The full PDF of the paper is available here

For those who would like to know more there is a good BMJ-RCPsych webinar on the topic featuring a contribution from Lisa too, which also featured Nick Watts who is leading on the Greener NHS programme. You can watch the webinar here.

In addition, the Chief Sustainability Officer for NHS England has introduced a clinical fellow scheme. The scheme has been established to identify and support clinicians who present with the clearest potential to develop as clinical leaders and sustainability champions of the future. Find out more about it here.

It is encouraging that leaders within the healthcare profession are making a clear case for the value of sustainable healthcare and the intrinsic links between the health of our environment, and human health, both physical and mental.