As we move into spring and a world with less lockdown restrictions, I wonder how many of us have mixed emotions about our new world. Perhaps it’s been like the weather (at least here in the North West) where we have had hail showers followed by brilliant sunshine over the past few weeks.
I expect many of you, like me, have had ups and downs over the past few months. Sometimes, it seems like time passes slowly in lockdown and then there’s a blink and days/weeks/months have gone by. Some of us will have experienced losses and bereavements and some of us may still be waiting for the safe opportunity to meet with family and friends whether nearby or afar. It’s still a tricky time as I feel like we’re still holding our breath to see what happens next.
But what has happened in the last year? I expect most of us have been just as busy providing psychological services whether in health, care or education or wider. We have all been adapting and recognising the demands of the online meeting world. The pace of this world has seemed more rapid than before and more demanding too.
With the coronavirus pandemic, there has been increased recognition of the need for psychological services and professionals. The development of Resilience Hubs across England has been an example of this. I’ve been very much involved with my local one and it’s been a welcome privilege to be able to prioritise staff wellbeing to this extent.
The ambition for the Psychological Professions Network 18 months ago was to have a PPN in each English region. The advent of the pandemic has not had negative impact on this despite my initial fears. The PPNs have been growing over the past 15 months. In January 2020, I went to Bristol in person by train (travel for work seems unusual now) for the launch of the PPN in the South West. I blogged about it then. In early 2020, we had three PPNs – North West, South East and South West. Since then, we’ve worked with colleagues to set up PPNs in all the other parts of England – Midlands, North East & Yorkshire, London and East of England. There are now PPNs running or getting started in all parts of England. This is providing opportunities to work together and examples of this include the PPN national conference in November 2020, collaboration around new roles projects between the North West and South West. We’ve been sharing good practice and projects between the regions – including mental health placements for GPs, and developing a wider PWP network. When I reflect on the start of our North West journey eight years ago, time has passed both slowly and quickly, but it’s immensely rewarding to see the recognition of the PPN model that we created in the North West.
So what will the next few months bring? I’m looking forward to working with the PPNs across the country. We’re planning our next conference in November in the week of 15th November – more details soon. There’s also developing work around new roles, Advanced Clinical Practice, Psychological Practice in Physical Health care as well as the expansion in training for psychological professions. There will be opportunities to get involved. We’re still working towards parity of esteem between physical health and psychological health. The PPN needs You – members and supporters to continue to promote and develop psychological work to the benefit of all.