HUDDERSFIELD’S mental health trust has become the first NHS organisation in the country to use an online networking trend.
South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust has set up a Facebook group to engage with local people.
The move comes as part of the Trust’s application to gain foundation status – giving it greater financial control away from the Government.
Health bosses need to encourage people to become members as part of the bid and hope using the online network will prompt discussions around mental health and issues such as stigma.
It will also offer information about membership and allow people interested in the Trust to interact with each other and make new contacts.
Chief executive Steven Michael said: “Everyone’s talking about Facebook, especially young people, so it seemed like a great opportunity to try and engage with local people.
“I hope it provides another opportunity for our communities to find out more about their local NHS and how they can have a say.
“As we apply to become a Foundation Trust, we want to give local people as many ways as possible to get involved and find out about becoming a member.
“We are committed to trying out a variety of ways to connect with local people and Facebook allows us to do this online.
“It is especially important that we try different methods of reaching out to young people in ways that are familiar to them.
“We’d love to hear what they think about their local NHS and about how we can help people look after their mental health.”
Facebook is one of a growing number of sites that offer social networking by offering people the opportunity to connect with friends and others who work, study and live around them.
People use the website to keep up with friends, upload photos, share information and join groups that interest them.
Jude Corrigan, communications manager, set up the Trust’s Facebook group.
She said: “The Trust’s Facebook group has been up and running for a couple of months and its membership is beginning to grow as it is promoted locally.
“Current members include Trust staff and local students.
“Anyone in the Yorkshire and Humber region can join the Trust as a member so in turn we hope that the Facebook group will be successful as more people learn about it. If you’re already on Facebook, why not look up our group and join us?”
To join the Facebook group either follow the link from www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk or search for the group called With All of Us in Mind – our Foundation Trust by visiting www.facebook.com.