SAMH bus supports NHS on two-week wellbeing tour

15th March 2024

A mobile mental health and wellbeing service has helped to support healthcare staff throughout Lanarkshire as part of an innovative 14-day tour across the county.

In a first-of-its-kind partnership between SAMH (Scottish Action for Mental Health) and NHS Lanarkshire, Wellbeing on Wheels was made available at Health Centres across Lanarkshire over a two-week spell. Although booked by the NHS primarily for its staff, members of the public were welcome to drop by too.

Wellbeing on Wheels, operated by SAMH in partnership with Stagecoach East, is a drop-in mental health service on board a bus that brings one-to-one, peer-led support directly into the heart of communities. Its team provide information, tools, and resources to help people self-manage their mental health and wellbeing.

NHS Lanarkshire is committed to ensuring health board and health and social care partnership staff have access to an additional layer of health and wellbeing supports. As an employer, it decided to hire Wellbeing on Wheels to support its staff’s wellbeing, acknowledging that factors ranging from stress and isolation to bereavement and cost of living pressures can impact everyone’s mental health.

Susan Neilson, Service Manager at SAMH, said: “Our Wellbeing on Wheels team are used to visiting community centres and other neighbourhood hubs, but this was the first time we worked with an employer over an extended spell to support its staff on their doorstep. We are so pleased to partner with NHS Lanarkshire in this innovative way.

“Our team of peer support workers were here to deliver one-to-one mental health and wellbeing support to anyone who hopped on board the bus for a blether, but we were also there to raise awareness, challenge stigma and signpost people to local services that can continue that support on a more long-term basis.”

Kerri Todd, Head of Health Improvement at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “It was great to have the Wellbeing on Wheels team come to Lanarkshire to complement the existing wellbeing support we provide for staff.

“We have a comprehensive health and wellbeing programme, but I’m keen that we always explore new ways of supporting our staff and building on their resilience. By looking after the wellbeing of our staff, we are able to ensure that we’re fully focused on delivering high quality care to the people of Lanarkshire.”

Alongside support from Wellbeing on Wheels, the bus tour included sessions with animal therapy charity Therapet, managed by Canine Concern Scotland Trust, and visits from specialist staff to share advice on things like financial support and good health.