Bashir Hassan - Community Connector
One way that the mental health transformation programme is providing a more flexible approach to care is through the work of community connectors.
The connectors work within Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams (NMHTs) and help link service users with organisations outside of ELFT as part of their recovery journey.
Hassan Bashir is a community connector with the Isle of Dogs NMHT.
The team refer individuals to Bashir when they think people would benefit from wider support with the community, while continuing to receive help for their mental health from the NMHT.
“My job is to think about where people can find other help within the community that will improve their wellbeing and mental health,” said Bashir.
“If people are feeling isolated I refer them to a community centre and if they are lonely I can refer them to a support worker”
“I also help signpost people to the right place if they need help with housing applications or rent arrears. I can link people with charities and for help with other things like Freedom Passes.”
He said the biggest issue raised by service users is financial pressures.
Bashir also emphasised the importance of a team that reflects the diversity of the community they support.
“I speak Somali, Arabic and English and we also have team members who speak Spanish and Italian.”
Bashir is employed by Coffee Afrik, a community cooperative and community-based organisation operating in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham, and is co-located with the Neighbourhood mental health team.
Aileen Valydon, Operational Lead for Isle of Dogs & South Poplar Neighbourhood Mental Health Team (NMHT) Network 7 & 8, said Bashir and other community connectors help unlock a wealth of offers available within the community.
“Bashir has a wealth of knowledge, can influence the health system from within and – most importantly – he asks really important questions to service users and thinks about solutions that provide practical, positive changes to benefit their day-to-day lives,” she said.
“One example of his value is how he engages with service users who had many repeat mental health crisis presentations. There is a direct correlation between Bashir engaging with some of those individuals and them not returning to the crisis pathway.
She added: “He is incredible.”