Health trust's dedicated role

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 11, 2011

NHS Salford is hiring its first dedicated Jewish support worker to improve the uptake of mental health treatments among the community.

It is hoped the primary care trust-sponsored one-year position will spread awareness of self-help techniques to tackle depression and anxiety and facilitate more intensive treatments for conditions such as schizophrenia.

It follows a £100,000 pilot scheme on family health run by the PCT last year.

This latest move was sparked by a campaign by Sholem Salzman, who runs the Neshomo mental health advocacy organisation aimed primarily at the strictly Orthodox. He said uptake of mental health treatments among the Salford community was low because people feared their culture would be misunderstood.

"There are no more mental health issues within the strictly Orthodox as anywhere else in society," he stressed. "But there is the fact that people felt uncomfortable and questioned whether psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers are able to accommodate cultural needs. There is a cultural difference and we try to bridge the gap. This is a new idea and we'll see how it goes."

‘We want to be sensitive to Jewish needs’

A spokesman for NHS Salford said a Jewish liaison officer "will help us to be more sensitive to the needs of the Jewish community.

"This post will also ensure that we have a continued connection with the community."

Last updated: 4:21pm, August 11 2011