Stacey Picken and Marie Boardman, two of our senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) in our South-east Staffordshire Wellbeing Matters service, have been working to launch a West Midlands Senior PWP Network. Here, Stacey tells us more about how the idea came about and how the launch went...

Progressing from a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) to a Senior PWP was a daunting but exciting change in role for me. Soon after starting my new role I realised some of the the wider challenges to the Step 2 PWP workforce including retention of staff, professional accreditation of the role and communication between IAPT Services even at a regional level.

Luckily this year, I was able to meet Heather Stonebank, an inspiring Lead PWP, who was starting to directly address some of these challenges through her work. Part of this work had been to establish a Yorkshire and Humber Senior PWP Network that was proving invaluable. Soon after, at a regional event held by NHS England around PWP retention the opportunity arose to ask the question – could a West Midlands Senior PWP Network help?

The initial idea was born and, along with 3 other keen Senior PWPs from the region, we presented our rationale for a Network to Commissioners and Service Leads from the area. The Network would provide a forum for Senior PWPs in the region to meet to discuss challenges to the Step 2 workforce, to have a voice in direct issues about the relatively new profession of PWP and Senior PWP, to network and support each other, to understand wider issues in IAPT and to address regional training needs (the list of objectives went on!).

The idea was positively supported and this month we launched our West Midlands Senior PWP Network with our first ever event, showcasing PWP best practice and featuring prominent guest speakers from the National IAPT Team. The well attended event proved a huge success and we received fantastic feedback from attendees who felt the Network was long needed, that it reinvigorated their enthusiasm in valuable Step 2 work and had given them a number of ideas to take back to their services.

For me personally this has been a hugely positive achievement and I am proud to have been part of contributing to the field of Step 2 work that I am so passionate about. I am excited to see what comes next for the network!

To find out more about getting involved with the West Midlands Senior PWP Network, please email [email protected]