A TRIAL scheme has been launched in Lewisham helping GPs to improve knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards mental health.

Time to Change,  run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, has designed the training after research showed that people with mental health problems are still facing discrimination.

As part of the project, which is paid for by the Big Lottery Fund, trainers who have experienced similar problems will work with everyone from GPs and nurses to reception staff.

Staff will get a ten minute face-to-face conversation with a trainer, along with online tools to carry on their learning.

It runs until March and aims to train 300 healthcare professionals. If successful, it is hoped that the project will become self-funded and commissioned in other areas.

Director of Time to Change Sue Baker said: "There is evidence that people are still reporting discrimination when using primary care services. At the same time, GPs and other primary care staff also say that they don't get enough training on mental health.

"That is what has led to the piloting of this new bitesize training package, which is being delivered by people who have themselves used primary care services for mental health problems. After building up an evidence base, we would ultimately like to see this available in GP practices across the country." 

Visit time-to-change.org.uk for details.