Chaplain appointed in NHS first


Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust have appointed the Revd Dr Simon Mason to the new post of Clinical Lead Chaplain.

In this role he will lead research into the work of Chaplaincy and Mental Health. He will also aid the working together of Chaplains and other mental health professionals.

This key leadership position is the first of its kind in the entire NHS. Simon’s new appointment will have significance for the delivery of spiritual care to mental health patients locally within the North-East and nationally.

The Revd Dr Simon Mason said: “I am excited by the possibilities and responsibility that comes with the innovative post of Clinical Lead Chaplain in the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. We believe this post to be the first of its kind in the NHS and it is thrilling being a pioneer.

“There are so many great possibilities for developing the post of Clinical Lead Chaplain – deepening conversations with medical colleagues around the spiritual needs of patients who are prisoners; extending research on recovery, spirituality and mental health; engaging more broadly and radically with the wider community both, locally and nationally around mental health provision.

“A key area of my new post is broadening community engagement around mental health. The Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust have a working partnership with Tyne and Wear Citizens, an alliance of Citizens UK. Together they are collaborating on the Citizens Commission on Mental Health in the North East. I am the Coordinator of the Commission. Crucially, the Chief Executive of NTW NHS Trust, John Lawlor, and the Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, are serving as Commissioners. This is a powerful example of the common good being furthered by faith groups, the NHS and Citizens UK working together to reweave the fabric of civil society."

The Revd Dr Simon Mason has beein in ministry for 26 years as a parish priest and mental health chaplain, and throughout this time he has developed many skills, gained much deep personal experience and clinical qualifications in mental health and community working.

He has a Certificate in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Tavistock Clinic in London, holds a doctoral research degree from Durham University and has over 20 year’s experience in community organising through Citizens UK.

The Revd Dr Neil Cockling, Consultant Lead Chaplain for the Trust said: “I am highly delighted that we have been able to introduce this post and, even more pleased that we have been able to appoint Simon Mason to the post. Simon brings considerable gifts and experience, not only of Chaplaincy but also of the technical expertise, which he has gained in his training in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and his work at the interface of Spirituality and Mental Health.”

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