CAST is The Centre for Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma, established at CNWL NHS Foundation Trust to bring together and disseminate extensive expertise in the knowledge and treatment of mental health difficulties that affect individuals and communities.
Led by Dr John Green, CAST brings together a range of NHS and academic expertise from across CNWL Trust and its partners. We deliver training, provide consultancy, and undertake research collaborations.
CAST draws from CNWL’s immense amount of expertise in psychological trauma, its management, and its treatment across services such as the Woodfield Road Trauma Service, the Grenfell Health & Wellbeing Service, clinical health psychology, offender care, addiction services, as well as in mainstream mental health services.
More widely, CNWL as a Trust is committed to becoming a trauma-informed organisation in line with the NHS Long Term Plan (2019) and the rollout of Trauma-Informed Approaches (TIA) is helping staff and patients better understand how mental health difficulties can develop in response to people’s life experiences.
CAST is part of the Jameson sustainability strategy that aims to work in collaboration with both internal and external partners to provide further understanding of traumatic events and their impacts affecting individuals and communities.
CAST has three primary strands of work:
- Delivering training: CAST will promote and deliver training, including on how to recognise and manage trauma and potentially traumatic stress.
- Providing consultancy: CAST will incorporate the Trust’s wide range of trauma expertise into a consultancy framework to the wider healthcare system and to other organisations outside healthcare, both in the UK and internationally.
Undertaking research: CAST will seek to undertake research, particularly with University partners including (but not limited to) Brunel University London, Buckinghamshire New University, and the University of West London. Projects should focus on enriching and diversifying understanding of psychological trauma and its treatment as it relates to individuals and communities at risk.
CAST can also offer expertise in preparing for and coordinating the mental health response to major incidents and health emergencies. CAST draws expertise from the Trust’s development and delivery of mental health services and support following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 and the Ladbroke Grove rail crash in 1999. CAST also draws on Trust experience of responding to health emergencies, including the HIV/AIDS crisis and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is rising awareness of the impact of trauma, and the management of trauma nationally. Major incidents like Grenfell, terrorist attacks and natural disasters have focussed attention on the mental health impacts of traumatic events. Covid-19 has further increased the salience of the topic. At the same time there is heightened awareness of trauma informed care and the importance of early childhood trauma in later mental health and wellbeing; for example, at CNWL the adoption of Trauma-Informed Approaches (TIA) is helping to improve staff understanding and supporting patients to cope, move forwards and recover.