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New focus on mental health impact of FGM

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FGM Prevention Week will run 8 to 12 February FGM Prevention Week will run 8 to 12 February

Training and educational materials to improve the understanding of mental health in patients who have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM) will be provided to nurses and other healthcare professionals, the Department of Health (DH) has announced.

The materials, announced as part of FGM prevention week, will be available from March 2016. They are designed to help healthcare professionals understand risk factors for FGM and signpost victims to mental health or other appropriate services.

‘We have taken bold action so we now know how many FGM survivors we are treating in the NHS,’ said public health minister Jane Ellison. ‘We are also training thousands of front line professionals to play their part caring for women and protecting girls from FGM.’

As part of FGM prevention week, the DH is urging healthcare professionals to consider their role in combatting the practice. Some suggestions to do this include giving staff the confidence to ask questions regarding FGM, knowing where local FGM support services are, and making contact with local community members to find out how FGM affects the area.

Each day of FGM prevention week will be focused on a different aspect of FGM prevention work. The week starts with mandatory reporting on 9 February, followed by communities and survivors, training and ending with mental health on the 12th. The DH has provided a set of resources for healthcare professionals wishing to take part.

‘The next step is to make sure that survivors are aware of and have access to the right mental health support,’ added Ms Ellison. ‘We are working with professionals, campaigners and survivors to plan how to deliver and embed these services in the health system.’

According to the Department of Health, there are currently 60,000 girls aged 0 to 14 years living in the UK who are potentially at risk of FGM.

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