HEALTH bosses have launched a major shake-up aimed at improving mental health services in Southampton.
The landmark blueprint aims to redesign mental health facilities for people of all ages and boost early intervention, recovery services and stronger support networks in the community.
Now health council chiefs and politicians are urging people to have their say on the proposals which impact on services helping people on every step of the way in tackling their mental health problems.
The Mental Health Matters consultation will build on some good work already being done and seek areas for improvements to both adults and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
It is being launched by NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in partnership with Southampton City Council and comes as mental health has been thrust into the local and national spotlight with one in four people being affected by mental illness at some point during their lives.
It also follows a series of scandals, including widespread condemnation of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, following a damning independent report criticising it for failing to properly investigate the deaths of hundreds of people.
The CCG stressed the consultation had been prepared prior to the NHS-commissioned Mazars report being released last December.
But it confirmed that no extra money will be used as part of the plans which will be introduced within “budget restraints”.
Mental Health Matters was drawn up following feedback from service users, carers, clinical staff and voluntary and community groups during autumn 2015.
Proposed improvements include:
- Easier access to mental health services and a 24/7 crisis service.
- Stronger links with Headstart Project helping children with anxiety in schools and develop early intervention approaches for young people.
- Developing dedicated community eating disorder services for young people.
- Improved perinatal services for women who are at risk of developing mental health problems during pregnancy.
- Greater involvement of GPs, A&E and other medical services in mental health.
- Strengthening peer support and community navigators helping people combat loneliness, stay active in their communities and help rebuild their lives.
CCG clinical chairwoman Dr Sue Robinson said: “We are committed to ensuring that services which assess and treat mental health conditions are of the same high standard as those for physical health. Mental Health Matters will ensure that people in the city that require support get access to the services they need, when they need it, with the outcomes they deserve.”
A CCG spokeswoman confirmed no extra funding will be injected, but added: “Investment will be concentrated where it is most needed, and this will mean shifting resources to respond to what people have told us, what works and what gives the best outcomes.”
The city council’s health and wellbeing board chairman Cllr David Shields, said: “Supporting people with mental health issues is vital to the city’s wellbeing and we want more focus on early intervention, recovery and resilience. This will enable people to have control of their life despite experiencing a mental health problem, and ensure we’re not simply treating or managing their symptoms.”
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust and Solent NHS Trust are the three organisations commissioned by the CCG to provide mental health services and are closely involved in the consultation.
People can comment at surveymonkey.com/r/MentalHealthMattersPublicConsultation or southamptoncityccg.nhs.uk/mental-health-matters-consultation, with the consultation ending on May 2.
A spokesman for Southern Health said: “We welcome any opportunity to better understand the views of local people so we can continue to improve and develop our services to meet their needs.”