In September 2021, Healthwatch Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon, and Wiltshire were asked by BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG) to facilitate three online workshops, one in each locality, to hear the views of organisations across the area who support people with their mental health.
The national Community Mental Health Services Framework (CSF), published in 2019, outlines changes to adult community mental health services. It looks at how support for people in the future can be delivered more locally, so that they can get the support that they need to live well.
The framework aims to break down barriers to accessing mental health and wellbeing services so that people can get the right support, care, and treatment when they need it and from wherever they seek it. This could be from their GP, community services, self-referral to services or through digital or other routes.
What we did
We heard the views of 22 organisations at our online workshops, with the discussions focusing on three main themes:
• What have you heard from the people you support?
• How can this be improved and what do we want to keep?
• How are we going to achieve this?
What organisations told us
- Attendees felt that GPs aren’t always best placed to deal with someone's mental health issue, there is a lack of coordination between services and some staff don't have the right skills to support people.
- There was a strong feeling that people are waiting too long for support.
- Education and mental health support in schools was seen as key.
- Individuals and care givers should have more involvement and control over their own care, including being involved in the design of services.
- Suggestions on how this could be achieved included mental health services working together more with other health services, treating a person as a whole, and more support for children and young people in schools and from an early age to identify and address signs.
The feedback shared in this report supports earlier engagement undertaken by BSW CCG to hear people’s views and experiences of community mental health support and this will be collated to help shape and develop the new service.