1st Dec, 2020

Local teams to lead a new approach to community mental health care

Rob George 3rd Oct, 2020

LOCAL Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams have launched in Herefordshire and Worcestershire this week as part of a national pilot to improve community mental health care.

The teams are made up of specialist mental health practitioners, local GPs and representatives from the voluntary and community sector and they will be adopting a new approach to supporting people with complex mental health difficulties outside of a hospital or mental health unit.

The teams have been set up as part of a national pilot and cover all of Herefordshire and Malvern, Wyre Forest and ‘the rurals’ area of Worcestershire – Martley, Knightwick, Great Witley and Tenbury. Alongside the other pilot areas, the learning will be used to help transform mental health services across the country over the coming years.

They will address some long standing frustrations which some people have experienced when trying to get mental health support in the community.

Key benefits of the new approach:

·         people will be able to get support from different teams and services quickly and easily without the need for ongoing referrals and assessments;

·         if their treatment ends but they need support weeks or months after they can re-enter services quickly without starting all over again from the back of the queue;

·         there will be mental health practitioners linked to local GP practices which are within scope of the pilot

·         and an appointment with the appropriate team and a bespoke plan of care will be in place for each patient within a maximum of 4 weeks

Staff from voluntary and community groups who can support people with other lifestyle issues which may be contributing to their ‘mental wellbeing’ will be core to the new Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams. Onside Advocacy, Herefordshire Mind, Community First, Springfield Mind and the Worcestershire Association of Carers will be fully embedded members of the core teams alongside GPs and specialist mental health practitioners.

The new teams are run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, which is responsible for mental health services across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Matt Lammas, The Trust’s Lead for Community Lead for Adult Mental Health, said: “We are really exciting to be one of the areas chosen to pilot quite a different way of providing mental health support which will make things easier and much more seamless for people. Although we receive lots of positive feedback, there is also a perception that mental health services can be hard to navigate and difficult to access – this new approach will remove the barriers which can exist and ensure services are designed around a person’s mental health needs rather than patients having to meet certain criteria or thresholds.

“It is also a great example of bringing together mental health practitioners, GPs and voluntary and community organisations so we can provide an all-round service helping people with their complex emotional needs as well as the lifestyle issues which may be having a negative impact too. It is great that here in Herefordshire and Worcestershire we will be shaping how mental health support is provided across the country over the coming few years.”

Jo Min, Deputy Chief Executive of Springfield Mind, said: “We are extremely excited to be working in partnership with Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust to launch this new innovative approach to Community Mental Health services. Bringing together the skills and knowledge from both the voluntary sector and statutory services will offer greater choice, accessibility and focussed support, putting the individual at the centre of their own recovery.”

The Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams across Herefordshire and parts of Worcestershire represent one of 12 national pilots testing a new approach to community mental health care. In total £70m is being invested in the national pilot areas with the learning used to roll out the new approach across the country

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