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Five ways local Healthwatch have helped change mental health services


Access to and the quality of mental health services has been raised as a priority by more than half of local Healthwatch, making it the number one issue for 2016.

With the recent Mental Health Taskforce report aiming to improve mental health services, it is vital that the views of local people are heard and included from the beginning. Our mental health briefing gives an insight into the current challenges people face when accessing the support they need. Here are just five examples of how local Healthwatch are already helping to make positive changes to mental health services. 

 1. Mental health support for all

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust committed to carry out more culturally sensitive mental health training after @HWSuffolk showcased the experiences of black and ethnic minority people through their #inspiringprogress report.

2. Body image
@HW_Sutton spoke to young people and found that body image was their greatest area of concern. Their thought provoking film, which showcases young people speaking about the pressures of body image has already been shared with commissioners, @mentalhealth@Place2Be and @YouthAccess.

3. Eating disorders

@HwatchDorset teamed up with @bournemouthuni and @DorsetHealth to release a powerful and informative video to reduce stigma around eating disorders. The video already has over 3,000 views on YouTube and has been welcomed by health professionals.

4. Children's and young people's mental health and wellbeing

With the help of @HWEssex’s #YEAH! Project, Clinical Commissioning Groups and councils in Essex, Southend and Thurrock launched a £3.3 million plan to improve mental health for children and young people. TheYeah! Project gave young people across Essex a chance to share their health and care experiences.

5. Mental health crisis support

@HWKirklees listened to people who were detained by police using Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Their work has led to huge changes, including better training for front line police officers and the introduction of mental health nurses in the local police control room, under a six month pilot scheme. Feedback has been positive and there has already been a reduction in the number of people being detained.

 Our mental health briefing shows how important it is that people are asked about their experiences and that their feedback is used to inform improvements to mental health services. We strongly encourage health and care commissioners and providers to speak to their local Healthwatch to find out what people think about services and how they can be improved.

Read more in our mental health briefing

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