Accessing mental health support in Cornwall

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Summary of report content

In February 2021, Healthwatch Cornwall ran a 3 week online campaign to raise awareness and engage the public in conversations about how people have been supporting their own mental health, and their experiences of mental health services.

They held a Facebook Live discussion in February 2021 linked in with the national Time to Talk Day.

The discussion involved a Q&A session with two mental health providers in Cornwall: Outlook South West and Sea Sanctuary. There were over 1,400 views and 150 comments during the live event. Examples of topics raised within comments included:

  • A lack of provision for people who have experienced trauma;
  • Outreach support for adults with Learning Disabilities;
  • Access to mental health services for deaf / British Sign Language (BSL) users;
  • Not all needs fitting within Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) or Outlook South West pathways;
  • Lack of awareness about mental health services available.

Alongside the campaign in February, Healthwatch Cornwall ran a survey asking people about the mental health support they have accessed in the past six months. 397 people took part in this survey.

  • One in two people accessed support for their mental health in the last six months from a range of sources, including online information and advice, family and friends and NHS mental health services.
  • Over 65s were less likely to ask for support and access mental health services. Young adults were at increased risk for anxiety and depression and more likely to access mental health services.
  • Three quarters of people identified with ‘probable’ depression or anxiety had accessed some form of support.
  • GPs play an important role in both providing mental health support and treatment, and as a gateway for referral to other services. There were mixed experiences of GPs, with some people feeling they got the support they needed, whereas for others the GP was a barrier to accessing further support.

Healthwatch Cornwall made nine recommendations in this report.

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General details

Report title 
Accessing mental health support in Cornwall
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Cornwall
Date of publication 
Thursday, 22 July, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 30 June, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Cost of services
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of appointment
Quality of staffing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Outlook South West and Sea Sanctuary
Primary research method used 
Engagement event

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Depression and anxiety service
Older peoples mental health community service
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
16-17 years
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
Non binary
Prefer not to say
Does the information include public's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.