Experiences of mental health services in Newcastle and Gateshead

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Newcastle and Healthwatch Gateshead, in partnership with other local organisations, carried out research to explore people’s views and experiences of mental health services. This work included mini-projects which focused on the views and experiences of groups or communities who had not been involved, or had only had limited involvement, in recent reviews of local mental health services. These groups were: LGBT people; veterans; the African/Caribbean community; students in higher educations; people who are homeless or living in insecure accommodation; and people in receipt of Universal Credit. A wide variety of methods were used to gather information, including: one-to-one interviews, focus groups, creative data capture, and online surveys.


Based on the issues reported by the people who shared their experiences, general recommendations were made to encourage providers and commissioners of local mental health services to work with the local community, particularly the groups who took part in this research, to: provide accessible and inclusive information about mental wellbeing and the mental health services available; ensure staff are trained to guarantee people are treated appropriately, with respect and understanding; investigate ways to reduce waiting times and/or reduce the negative impact of long waiting times on service users; and develop a service so that people have someone to talk to informally while waiting to access treatment, while treatment is ongoing, after treatment, or as an alternative to more formal treatment.


The report also makes focused recommendations for some of the specific groups and communities included in this research. These include ensuring providers and commissioners work with: people who are homeless or living in insecure accommodation and their colleagues in drug and alcohol services, to ensure that services are inclusive for people with histories of trauma and coexisting mental health and substance use issues; the African/Caribbean community to ensure steps are taken to support this community to recognise the triggers and early signs of mental health issues, and break down the stigma attached to mental ill-health; the LGBT community to ensure that people can always choose whether they see a male or female professional and can access specialist services where needed; and with veterans to include a mandatory question about previous military service at the assessment stage of any treatment, to allow civilian health and social care organisations to better understand the issues veterans face.

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General details

Report title 
Experiences of mental health services in Newcastle and Gateshead
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Gateshead
Healthwatch Newcastle Upon Tyne
Date of publication 
Monday, 1 April, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Information providing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Other information of note about this report 
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)
Social care services 
Drug & alcohol services
Community services 
Community based services for people who misuse substances
Community based services for people with mental health needs

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not known
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
Other population characteristics 
Homeless people
People who misuse drugs
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Does the information include other people'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? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to 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.