The lived experience of self-help in mental health in Essex, Essex

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Summary of report content

A research study focused on service users’ experiences with low mood and/or stress: how they take care of their mental health and how primary care mental health services support them in that. ‘Self-care’ refers to the range of actions that people think of and take in order to take care of their own mental health and lives. 3 deliberation-orientated focus groups held in different locations in Essex during January 2017 with 12 participants with a diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression. Findings: views of self-care and the activities that constitute self-care in mental health are not static; they change and readjust depending on the evolving condition of the person and changes in functioning. Recommendations for GPs interacting with people experiencing anxiety and/or depression: • Do not just look for symptoms: explore your patient’s understanding of self-care. • Use your skills of empathy, active listening and a non-judgemental stance towards them. • Avoid making any assumptions. • Work with the patient and not on the patient; create partnerships and share decision-making. • Be familiar with the mental health care services offered in your locality; establish systems that will enable you to get updates about the range and availability of such services.

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General details

Report title 
The lived experience of self-help in mental health in Essex, Essex
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Essex
Date of publication 
Monday, 1 May, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 9 September, 2016
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 1 January, 2017
Type of report 
Key themes 
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Other information of note about this report 
Meaningful Activities
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
University of Essex
Primary research method used 
Focus group
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
Secondary care services 
Counselling/improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT)
Psychiatry/mental health (hospital services)
Accident & emergency
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Depression and anxiety service
Community services 
Community based services for people with mental health needs
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Mental health
Types of long term conditions 
Another long-term condition
Mental health condition

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
Not known
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? 
Not known

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.