Mental health how to help

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Summary of report content

As the independent champion for users of health and social care services in Surrey, Healthwatch Surrey provide evidence-based insight into the views of local people that use those services. In February and March 2018 their staff and volunteers enabled 70 people to share their views on a wide range of experiences of mental health services; including of mental health hospitals, of community-based services, as carers and as individuals from 19 to 65+ years of age. The findings informed the people providing mental health services are their best asset. If they fall short, or leave, the ‘system’ (however well-intentioned) cannot easily repair loss of trust and wellbeing. More problems stem from services being unavailable (or simply not known about) than being ineffective. Patients and carers often want to know the full scope of services and help available, rather than simply being told ‘this is what we’ll do’. When people with mental ill-health and their carers are involved in care plans they are substantially more satisfied with services. Around half of people accessing services in the last 18 months have not been involved in their care plan. The recommendations inform commissioners and service providers should review the way they assess the services they provide to ensure that they incorporate feedback reported directly by patients, on the issues that patients told us were important i.e. that they have: a. been involved in care planning b. been listened to c. been understood as an individual person d. had calls / messages / texts returned e. had consistency of advice f. had continuity of staff g. had swift access to care professionals (when needed) h. had swift access to staff with suitable expertise to offer effective specialist care. In addition, commissioners should consider undertaking research to better understand what good information looks like to different people and carers at different stages of emotional wellbeing. Commissioners should investigate the low level of people reporting involvement in care plans (around half) within this report and further explore the reasons why people do not feel involved.

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General details

Report title 
Mental health how to help
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Surrey
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 March, 2018
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 February, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 1 March, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Information providing
Quality of care
Quality of staffing
Quality of treatment
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 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Mental health recovery service
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
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? 
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.