Summary of report content
Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees undertook research to better understand the needs and experiences of those who access mental health services in Stockton-on-Tees and who may be particularly vulnerable and at risk. They wanted to know what was working well and what could be improved in relation to accessing and using mental health services. They spoke to 9 people.
People were generally fairly positive about the service they received. Waiting times were kept to a minimum, with 6 out of 7 respondents starting therapy within two weeks of being referred.
A range of therapies were provided, including counselling and social prescribing. Medication was also prescribed in 4 out of 7 cases. All those who responded felt that the treatment they received was successful, or partly successful, in treating their illness. Given the nature of mental ill health some respondents felt that was always a chance of something re-occurring at any time.
Those who made suggestions about how the service provided could be improved highlighted such things as better signposting to services including support groups, ease of referral bearing in mind that not everyone is comfortable using the telephone and making therapy environments more conducive to patient needs. Several highlighted the need for raising awareness of mental health, not only amongst the general public but also among health professionals.
Three detailed case studies highlighted some of the obstacles that can get in the way of receiving good quality treatment at the right time.
The report contains 5 recommendations