Summary of report content
Between 2017 and 2019 Healthwatch Richmond focused on reaching out to adults who have experienced mental health crisis and engaged or have attempted to engage with the local mental health services through outreach to the community, a public event and focussed projects. In total, Healthwatch Richmond spoke to 586 patients and carers about their experiences, collecting 150 statements that were relevant to crisis care. The 438 patients who did not share an experience about crisis care had either not experienced crisis care or chose not to tell us about their experience. A total of 5 major mental health services in Richmond were reviewed.
Around a third of the 150 comments about support in crisis related to difficulty accessing care when people needed it. People spoke about reaching out to services when they began to deteriorate, but of not receiving the help that they needed. People felt that the threshold for accessing care when approaching a crisis was too high. The problems associated with accessing care were especially significant for those who were waiting for treatment or had fallen through a gap between services. Finally, it is notable that a significant number of people spoke about avoiding presenting to services as they approached a crisis because of stigma or because of their concerns over the impact of being labelled as having a mental health condition. A number of people aligned this concern about stigma with their ethnicity and one group of BME mothers told us that they avoided engaging with mental health services for fear that their children would be taken away. This suggests that there may be a disproportionate barrier to BME women accessing mental health care.
This report contains a service provider response.