Your views about mental health services in County Durham

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Summary of report content

In 2017, people in County Durham highlighted the importance of Mental Health Support to Healthwatch County Durham, motivating them to focus their 2018 work in this area. This involved finding out how referrals were being made, the therapies being accessed, if there were any significant waiting times for services, if patients understood the support they were being offered, and if aspects of life was affected by poor mental health. They also looked into staff views of work related stress, workplace health initiatives, support in the workplace and relaxation outside of work. Healthwatch County Durham started by speaking to mental health staff and practitioners from both the NHS and the private sector to gain an insight into how they felt current practices and protocols were working. They used surveys, one to one case studies, and information stands at various venues in the county to collect information, and engaged with over 300 mental health service users and staff. They also captured respondents' age with their survey, which helps us to draw a greater understanding of how age influences experiences. They found the main concerns around service access was how long it took people to seek help, how long it then takes to start therapy and the time it takes for mental health to improve once therapies have started. Many people had said they had reached 'breaking point' before admitting they needed help. Over half of the people who spoke to Healthwatch County Durham said they had experienced poor mental health for over 12 months. They also said they had difficulties in finding information on local mental health services. 81% of the staff surveys were completed by NHS staff. Almost half of respondents said they did not feel their mental health was adequately supported in their workplace. People said reducing caseloads, allowing flexible working, and listening to staff concerns could help to improve mental health support in the workplace. Healthwatch County Durham made recommendations in the following areas: processes and staffing; patients, therapies and appointments; raising awareness of mental health.

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General details

Report title 
Your views about mental health services in County Durham
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch County Durham
Date of publication 
Monday, 1 April, 2019
Type of report 
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Community services 
Community based services for people with mental health needs

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
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 
All care professionals
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? 

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.