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by | Sunday, October 10th, 2021 | News

On World Mental Health Day 2021, Sara Mitchell, Associate Director and Strategic Mental Health Lead at Livewell Southwest, reflects on some of the work we have done to improve and enhance our mental health offer and introduce the Community Mental Health Framework. 

At Livewell Southwest, we’re proud to be the award-winning provider of mental health services for children and adults in Plymouth.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve done lots of work to better integrate our services with those of our partners such as the police, our GPs and University Hospitals Plymouth, and particularly our third and voluntary sector including Heads Count and the Sunflower Women’s Centre, who do some amazing work to help those in our communities.

Our work has ranged from launching our dedicated 24/7 First Response Helpline to support those experiencing a mental health crisis, investing in maternal mental health through the launch of our perinatal peer support service and being selected along with Devon Partnership as one of the implementer sites for a Maternal Mental Health Hub.

Our children’s services too have invested into supporting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing, as we know how unbelievably tough the pandemic has been on them. We have dedicated Mental Health Support Teams being rolled out across our schools and a dedicated 24/7 helpline for young people or their parents/carers and professionals to access to seek advice or request support.

The last 18 months, more than ever, have highlighted the importance of looking after our mental health and wellbeing and ensuring we have services in place to prevent and look after people before they reach a crisis point.

But we know that there is much more that we can be doing to support people earlier, and that sometimes, people are unfortunately having long waits for that support and end up reaching crisis point.

Today is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme – Mental Health in an Unequal World is a fitting theme to what we know as a system and what we hear from our communities.

That’s why I’m pleased to be able to share news around our next project, a once in a generation opportunity to change how we deliver mental health support across Devon, tackling these issues and delivering more joined up care to better meet the needs of our communities.

The Community Mental Health Framework (CMHF) is a national improvement programme which we in Devon have successfully won funding for that will help us further improve care for everyone.

This means that anyone who receives care and support from Devon Partnership NHS Trust, the other mental health provider in Devon, will see the benefits of these changes.

Together, we can create equitable mental health services for the whole county but, importantly better considering the needs of each of our different communities. And we’ll do this by talking and working more closely with our GPs and Primary Care Networks, something we’ve been doing for a couple of years now at Livewell, and other agencies such as housing and our voluntary and third sectors, forging even stronger links in the community.

But most importantly, we’ll be working even closer with you. You, and every person who may need us, is at the heart of the framework.

Listening to what people need is integral to these services and changes. Care will be tailored to the person and their needs. Everyone must feel empowered and have the tools to look after their mental health as best they can.

By working closely with people who access our services, by listening and learning from their experiences, their loved ones and carers we can find solutions, truly co-produce services that are easily navigable in what is at present a confusing system.

Our proposals and aims include introducing peer navigators who act as advocates to support people at every stage so they can get the right help, at the right time. We are breaking down barriers so that everyone has the same access and support and care is equal for all.

This work sadly can’t all happen overnight, and based on what we know about people in Devon we have picked three key areas to focus on and roll out over the next two years:

– eating disorder support
– personality disorder support
– mental health rehabilitation

We’re excited by the prospect of the positive change the CMHF will bring. We’re already in the very early stages of gathering views, feedback and input from some of those who already access our services. There will be plenty of opportunities for people to get involved and have their say and we hope to share more with you very soon.

In the meantime, if you do need support, please reach out to us:

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