Leading mental health organisations team up to form the Devon Mental Health Alliance, set sights on new community mental health services
Mental health charities from across Devon have today unveiled the Devon Mental Health Alliance (DMHA), a partnership which aims to improve access to mental health services and identify new opportunities to support people across all of Devon’s communities.
Focused on delivering community services as part of the NHS Community Mental Health Framework improvement programme, the Alliance will be led by six organisations dedicated to supporting people experiencing mental health challenges. They will work collaboratively with partners from the statutory, voluntary, and community sectors to make services across Devon more accessible, more effective, and better suited to the needs of their users.
The DMHA includes six member charities: CoLab Exeter, Devon Mind, Improving Lives Plymouth, Rethink Mental Illness, Shekinah, and Step One Charity. The collective is working closely with the Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Livewell Southwest as lead statutory partners, and will link with other organisations across the county to create stronger pathways and brand-new services dedicated to supporting people with mental health problems.
Speaking on the launch, Chair of the Alliance Rob Smith commented: “We’re so excited to be launching the Devon Mental Health Alliance after 12 months of work with VCSE and NHS partners. There are so many great mental health services across Devon, but with the strength of our six organisations – and numerous other partners we hope will join us in the future – we know that we can make a real positive change in how thousands of people across the county access and benefit from support.”
Melanie Walker, Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Devon-wide SRO for the Community Mental Health Framework, added: “We are delighted to be formally working in partnership with the Alliance as part of our exciting plans to deliver the Community Mental Health Framework. The organisations involved in the partnership have a wealth of expertise between them and their offer will play a crucial role in our ambitions to transform community mental health services to benefit people with serious mental health problems across Devon.”
As part of the DMHA’s work, several dedicated roles will be created to develop and deliver services across four coordinated areas of Devon, the fourth-largest county in England. Each area will have a Locality Manager to help coordinate services, as well as multiple Recovery Practitioners to deliver therapeutic intervention, courses, workshops, and more. Recruitment has already begun for these roles and will continue over the next year.
Amanda Kilroy, Chief Executive of CoLab Exeter, explained about the setup of DMHA services: “It is crucial that we listen to the individual needs of each and every area in Devon, then respond to those needs with bespoke services. By implementing dedicated staff in each of these local ‘footprints’ and working with existing organisations, we can ensure that all our services are hyper-localised and truly reflective of the people who need to use them. We’re really looking forward to working with local partners to make this a reality.”