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Residents share experiences of mental health services

Users of mental health services in West Sussex have been sharing their experiences to help the services’ commissioners shape their future plans.

Service users talked about the problems and challenges they faced at a meeting of West Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board.

The Board is keen to make sure people’s mental health is seen as being as important as their physical health.

The feedback will be used when the Board, which is made up of councillors, GPs, health and social care officials and representatives of patients and the public, discusses its commissioning plans early next year.

Chairman of the board Christine Field said: “It was really valuable for us to hear first-hand experiences of service users and their carers.

“It is essential the council, NHS and voluntary sector make a difference to people and understand the way other areas of our lives, such as housing, impact on mental health. We need to work together to make sure our future plans address any gaps in our support and ensure there is adequate support to help people and their carers live well and to cope in times of crisis. It is really important we make sure people’s mental health is seen as being as important as their physical health.”

The Board highlighted the importance of: 24/7 services

- Addressing perceived stigma around mental illnesses

- Improving information on how to access services

- Consistency and understanding around the mental health referral process

- Clearer, louder patient voices to inform service improvement

- Support for people who don’t have informal carers or who can’t afford to buy care

- Data and information sharing

Local organisations and charities working with people with mental health issues and their families took part in the meeting.

The Board also had presentations on dementia and agreed to sign up to the Carer’s Call to Action from Dementia Action Alliance.

The Board agreed the importance of:

- Consistent support for people with dementia and their carers across West Sussex

- Good residential care when needed

- Addressing loneliness and depression in older people

- Supporting people with dementia to live well in the community

- Helping to develop dementia friendly communities

- Improving urgent care support

The Health and Wellbeing Board’s role is to lead and advise on work to improve the health and wellbeing of the population of West Sussex through the development of improved and integrated health and social care services.

To find out more visit the Health and Wellbeing Board web pages on the West Sussex County Council website.

 

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