On Friday September 5th myself, Basildon’s parliamentary candidate Mike-Le-Surf and Kevan Jones MP hosted a mental health summit to discuss the challenges faced in our locality. Both the yellow advertiser and Your Thurrock covered the event that was held at The Edge club in Basildon.
It was amazing to see such a variety of people attended and inspiring to hear their comments. The group condensed their comments into five key areas to look at and explore in more detail:
Collaboration not competition: Attendees came to the meeting because they were passionate about mental health and helping people with mental health conditions. People felt due to the nature of the system in South Essex that competition was rewarded instead of collaboration, attendees felt that this had a negative impact on organisations that work to help people with mental health conditions and the community as a whole.
Mental Health & Wellbeing in Schools: Across the country more young people are presenting to Child & Adolescent Mental Health services, they are also presenting at more of an acute stage of their illness. The group felt that a key way to combat this was to be able to have mental wellbeing education in schools and agreed a more unified approach across South Essex was needed to look at providing young people access to mental wellbeing education.
Too many changes at once: Within South Essex there are two unitary local authorities, one county authority, four district authorities, four clinical commissioning groups, two acute hospitals and two foundation trusts. Each have been making changes to the way they deliver and structure their services. This has led to confusion in the community and a lack of understanding as to who does what.
Communication: Within the community of people who receive and deliver mental health and mental wellbeing services in South Essex there is a feeling that it is challenging to find out “who is doing what”, particularly for patients. There is no central point of contact or network of organisations in South Essex that professionals and patients can access.
Patient & Carer involvement: People in attendance at the meeting felt there was a lack of meaningful involvement for patients and carers that wish to offer their services to improve service delivery. There is also lack of opportunity for patients and carers to deliver their own services and work with providers on innovative projects.