Mental Health programme

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From Jonathan O'Brien, Programme Director

The past six months have been very busy for the Together We’re Better mental health programme and here is our update of recent activities

We have recently refreshed our Programme Board membership and governance, so that it reflects the priorities outlined in the national NHS Long Term Plan and Mental Health Implementation Plan. This refresh was important to ensure that we have the right people in place, drawn from organisations across the partnership, in order to deliver improvements in services over the next five years.

I am pleased to say the Programme Board now has representation from the range of Together We’re Better partners and, in particular, the two mental health trusts are working closer than ever to ensure consistent development of services. The new governance arrangements have been in place since January 2020.

Our Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services are the cornerstone of community mental health services, providing rapid access to psychological therapies for common mental illness. These services have been tendered recently by the six Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs and I’m delighted that our two NHS mental health providers, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, have been successful in securing the contract to run these services. This is incredibly important as the expansion of these services over the coming years will ensure that a strong foundation exists for mental health services consistently across the whole Together We’re Better footprint.

In October 2019, we held our second Suicide Prevention Conference which was another successful event that highlighted the latest research, initiatives and successes in our quest to achieve zero suicide in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The third conference will be hosted by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at Staffordshire County Showground on Thursday 1 October 2020. Please hold the dates in your diary!

Also, on the topic of suicide prevention and hot off the press, I am delighted to announce that the suicide prevention workstream of the programme has been successful in securing follow-up national funding of £300,000 (for 2020-21) to continue its fantastic work. Planning is already underway as to how this can best be deployed to raise awareness, invest in training and, essentially, make the biggest difference possible in preventing suicide in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Finally, there are some exciting new and expanding services, which we will be working to deliver across the partnership, as part of the response to the NHS Long Term Plan. Amongst others, throughout 2020/21, we will be progressing developments for:

  • Mental Health Liaison in the south
  • Early Intervention, Eating Disorder services
  • Children and Young people’s Intensive Outreach/Home Treatment

We have an exciting year ahead for mental health development and it is important we make every pound of the additional investment available to us count. With the team now supporting the mental health programme, I am positive we can make this happen.