Southdown Mental Health Support Coordinators celebrate launch of UOK East Sussex on Hastings seafront.

Southdown Launch Five-Year UOK East Sussex Partnership

Posted on 2 April 2024

This week, we’re delighted to launch a pioneering five-year partnership with East Sussex County Council aimed at creating a future where individuals seeking mental health support experience a seamless and compassionate pathway to care, regardless of where they enter the system.

In addition to providing a network of mental health services (provided under the name of UOK East Sussex), the partnership will deliver a phased plan to improve access to integrated support, collaborating closely with people with lived experience, the NHS, and local not-for-profit and charity organisations. Maintaining consistency of support will be a key focus too.

Currently, Southdown deliver most of the services commissioned under this partnership, including wellbeing centres, peer support, mental health support coordinators, social prescribing, and employment support.

The contract also includes a drop-in centre provided by Seaview and service user engagement activity provided by Possability People. Over the next five years, Southdown will sub-contract to work with an increasing number of other local not-for-profit and charity organisations.

Neil Blanchard, our Chief Executive, says, “We’re excited to launch this partnership with East Sussex County Council, which directly reinforces a core principle of the wider Sussex Mental Health Transformation Agenda – ‘no wrong door’. By working collaboratively and breaking down barriers to support, there is real opportunity to establish a community where mental health support is readily available, accessible, and responsive to the needs of all.”

Neil adds, “There’s unprecedented need for mental health right now due to the combined effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. The pandemic has caused widespread disruption, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression for many individuals. Additionally, the cost-of-living crisis has put significant financial strain on people, exacerbating existing mental health challenges and creating new ones.

“Across Sussex, there exists a genuine commitment and drive across the mental health sector to work together, building upon what’s working well, to be there for more people. An example service that is working well to provide joined-up support is the Emotional Wellbeing Service, provided in partnership by Southdown, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and local Primary Care Networks. Integrated within GP surgeries, patients can access the service via their GP or other surgery practitioner to receive information, advice, guidance, and support. Over the coming years, we’ll be looking at how we can build on services like the Emotional Wellbeing Service to offer truly integrated community mental health support.”

To keep up to date with developments of the UOK East Sussex network of mental health services, sign up to Southdown’s online newsletterFor information on mental health support and resources across East Sussex visit the services section of our website and take a look at the East Sussex Mental Health Directory of Community Support.

Image: Southdown’s East Sussex Mental Health Support Coordinator Team, who work as part of the Emotional Wellbeing Service, celebrate the launch of UOK East Sussex.