Working in partnership to support the Sussex Community Mental Health Transformation Plan
Posted on 23 August 2022
New Emotional Wellbeing Services established across Sussex
Over the past year, Southdown has worked in partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Primary Care Networks (clusters of GPs) across Sussex to shape and deliver new Emotional Wellbeing Services.
The new services, embedded in Greater Wealden, Lewes Foundry and Hove Primary Care Networks, provide integrated health and social care support to help improve the emotional wellbeing of people with serious mental illness.
Referrals are made by GPs and other surgery staff for patients who need non-clinical advice on a range of social barriers and issues they are facing. Patients are then able to work with Southdown Mental Health Support Coordinators on issues including domestic violence, anxiety, self-harm, substance misuse, housing issues, debt and poverty.
Our Coordinators, alongside a Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health practitioner, work in a collaborative, safe and progressive way to find solutions, signposting and referral pathways to best support patients. Support provided focuses on both non-medicalised care and self-care as well as traditional therapeutic interventions.
Southdown took the initial lead on these developments in Brighton and Hove and East Sussex, with the first teams in place in Hove in October 2021, and in Lewes and Greater Wealden in early 2022. In the future, alongside the Mental Health Support Coordinator roles, we are exploring the development of other complementary support functions to be delivered by VCSE (Voluntary, Community & Social Enterprise) organisations including housing support, employment support, physical health checks, financial inclusion and Peer Specialists.
Neil Blanchard, our Chief Executive, says, “This is an exciting and important moment for Southdown to be playing a leading role in the design and delivery of community mental health services. Current NHS models have not undergone a significant change for over 30 years and we regularly hear from people that there is a need for greater communication and coordination between services within the local system. We believe that by working collaboratively with all parties and thinking different and boldly, we have a fantastic opportunity to make an enormous difference.”
Matt Christodoulou, Team Manager in our Social Prescribing & Health Integration team, added, “Our Mental Health Support Coordinators have shown brilliant adaptability and flexibility as the service model has developed, and their positive relationships with GPs at the surgeries are growing by the day. Feedback from patients and GPs alike has been hugely positive. ”
Clients of the services said:
“Every session I have had has made me feel so much better, and she has helped turn negatives into positives.”
“It allowed me as a single Mum to have some time to myself and a space to talk and look through the things I needed support with in my life”
Mental Health Transformation Across Sussex
It’s a really exciting time for mental health with lots of discussions around how all parties across health and social care can better support the mental wellbeing of local people. Locally, the Sussex Health and Care Partnership has established an Integrated Care System, as part of the NHS Long-Term Plan, which brings together 21 organisations to work together to meet the changing needs of all the people who live in our area. Mental health is one of the priorities of this Integrated Care System and is being led by a Mental Health Collaborative involving a wide range of partners.
How is Southdown involved?
Our Chief Executive is a member of the Sussex Health and Care Partnership’s Mental Health Collaborative Board, acting as one of three VCSE representatives. In addition, Southdown is actively engaged in a range of Task and Finish and Governance meetings across the Transformation programme, both at Sussex (System) and County Council (Place) levels. In addition, we have dedicated resources to support representation and co-ordination of the VCSE sector to contribute to projects and activities and undertake development work to maximise VCSE and client involvement in the design and delivery of services.
As a service provider, as well as helping shape and deliver the new Emotional Wellbeing Services described above, we have launched a new service in GP surgeries to support patients with mental health issues access an annual physical health check.
For more information about the VCSE Mental Health Transformation Team and their activities email Andrea Potter at firstname.lastname@example.org.