Getting early support that helps prevent mental health issues getting worse and having a sense of purpose in life were the key takeaways from a series of online focus groups hosted by Healthwatch Wiltshire, Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living (Wiltshire CIL) and Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC) in June 2021.
The joint work follows the publication of the national Community Mental Health Services Framework, which looks at how support for people in the future can be delivered more locally, to help them live well.
Our online sessions, which listened to the views of 32 people from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire, asked:
- What does a good life look like for you?
- What do you need to live a healthy life in your community?
- What does good community mental health support look like for you?
What did people say?
- People told us they want to live their lives but be able to tap into support for their mental health as and when it’s needed.
- They want to get support early on, and not be left to reach crisis point.
- They prefer help from peer-led support groups rather than interventions from professionals.
- They want support to be available locally, and not just 9-5.
- They want to be listened to and feel valued in their community.
Stacey Sims, Healthwatch Wiltshire Manager, said:
“The focus groups have shown how people don’t want to be defined by their mental health and have made it clear that early support will help them to lead the lives they want to. Thanks to everyone who took part for sharing their thoughts and ideas.”
Kate Tutssel, User Engagement Team Leader at Wiltshire CIL, said:
“It has been very important to listen to and gather people’s views on the future of mental health services. The findings from the workshops highlight the importance of co-production and involving those with lived experience so that they can contribute and influence how services are shaped and delivered."
Our report, The Future of Mental Health Support, has now been shared with Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG), which plans and commissions mental health services for the region.
Emily Shepherd, Senior Commissioning Manager for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Autism at BSW CCG, said:
“Thank you to Healthwatch Wiltshire, Wiltshire Parent Carer Council and Wiltshire CIL for hosting these valuable sessions, and to those who took part for sharing their ideas. We’ll be using all the feedback we’ve received to help shape and develop local mental health support services.”