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Hertfordshire and West Essex STP receive funding to improve community mental health care

30 Sep 19 - 30 Sep 19

West Essex and Hertfordshire residents with moderate to severe mental health illnesses will benefit from a new £4.5 million fund to improve the specialist support available to them over the next two years.

The new funding for our area is part of a total £70m national fund for community mental health services, which has been allocated by NHS England to just 12 areas across the UK.

Making help available for people with mental illnesses in their local communities is vital, but can put a strain on GP practices, which are often the main source of support for people with mild or moderate mental health needs.  People who need more specialist support from dedicated mental health services can find it difficult to get the help they need, when they need it, and risk falling between the gap of GP support and specialist help. 

That’s why Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) which work with people living in their own homes have a vital role in delivering mental health services and bridging the gap between GP and specialist hospital care.

Dr Geraldine O’Sullivan, Consultant Psychiatrist and Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) Clinical Lead for Mental Health said:

“The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January this year, places a great emphasis on the need to transform community mental health services. We know that good mental health is just as important as our physical well-being and I am delighted that our proposal to develop local services in our area has been approved.  The strength of local partnerships has made this funding possible.

“We will use the funding to test new ways of caring, with service users, General Practice, local authorities, the voluntary sector, families and carers, and local communities working together. The new approaches we use will ultimately help set the standard for patients across the country who need access to better community mental health treatments.

Funding will focus on:

  • improving the ways in which adults with complex mental health difficulties, who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder, are treated
  • improving services for patients with eating disorders
  • testing new ways of supporting 18-25 year olds with mental health problems
  • trialling new ways of using the mental health workforce to better meet the needs of different communities

Improved mental health help will include improved access to psychological or ‘talking’ therapies for people with severe mental illnesses, improved physical health care, employment support, personalised and trauma-informed care, medicines management help and support for people who self-harm and also misuse substances.

This work will build on the existing good local work and previous investment reflecting our system’s commitment to parity of esteem.

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