We know access to mental health care and support isn’t always easy. Assessment criteria and processes can create barriers, and demand on services and waiting times can result in people having to wait too long without the help or support they need.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan and NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan, local communities are being encouraged to work together to deliver new, integrated community mental health care approaches. This includes health and social care, local authorities, emergency services, voluntary sector organisations and people with experience of mental illness.

Gloucestershire is transforming services for adults living with serious mental illness. We call this the Community Mental Health Transformation programme (CMHT). This will ultimately give people greater choice and control over their care and help them to live well in their communities. Importantly, the CMHT programme goes beyond the NHS and local authorities and involves a wide range of partners including the VCSE sector.

It is also heavily focussed on co-production with Experts by Experience – both people who have used services and their carers – involved throughout. The project is being led by Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of One Gloucestershire. More information about the CMHT programme is here.

Looking beyond traditional approaches

In Gloucestershire, we want to look beyond traditional approaches to mental health and improve the way in which people receive care and support in their local communities. We want to work together to make sure that people get the right care and support, first time, in a way that's right for them.

Our aspiration is to develop new community models built around local areas and Primary Care Networks (PCNs). PCNs are groups of GP surgeries in local areas who work with other organisations, including mental health services, social care, hospitals and pharmacies. One activity being introduced is a new Locality Community Partnership (LCP). You can find more about LCPs here.

This will bring together all those in the community who might be able to help someone with their care. The LCP will ensure people get the right service and support based on what the person wants and needs.

The role of the VSCE sector in Community Mental Health Transformation

This is where we need the VCSE sector working to improve the lives of people with mental illness and the way they're supported in their local communities.

The local knowledge, contacts and experience the VCSE sector can bring is invaluable in helping to support local people with serious mental illness. We also want to be able to make sure that locally based support is available straight away, even if someone is waiting for access to mental health services. Working together to make a difference.

The CMHT programme is already working closely with a number of organisations within the VCSE sector and we’d like to invite you to join us. The VCSE sector is an important partner within this programme to help improve the lives of local people and as a result funding will be available to help support VCSE organisations to work with us in changing the way we do things.

Supporting people’s wider needs

The wide range of programmes and activities offered by the VCSE sector provide a great opportunity to offer alternative and innovative approaches to how local people are supported. We know that people’s mental wellbeing is largely determined by a range of social, economic, and environmental factors such as housing, employment, finances and their social circumstances.

The local knowledge, contacts and experience the VCSE sector can bring is invaluable in helping to support local people with serious mental illness. We recognise not everyone may need a referral to NHS mental health services and those that do may also benefit from additional support, help and activities.

NEW Service User Assessment Model

DIALOG is a patient rated outcome and experience measure that consists of 11 questions. Patients rate their satisfaction with eight aspects of their life and three treatment aspects on a 7-point scale. More information about DIALOG training for the VCSE sector, as well as a link to the patient leaflet is below:

 This work is funded by:

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