Strategy aim to help improve mental health

A new strategy has been launched to help improve the mental health of people in the county.

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), as the health body responsible for the planning and choosing or the majority of healthcare and health services, has published plans to tackle mental health inequality for children, young people and adults.

Called ‘Mental Health Model of Care – Vision for the future’, it has been developed after discussions with patients, clinical staff working in mental health and partners at Northumberland County Council.

Dr Alistair Blair, chief clinical officer and Lynemouth GP, said: “We are close to our patients and therefore are very well placed to know what local changes to services could be made to improve the responsiveness of local health services.

“This way we can help people recover from mental ill-health sooner – and help them get the most out of their lives.”

Service users will access the pathway to the most appropriate services to meet their needs, first time, every time, and services will be delivered in the community as close to home as possible, whenever possible.

Dr Eileen Higgins, locality director for Central Northumberland, director for mental health and learning disabilities and Guidepost GP said that promoting good mental health is as important as improving physical health.

She said: “Mental ill-health can cause severe and prolonged distress for those who experience it, and it also affects their family members, loved ones and friends, and their ability to contribute positively to society.

“Unfortunately, mental health illnesses and services are often less easily seen and understood than the treatment and prevention of physical illnesses.

“We are passionate about delivering the best patient care and together view whole system integration in Northumberland as our method of delivering this.”