Posted by Amanda Crawford at 03/10/2019 16:45:50
East Kent’s clinical commissioning groups are investing in improving mental health services across east Kent.
The investment will support ten initiatives:
- increased support to GP surgeries to improve mental health expertise at the local level so that people are referred to the appropriate service as quickly as possible. This service will be provided by Invicta health https://invictahealth.co.uk/who-we-are/ a not for profit community interest company owned and managed by local GPs. It is planned that the new service will be available by January 2020.
- help for people with severe mental illness whose life expectancy is 15–20 years lower than the general population. This is partly due to physical health needs often being overlooked. So starting in January 2020 we will make sure more people with a diagnosed severe mental illness have physical health check-ups in east Kent. This is part of a wider NHS programme. https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/resources/smi/
- safe havens where anyone can go if they feel they need help managing a mental health crisis. Some of the key features of a safe haven include:
- open every evening and weekends, 365 days per year (including public holidays)
- open door policy – there for anyone that needs it
- an assessment of need for everyone attending
- active liaison with organisations that can provide help if required.
A ‘safe haven’ in Folkestone is due to open in January 2020. There will also be a safe haven in Thanet. We are currently working out where a third one will best meet needs of people experiencing a mental health crisis. All three will be open by end of March 2020.
- peer support crisis groups in Thanet and Dover to supplement the group provided by Take Off https://takeoff.works/ in Canterbury. A key feature of these groups is that they are run by ‘peer facilitators’ - people with personal experience of mental health crisis. They have a proven record of helping people avoid a mental health crisis as they have a good understanding of what they are going through as they have been there themselves. It is planned to have the two extra groups up and running during 2019.
- crisis cafés are places people can go and get support to help reduce the risk of mental health crisis. A wellbeing café in Ashford https://www.maidstonemind.org/ashford-wellbeing-cafe/ is currently run by Mid Kent MIND so discussions are being held about improving what they can offer in east Kent. Discussions are at an early stage but funding is available for the café in Ramsgate to open in 2020.
- 24/7 liaison psychiatry support. The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital in Margate already has full specialist mental health support around the clock, seven days a week and funding has been received to extend the service currently available at the William Harvey hospital so it is also available 24/7. The current service https://www.kmpt.nhs.uk/our-services/liaison-psychiatry/ also provides ‘outreach’ support to Kent and Canterbury Hospital. It is anticipated that this extra support will be in place in Ashford in Spring 2020.
- a high intensity user initiative to help the top 50 attenders at emergency departments in east Kent. By addressing their needs, their attendance at emergency departments will reduce as they get the help they need elsewhere. The British Red Cross, which has successfully run initiatives like this elsewhere in the country, aims to have this service up and running by November 2019. Although this is not a mental health specific service it is likely that the majority of the 50 people will have mental health related issues.
- expansion of support for students with mental health issues. Funding will increase the hours of operation of the mental health support available to students at the University of Kent. https://www.kent.ac.uk/studentsupport/wellbeing/ It will also now be able to provide support to students at Christ Church University. This expanded service will be fully in place by the end of 2019.
- improved access to psychological services with additional funding in east Kent more people will be able to overcome their depression and anxiety and better manage their mental health through talking to a fully trained NHS funded therapist.
- investment to enhance community mental health support. In addition to all of the developments detailed above, we are working closely with colleagues in the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust to consider what increased investment could achieve. Specifically we are looking to reduce waiting times for referrals as well as reduce the number of people who find themselves in mental health crisis.
Dr Jihad Malasi announced this programme at a Thanet Mental Health Summit. Dr Malasi is a Thanet GP and Chair of Thanet CCG and east Kent lead for mental health together with Dr Simon Lundy a Faversham based GP who sits on the Governing Body of the Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dr Malasi said: “Through our work as local GPs, Dr Lundy and I know how much pressure there is on mental health services in east Kent. The effect that this can have on the mental and physical health of some of our patients is only too obvious. That is why we have worked really hard with colleagues across the NHS to secure this increased investment in mental health services for people in east Kent.
We have listened to what people said about what is needed locally and then worked with our teams to develop this programme of investment with a wide range of NHS partners and local voluntary and community groups who currently provide services. I am sure these ten initiatives will be welcomed especially as most of them will be in place during the next four months.”