New report identifies concerns for Warwickshire’s mental health services

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Increasing concerns have been highlighted about Warwickshire’s mental health service provisions in a new Healthwatch report.

Healthwatch Warwickshire’s report, which was released on Monday as part of World Mental Health Day, aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to encourage people to create ideas, experiences and resources to make sure mental health care is accessible to those who need it.

As part of the Healthwatch team’s investigation they interviewed 14 people in the county with mental health issues.

The findings showed that out of the 14 people, only five said they had a care plan and two people said they were not accessing any health or social care service at all.

One interviewee also admitted to wandering into the offices of Springfield MIND for help after becoming so desperate for support.

Healthwatch has been approached by carers and patients with concerns over delays in getting help, an ‘unresponsive’ service for carers, and service users feeling isolated and alone after being discharged from a service.

The group’s report also highlighted feelings of a general lack of understanding among patients about treatment plans, and feelings of being ‘dumped and at sea’ at the end of treatment.

It was also identified that there was a tendency to treat carers as an obstacle rather than a partner in the treatment process.

Len Mackin, intelligence and insight lead at Healthwatch Warwickshire, said: “Mental health has been one of our top priority areas this year.

“The findings in this report are hard hitting and one thing that became apparent throughout our investigations was there is a really big difference between those receiving mental health treatment on the NHS and those receiving the treatment privately.

“There were a number of concerns raised on the various stages throughout the process so the report contains a number of recommendations on how to improve the service at every stage – from diagnosis, to counselling or other holistic therapies, treatment plans and discharge and follow up.

“Our recommendations also look at improvements in service co-ordination between health services and GPs, and the involvement of carers.”

Healthwatch Warwickshire will be continuing their investigations into mental health service provisions in November, where they will be visiting St Michael’s Hospital in Warwick.

The group will be conducting an extensive ‘enter and view’ exercise, which will look at the services through the eyes of the patients.

The team will also talk to the staff, service users and carers to gather their views and experiences, and to recommend improvements in the service.