Public meetings on Staffs plan for new approach to mental health

Residents in Stone will have the opportunity to discuss plans for a new approach to mental health at a series of public meetings.

Health bosses recently unveiled a new county-wide strategy spelling out their intentions to improve support for people across Staffordshire.

South East Staffordshire and Seisdon CCG, who have led the strategy work on behalf of partners, has appointed Engaging Communities Staffordshire to hold a series of public engagement events designed to involve local people in developing the plans that will deliver the strategy.

Visitors will find out how they might be affected and give their views on how outcomes and access to services could be improved.

The first event takes place at the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth on Monday, July 6 (5-8pm).

A panel of guest speakers will include representatives from Staffordshire County Council, as well as South East Staffordshire and Seisdon CCG.

There will be an opportunity to share experiences of mental health care in the county and ask questions, while visitors can also learn more about some of the services that are currently available.

The strategy, called ‘Mental Health is Everybody’s Business’, has been developed by the Clinical Commissioning Groups, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and other key partners. It aims to improve support for people by changing the way services are delivered, reducing stigma and discrimination, improving prevention and recovery and using new technology where appropriate.

Rita Symons, Accountable Officer from South East Staffs and Seisdon CCG, said: “We have developed the strategy to clearly mark our intentions to improve outcomes for service users across Staffordshire and to promote positive mental wellbeing more generally.”

Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, said: “The delivery of mental health services in Staffordshire is changing and these events are a chance for people to hear first-hand about what the new strategy will mean for them.

“They’re a chance for people to tell us about their concerns and give their views on how things could change in future.”

Alan White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said: “One in four people suffer mental health issues at some point in their lives, so it is hugely important to ensure they get the right support at the right time.

“We want to change the way we work to help tackle the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and give everyone the best opportunity to lead happy, healthy, productive lives.

“But we can’t do this alone and we want residents to be involved in helping us shape services to better meet the needs of people facing mental health issues.”

Similar meetings will be held in both Stafford and the Staffordshire Moorlands in September and places for all of the events can be booked through Healthwatch Staffordshire on 0800 051 8371 or online at www.bit.ly/HWSMHStrat