New plan to improve mental health support and services in City of London and Hackney
A new plan to improve mental health support and services in the City of London and Hackney has been launched to target more people including those that are homeless and rough sleepers.
This is the first joint Mental Health Strategy for City and Hackney, developed by City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, (CCG), London Borough of Hackney and the City of London Corporation. It aims to address undiagnosed mental health needs of people who 'slip through the net' if they do not access services early enough and end up in A & E, or using ambulance and 111 services. The strategy aims to improve access to support and services for these residents.
Other groups that the plan aims to help include people with alcohol and drug addictions, LGBTQ+ people, older adults and BME groups such as young black men and boys. Young black men and boys are under-represented in early engagement of services and support, but over-represented in more acute services like inpatient admissions, or detained under the Mental Health Act needing urgent treatment for mental health disorders.
Last year Hackney Council and City of London Corporation were also the first governing bodies in London to sign up to the ‘Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health’, a national agreement to help improve mental health and wellbeing for residents. The Concordat outlines a series of actions that all partners can take to ensure there is better collaboration to improve mental health care, promotion and prevention. Hackney and City of London are supported by local health partners including the CCG, Healthwatch Hackney, Healthwatch City of London, East London Foundation Trust, (ELFT), Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust, and voluntary and community groups.
The new joint mental health strategy will focus on an integrated mental and physical health approach to help people with chronic physical conditions and serious mental health problems. It will focus on early measures to support and care for residents within their local communities to promote good mental health where possible in City and Hackney’s integrated care system.
Anyone worried about their or someone else’s mental health and wellbeing, can talk to their GP about their concerns to discuss available support.
To view the City and Hackney Mental Health Strategy 2019-23, go to https://hackney.gov.uk/mental-health
The joint strategy will bring many benefits for residents across Hackney and City of London. It will enhance the joint partnership working and collaborative approach between all partners to ensure we are working more effectively on prevention and improving outcomes in mental health.
This new strategy takes a whole population approach, whilst ensuring the most vulnerable people in our local areas will receive some of the support they need. However, mental health starts at home with good education, good jobs, good salaries and secure neighbourhoods. This is an important, bold initiative and a valuable societal resource until such a time as the other things I have mentioned are in place.
Local services and support
There are a number of local services and support available to residents experiencing, or at risk of mental ill health, which are commissioned by the City of London Corporation, Hackney Council and NHS City & Hackney CCG and delivered by mental health providers including Homerton Hospital and ELFT, as well as voluntary and community groups.
Support for local workers in City and Hackney is available through initiatives such as the Business Healthy network. For example, ‘Five to Thrive’ is a initiative, based on the New Economic Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing. These five steps can help people improve their emotional health and wellbeing. Health organisations, schools and community projects have used it to connect people and communities, and improve mental health wellbeing.
Talk Changes (provided by Homerton University), offers free and confidential NHS ‘talking therapies’ for adults registered with a GP in the City or Hackney, who are struggling to cope with low mood, anxiety or depression. It is one of the best performing ‘talking therapies’ services in London, helping over 6,000 people every year and has above national average recovery rates. Talking therapies involve talking to a trained professional to help overcome negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes. Appointments can be booked online at https://talkchanges.org.uk/ without having to see a GP first. Most people only have to wait a fortnight only to get an initial assessment, followed by an agreed treatment plan.
ELFT also runs a Walk-in Crisis Cafe in The Raybould Centre in Homerton Row from 6pm to 9pm weekdays and midday to 4pm at weekends. People can call the free service on 07393 762 366, which is run by mental health professionals who provide advice and support. In The City of London, Dragon Café in the City offers a free and safe space for visitors to release the pressure and look after their mental and physical wellbeing.