Between November 2018 and January 2019, more than 800 people who had previously taken part in the engagement exercise aimed at shaping a new mental health strategy for Suffolk were surveyed by email.
The survey gave them the opportunity to say whether they felt their views and feedback were reflected in the draft strategy. It also asked them if they felt they had taken part in #averydifferentconversation and gave them the opportunity to suggest amendments.
Additionally, two further engagement events were held in Elmswell and Kesgrave that were attended by more than 300 people.
Representations of the new mental health care model for Suffolk, the thinking behind it and an explanation of how it had been developed were placed on the walls at both venues. Groups of attendees were then ‘walked and talked’ through them by representatives from our co-production partners and members of the CCGs’ clinical transformation team, and invited to give their feedback.
As a result the draft strategy was later amended to reflect the outcomes of specific pieces of engagement work subsequently carried out with adults with learning difficulties and members of the BAME community in Suffolk.
Separately, meaningful engagement also took place with front line staff from the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
All the email responses received between November and January were collected and analysed by Healthwatch Suffolk
An amended draft strategy taking on board the feedback received was then re-circulated before being presented to the IESCCG and WSCCG governing bodies for ratification at the end of January. It was subsequently signed-off by both.
The next step is to seek permission as a system to continue working with our co-production partners – Suffolk Family Carers, Suffolk User Forum and Suffolk Parent Carer Network - on delivering the new strategy.
They have a key role to play in consulting with their memberships on how mental health services will be delivered, and by whom, in the future.
In the meantime, we continue to invest in and commission mental health services that will benefit our local population.
These include the launch of Living Life To The Full, a brand-new online resource available via all GP practices to help people overcome stress, low mood and anxiety through low intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
The CCGs are also planning on implementing a 24/7 mental health crisis support helpline for Suffolk GPs and their patients via NHS 111, which is planned to go live during 2020.
This wide-ranging engagement has produced a huge amount of data that has been painstakingly and skilfully analysed by Healthwatch Suffolk (HWS).
The partnership has taken the findings from the HWS report and information provided by Public Health Suffolk in the form of its Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) of Mental Health for the county to produce a draft Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy for east and west Suffolk.
Click here to view #averydifferentconversation documents