New local teams start implementing community mental health improvements

Local Implementation Teams (LITs) are now up-and-running across the county, developing and implementing improved support for people with serious mental health problems. There are five LITs (north, south, east, west and Plymouth) and they are each working hard to make Devon’s Community Mental Health Framework a reality.

The Framework is an ambitious project, backed by more than £15m of new funding, to transform how services and organisations work together to provide better mental health support in the community. It will tackle many of the current issues by bringing organisations together into one team dedicated to mental health.

The LITs provide a place for everyone involved locally in the Framework to come together to decide what needs doing in their area. The priorities and ways of working vary across the county and the LITs are finding the best ways of delivering better and more joined-up care and support at a local level. All LITs include people with lived experience alongside people from primary care, community mental health services, social care and TALKWORKS, as well as the voluntary, community, social enterprise and independent sector (VCSEI).

It is still early days for the LITs but they are already proving a useful forum and are beginning to shape the way communities are supporting people. Each LIT has a Locality Change Co-ordinator who is leading the work.

Beth Fisher, Locality Change Co-ordinator for Plymouth, says: “The implementation of the Framework is well under way in Plymouth which is very exciting to see.”

In the East of the county, the LIT has three sub-groups that work at an even more localised level. Jane Dewar, Locality Change Co-ordinator for East Devon, comments:  “The energy, enthusiasm and drive of our brilliant colleagues from across the mental health pathway has been humbling and I am confident this collaborative approach will bring about improvements in care and a better experience for people with serious mental health needs and their families – as well as for our dedicated colleagues delivering those services.”

In North Devon, Jenny Ball says: “There is great enthusiasm and a real keenness to work collaboratively across the system, to build on some fab work that is already going on whilst making sure everyone knows about the opportunities for change and improvement.”