Plans to improve mental health support progressing well

During the summer the NHS and local authorities have been working with the voluntary, community, social enterprise and independent (VCSE/I) sector to develop a new approach to supporting people with severe mental illness in the community.

The work is part of Devon’s Community Mental Health Framework which will see care, support and treatment delivered around the county’s 31 Primary Care Networks (PCNs) – which are local groups of GP surgeries.

Work undertaken during the summer months has begun to explore how groups of VCSE/I organisations can come together, as an alliance, to work across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth. An alliance will help:

  • Increase the available psychological therapies and interventions
  • Support people’s mental health rehabilitation and recovery
  • Reduce loneliness and isolation among older people experiencing mental health problems
  • Reduce digital exclusion
  • Link with local organisations to strengthen community support for people with mental health needs.

VCSE/I sector and statutory agencies will work together in local areas to support people’s mental health. People will be at the heart of decision making about their own care, support and treatment. Those with a severe mental illness will be connected to the right support for them.

Justin Wiggin, Senior Commissioning Manager at NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a really exciting time. We know there is lots of really great work happening within the voluntary sector across the whole of Devon. The interest and response to the engagement events has been amazing. Nearly 150 organisations from Devon, Plymouth and Torbay registered their interest in exploring the opportunity. The VCSE/I sector has so much to offer people to support their mental health recovery. Together we have been discussing what services might look like, listening and learning from each other to shape what an alliance might look like.”

A series of workshops were held to develop service descriptions and meetings with potential alliances have been held to understand the level of interest from the sector. Two potential alliances are now being worked with to commission a single pan-Devon alliance by December 2021.

Find out more about the Community Mental Health Framework in Devon.