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Comprehensive plan laid out for future of mental health provision

Comprehensive plan laid out for future of mental health provision

Wednesday 06 September 2023

Comprehensive plan laid out for future of mental health provision

Wednesday 06 September 2023


Dozens of action points have been published by Health and Social Care as it looks to improve and strengthen mental health support for people in the community, building on the recommendations made by a mental health expert.

The Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy is a comprehensive document developed after extensive public consultation and it has been guided by a multidisciplinary group.

The re-established Mental Health and Wellbeing Steering Group is comprised of civil servants, health experts and people from the private and charitable sector, as well as people with ‘lived experience’. 

Pillars 

The strategy at its core comprises of four pillars: 

  • Understanding and collating Bailiwick datasets 

  • Service improvements 

  • Awareness, access and early intervention 

  • Responding to recommendations of external reviews 

The pillars focused on service improvements and responding to external recommendations have been guided by the findings of the Gedze reviews in 2018 and 2022, and has culminated in dozens of action points to be worked on by various groups. 

 shutterstock mother parent mental health baby

Pictured: 35% of social security sickness benefits claims are mental health related. 

Gedze 

David Gedze is a UK-based mental health practitioner. He was invited to Guernsey in 2018 to review Specialist Mental Health Services and then again in 2022 to assess the progress done since his first review. 

He originally determined in 2018 that Guernsey’s services are “well resourced”, with “very low waiting times” and a “sufficient number of in-patient beds” at the Oberlands. 

Mr Gedze reaffirmed these findings in 2022, saying there is “no doubt that Guernsey is multiple times better” than other jurisdictions; beds are always available unlike in the UK, and waiting times for psychological therapies offered by the NHS have, in some cases, “worsened” since the authoring of the initial review. 

 mental health support

Mr Gedze also evaluated if progress had been made within services off the back of his 2018 recommendations. In most cases he found that implementation had been completed, save for some outstanding but ongoing areas that were noted as being disrupted by the pandemic. 

The covid pandemic brought mental health issues and awareness to the fore, with 42% of respondents to a community survey in Guernsey indicating that their mental health was worse or much worse since before the pandemic. 

The ‘ongoing areas’ diverted by covid are the focus of this new and improved strategy. 

Action points 

The aim of the strategy is to promote good mental health across the whole population so that more people living in the Bailiwick will have good mental health. 

It’ll seek to do this by building solid datasets, pushing forward with current workstreams, and developing points raised by Mr Gedze. 

You can see a breakdown of the action points in both pillar three and four below: 

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Leading the way 

“This piece of work has been a true joint effort,” said the Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, “with members from across the States of Guernsey, voluntary and private sector working in partnership to improve mental health for islanders.  

There is a welcome focus on the building blocks for good health such as housing, good pay, safe and accessible green spaces and good quality education. Services themselves are only one part of the puzzle. 

The Chief Executive of Guernsey Mind said: “Guernsey Mind are pleased to be part of the Steering Group. This strategy aligns with the ethos of Guernsey Mind with its focus on the importance of prevention and early intervention, as well as continuing efforts to raise awareness and tackle discrimination. We look forward to continuing to work with the States and other partners to support improved mental health for everyone in the Bailiwick. 

Clinical Director of Specialist Mental Health Services, Dr Dominic Bishop, said: “We are proud to have people with experience of mental health services as members of the Steering Group. This allows Specialist Mental Health Services and other mental health service providers to incorporate the views of those who use them. This is something we look forward to building on within the lifetime of the Strategy. 

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