New initiative improves mental health services

A new initiative aims to make it easier for service providers to help people with mental health problems overcome their day-to-day challenges.

Mental health charity Mind has launched a "Life Support" briefing highlighting the challenges faced by people with mental health problems – and the support needed to overcome them.

The briefing is aimed at local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Health and Wellbeing Boards and others who oversee, commission and deliver local services in England.

It aims to encourage service providers to think about the non-health support required by local people – and work together to develop creative solutions to provide them.

    See also: Breaking the silence on mental health

"To stay well and live a full life, people with mental health problems often need practical help with day-to-day living," says the briefing.

"In order to keep going and get through life's challenges, they often need support for the additional social problems they are likely to face in connection with their mental health problems.

"We refer to this as 'life support'."

As well as from the health system, the briefing says this support comes from a patchwork of local community services that includes public bodies, the voluntary sector, and private firms.

"They help people manage life's day-to-day challenges by providing advice, information and support, and helping people keep connected to other people and the wider community.

"Often they can be crucial in keeping people in the community and out of costly secondary care."

Advice, information and support interventions are significantly cheaper than the cost of
picking up the pieces after someone's mental health has deteriorated, says the briefing.

These type of services can generate significant savings by helping people to stay well, it adds.

The document covers 10 different approaches towards delivering life support – and showcases good practice being delivered across the country.

As well as improving services and wellbeing for people with mental health problems, delivering life support can help local authorities save money, it says.

A full version of the document can be downloaded here.


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