A report compiling feedback from people in Erewash around their experiences of accessing information on mental health services has recommended GP Surgeries improve the range of mental health information available in waiting rooms, on electronic screens and on their websites.

The report has been produced by Healthwatch Derbyshire’s Mental Health Together team which works across the city and county to involve mental health service receivers and carers in how health and social care services are run. They are supported by the Mental Health Action Group whose members are well networked across Erewash.

The views of 105 members of the public in Erewash were gained through paper and online questionnaires.  People’s experiences were sought by attending community groups, mental health support groups, advice centres, children’s centres, food banks and GP practices throughout the district.

Most people said that the GP was their first port of call when seeking information and help around mental health.  Of those that went to the GP and found them unhelpful, more than half went no further for help, underlining the importance of the role GP’s have to play in supporting people who come to them with a mental health related condition.

Insufficient information at the start of the journey, insufficient help in accessing services and long waiting times were cited as the main reasons for difficulty in getting help early on for a mental health condition.

Helen Henderson-Spoors is Interim CEO of Healthwatch Derbyshire, the county’s independent health and social care watchdog which is committed to giving local people a voice about their views and experiences of services.

She said: “We shared the report with all the GP practices in Erewash, including the Erewash Health Partnership which represents 10 GP Practices, and Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) the commissioning body for health services in the area.

“Although based on people’s experiences of people in Erewash, the report contains advice applicable to all services involved in providing mental health information and support at primary care level.

“A number of recommendations were made in line with the views expressed by the public and patients. These included encouraging more training in mental health amongst GP’s and ensuring that all practice employees are fully aware of the information available and are able to hand out to patients appropriately when requested.

“We hope that this feedback will help to bring about improvements which enable people to access appropriate support on behalf of themselves and their families quicker and more easily in the future.

“All Erewash GP Practices and Erewash CCG have responded to the report and made a commitment to improve services.”

View the full report

© Healthwatch Derbyshire 2019

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