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Agenda item

Mental Health Update


The Head of Mental Health introduced a report that detailed the locally commissioned services available to residents in Slough to promote positive mental wellbeing and prevent mental ill health.


Members were informed that there was a wide range of services available to residents, both reactive and preventative.  It was explained that prevention was a crucial factor in creating sustainable mental health provision and was considered as the only way lasting change could be achieved.


In 2015, the Council commissioned Hope Recovery College in partnership with Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.  The College was a place for service users to attend courses and workshops which were co-facilitated and co-created by people with lived experience, in order to learn how to better manage their mental health issues.  Recovery colleges had been developed out of the recovery movement which had a strong focus on the service users own personal journey. 


The College had further expanded during 2019 with the integration of another Slough community mental health psychological service called EMBRACE.  Over the last six years, Slough Mental Health Services had been developing an innovative and comprehensive pathway, by creating an ‘enabling environment’ that aspired to meet the needs of residents requiring mental health services.  A ‘whole - town’ approach was adopted that was founded on therapeutic community principles of attachment, safety, respect, communication, interdependence, relationship, participation, process, balance and responsibility.  The approach aimed to tackle loneliness and isolation, a common cause of poor mental health. 


Members were informed that the ‘Enabling Town Slough’ model had recently won recognition at the National Awards for Positive Practice in Mental Health Services held in October 2019.  The award was presented for the work that had been undertaken to address inequality in mental health services, and as a nationally awarded strategy, the model was being replicated in other areas across the country.  The Head of Mental Health had also recently been invited to present at the forthcoming International Conference on Integrated Care in April 2020.


A further initiative that had been developed in partnership with and funded by Slough Public Health was the Enabling Town Slough website, which aimed to create a mental health forum.  The website would be launched in March 2020.  Experts with lived experience had been recruited to lead on the co-production of the project to ensure it upheld the Slough values.


The Chair then invited comments and questions from Members.


During the course of the discussion, the following points were raised:


·  A Member asked what the most common reasons for someone with mental health problems not engaging with the service were.  It was explained that there were a number of reasons, including, stigma, inadequate provision, and social isolation.

·  The Healthwatch representative recounted the successful experience of a service user.  He highlighted the effectiveness of the Hope Recovery College, in particular the collaborative co-production approach adopted.

·  A Member sought further information regarding the peer mentor roles.  It was explained that community and voluntary sector support was a crucial element of the overall preventative offer in Slough.  Peer mentors and ‘experts with lived experience’ assisted in building a therapeutic community that provided service users a sense of belonging, as loneliness was a huge contributor to mental health problems.  The Hope Recovery Hospital had been very successful and had outgrown its current venue.  In the future it was hoped that the College could move into its own building.

·  A Member asked what the most common reasons were for someone to develop a mental health problem.  It was explained that it was common for mental health problems to develop as the result of a traumatic event or experience. 


On behalf of the Panel, the Chair commended the excellent work of the Mental Health Team. 


Resolved – That the report be noted.

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