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Mental health and wellbeing – transforming services for two million people across North West London

A major new initiative has been launched today in North West London, following the recent signing of the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat.

At today's launch (February 6), patient, carers and services users will be sharing their personal experience of mental health and wellbeing, as the campaign to transform services across NW London gets underway. Pioneering online technology and community groups for mental health patients and carers will be showcased in front of more than 100 people at the event - Like-minded: working together for mental health and wellbeing in NW London.

Click to watch the short video created to accompany the launch.

NHS, local authority and voluntary sector leaders have committed to partner together and with patients, carers and services users to jointly transform mental health and wellbeing services. There are 250,000 people in NW London living with mental health conditions including 30,000 with serious mental illness and 16,000 with dementia.

Dr Fiona Butler, chair of West London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the multi-agency NW London Mental Health Programme Board, said: “Today’s launch is called ‘Like Minded’ and this reflects our desire to listen and work in partnership to deliver the best possible outcomes for people with a lived experience of mental health issues. It also reflects our desire to look at how we can improve the way we prevent illness and promote mental and physical wellbeing which is fundamental to a good quality of life for individuals, families and communities.

“We are making progress in North West London, from providing psychological therapies in primary care, to redesigning urgent care pathways across the patch and we also want to learn from others who are taking an innovative approach.”

Mental health accounted for almost 12.5% or £460 million of the total NHS spend across NW London in 2012/13 and West London has the 4th highest rate of serious mental illness in the country. More than million Londoners will experience mental ill health this year and one in 10 children and young people in London, which is the equivalent of 3 in every class, has a diagnosable mental health disorder. That is more than 100,000 across the capital.

Today’s launch follows a recent commitment by 25 partner organisations in NW London to ensure better care for people in a mental health crisis. Signed by police, eight councils and NHS organisations, the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, is the first of its kind in London and only the second in the UK, to ensure better care for people in a mental health crisis.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity said: “We are really pleased to see organisations in North West London getting together locally and taking the first steps toward improving the care of people in mental health crisis. We know that where excellent crisis care exists, it saves lives, but too often people fall through the cracks between different services and don’t get the help they need.”

Chief Inspector Daniel Thorpe, Mental Health Lead for the Metropolitan Police, said: “Over the last 18 months we and our partners in NW London have been working hard together to develop a single point of access, 24/7, for mental health. By calling this number, any professional, service user or carer in NWL will get access to expert advice and support and, where necessary, can request a home or Community based assessment.”

Successful new approaches to supporting mental health patients include a pilot in West London where mental health clinicians work in police custody suites to assess people with suspected mental health problems.

Other specific initiatives underway in NW London are:

  • A single whole system ‘care pathway’, agreed between the key agencies to support, assess and manage anyone who asks any service for help in a mental health crisis;
  • A 24/7/365 single point of access for all professionals, service users and carers to use for support, advice, information and request assessment;
  • Seeking to ensure that Mental Health Detentions under Section 136 do not happen in police cells in NW London, and so avoid ‘criminalising’ the issue;
  • Introducing maximum waiting time standards for assessment, and providing more assessment and care in people’s homes and the community, 24/7, so people know when they will receive help and have much more choice over when and where they get it;
  • Development of a new ‘community living well’ service to support and sustain recovery for people who have long-term mental health needs, which will work to prevent crises happening, improve well-being and support people to live the lives they want to.