North Yorkshire County Council has awarded contracts following a consultation earlier this year which asked people what they thought of its plans for future investment in services designed to help people to look after and improve their mental health.
The new contracts will deliver locally-based support which will be available to anyone aged 18 and over living in North Yorkshire who has mental health issues or concerns, and family members and carers of anyone with mental health issues or concerns.
County Councillor Michael Harrison, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration, said: “Helping people to improve and maintain good mental health is a key priority for us. Despite having to face widespread budget cuts and make our resources stretch even further, the County Council has protected social care mental health spending and has invested in additional specialist staff, as well wider mental ill-health prevention work through its Stronger Communities and Living Well services.
“We were also involved in the North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Board’s recent mental health summit - Mental Health: Moving in the Right Direction. The summit brought together people with first-hand experience of accessing mental health services and people from a wide range of health, social care and public, private and community sector organisations and provided invaluable feedback that will help us to move in the right direction and continue to develop the mental health support services we and our partners are investing in.
“Our new range of mental health and wellbeing services are open access so people can self-refer, and people accessing support will have the opportunity to have their say in how the services they need are being delivered. They build on the good practice and the tried and tested model of a central mental health hub with ‘spoke’ support elsewhere in the district, making open access help and advice available closer to home.
“Community-based mental health support will be available across the county, including in Craven and Selby districts where previously there were no County Council funded open- access mental health and wellbeing services”.
The new contracts are being funded by the County Council with financial contributions from the county’s Clinical Commissioning Groups. They will form an important part of the work that the County Council and its partners are doing to raise awareness of mental health issues and address concerns about levels of mental health support in the county.
- The support provided by the services will be centred around the following, depending on need:
- information, advice and signposting covering a range of mental health and wellbeing issues;
- self-care and life skills such as information and training around developing coping strategies, budgeting and helping people to identify, understand and respond when they know their mental health is deteriorating;
- brief practical help including support with housing, employment, training, education and financial inclusion such as benefits; and
- social networks and peer support, including social activities, befriending schemes and community cafes.
The new contracts have been awarded to a mix of existing and new service providers who will be encouraged to work collaboratively with other voluntary groups in their areas. The County Council will be offering support through its Stronger Communities and Living Well programmes and its management teams to ensure that, where any groups are affected by the change in contract holders, there is support available to manage any changes that are needed.