A number of exciting new partnerships with voluntary and community organisations have been established as part of the transformation of adult community mental health care in South Staffordshire.

Contracts have been awarded by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) to several successful organisations, each for a period of three years, to provide services to help enable adults with severe mental illness to access care and support in new ways.

This forms part of a wider Community Mental Health Transformation programme taking place across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent that not only involves health and care providers working more closely with each other, but also sees local voluntary and community sector being given greater opportunities to be more directly involved in delivering this change.

As well as offering flexible and personalised care and support that responds to an individual’s mental health needs and preferences close to home, another key part of the transformation is increasing support for the wider factors that can impact wellbeing, such as employment, housing and physical health. The contracts awarded to local voluntary sector organisations will support in many of these areas.

Citizens Advice Staffordshire South West and Citizens Advice Mid Mercia (covering East Staffordshire) have been contracted to provide financial wellbeing services. Evidence shows that financial difficulties can cause and exacerbate mental ill health, which has the potential to develop into a severe mental illness. Citizens Advice will support patients with underpinning financial challenges, by signposting to relevant partners, along with helping with debt prevention, budget management, consumer rights, and income or benefit guidance.

Housing support is to be delivered via a consortium of providers: Cannock Chase District Council, South Staffordshire Borough Council, Tamworth District Council and Trent and Dove Housing Association. This service will provide patients with tailored housing support, advice and information to help them maintain and access sustainable tenancies, particularly in the private rented sector.

Changes and Burton and District Mind have been contracted in the West and East of the county respectively to support individuals with severe and enduring mental health needs to stay well in their recovery journey. They will do this by working with the patient to jointly develop a series of goals tackling areas such as wellbeing, employment, self-value, and social interventions. Burton and District Mind are leading a partnership approach which includes YESS, Burton Albion Community Trust, Community Together CIC, Curbourough Community Association and Burntwood Be A Friend.

Studies have shown that people with serious mental illnesses have huge differences in their health and life expectancy. Everyone Health Staffordshire has been contracted to provide lifestyle services in South Staffordshire that will support patients to increase their exercise levels, alongside providing guidance on weight management and healthy eating.

Finally, the Humankind charity has been contracted to work alongside local health and care services on delivering an important programme that supports adults with mental health and substance use needs across South Staffordshire in their recovery. It will see a dedicated team of professionals working together to provide a range of support, including specialist psychological therapies to individuals with complex needs.

Lisa Agell-Argiles, MPFT Operations Director for Unplanned Care & Mental Health said: “We understand that there are wider determinants such as employment, housing and physical health that can impact wellbeing. We’re delighted to be working together with our local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations; this will ensure that we work in a more joined up, holistic way to help support the Staffordshire population.”

The transformation taking place in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent forms part of a national programme set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to enable adults with severe mental illness to access care and support in a new, more joined up and effective way, regardless of their diagnosis or level of complexity. Health and care providers are working more closely together, based within networks of GP practices (known as Primary Care Networks), alongside local authorities and voluntary and community organisations.

To find out more about the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, please visit www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/about-us/our-work/mental-health/adult-community-mental-health-transformation