Posted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 28/05/2014 08:19:56
NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) hosted a mental health summit at Margate’s Turner Contemporary on Wednesday 21 May.
The summit was attended by patients and carers, representatives of local voluntary and community organisations, consultants and Thanet GPs. Taking place in the afternoon, the event gave the invited audience an opportunity to focus on Thanet’s mental health priorities.
Dr Tony Martin, the CCG’s clinical chair, welcomed delegates and gave an outline of the mental health challenge in Thanet.
First speaker and KCC consultant in public health, Jess Mookherjee explained the links between poor mental health, inequality and deprivation. She went on to tell the audience that Thanet has the highest estimated rates of mental illness within Kent.
Thanet also has high levels of mixed anxiety/depression, but local people are receiving help from GPs who are referring patients to talking therapies, including counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Hospital admissions for the serious mental health disorder, schizophrenia, are particularly high in Thanet, when compared to the rest of Kent and England.
Keynote speaker at the summit was Lisa Rodrigues from the NHS Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, who talked about the barriers that exist in the effective treatment of poor mental health.
Lisa cited obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as an example, and explained that many people suffer in silence and wait years before contacting their GP for help. She also spoke about the stigma that still surrounds mental illness and the reluctance of men to talk about their problems.
Lisa also talked about the need – with what is often a long-term condition – for the patient to have hope.
Dr Tony Martin said: “Anyone can experience mental health issues in their life and we need to work to reduce the stigma often associated with it. Patients can feel reluctant to seek the support and care they need.
“In Thanet – an area with real deprivation – we want to tackle poor mental health and enable people to lead healthier and happier lives.
“The summit brought together experts in the field of mental health. We discussed problems and priorities, and now we can develop a goal for mental health services in the area, and not just a health service-dependent goal. We want one that requires all – including the housing services, social services, the voluntary sector and health services – to work together to empower patients for health and hope.
“The CCG will now analyse the conclusions of the summit and work together with partner agencies to deliver a solid and sustainable approach to poor mental health in Thanet. We want no one to fall through the gaps – the most vulnerable deserve the best of care.”