The NHS in South West London has launched a Mental Health Strategy setting out the ways it aims, over the next five years, to improve and support the mental health of everyone who lives, works or studies in Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth.
The strategy is to be delivered by the NHS South West London Integrated Care Board (ICB) together with the two local mental health NHS trusts, South West London and St George’s and South London and Maudsley, is the first ICB-wide strategy of its kind in London.
Demand for mental health services has increased in recent years. Nationally, there has been a rise in the percentage of children identified as having a probable mental health disorder from 11.6per cent in 2017 to 17.4per cent in 2021 – with Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) the fastest-growing speciality.
A higher proportion of under-18s in south-west London have accessed mental health services compared to anywhere else in the capital.
The strategy will focus on going further and faster for children and young people, while also increasing equity of access, experience and outcomes for all South West Londoners and tackling issues earlier to prevent mental ill-health.
In the first year of the strategy, the focus will be on children and young people and embedding transformation of community services for adults with serious mental illness.
“We know there is a real need to support people at an early stage before mental health problems escalate,” said Sarah Blow, NHS South West London ICB’s CEO.
“Equally, we know that the pandemic and cost of living crisis are among the many things having an impact on wellbeing. This strategy will help us to focus on supporting those at risk of developing a mental health condition, both now and in the coming months and years.
“Our strategy will help us to ensure we can provide outstanding care and support to everyone in our diverse communities who needs it.”
Vanessa Ford, mental health ICB representative and chief executive of South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, said: “Following extensive engagement with our communities, we have developed a strategy that is focused on prevention and early support and improving care for children and young people specifically.
“This is an extremely important piece of work and together with our partners, we are committed to tackling health inequalities and delivering inclusive, effective services that are accessible and meet the needs of our diverse communities.”
Service users, carers, local stakeholders and partners will be invited to engage and participate in the delivery of the Mental Health Strategy later this year.
- To access the strategy’s executive summary, click here
- Visit the NHS SW London website to access the strategy in full by clicking here
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