Anna Harley is a Place Mental Health Transformation Lead for the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System. In this role Anna’s main priority is the integration of mental health services into primary and community care for adults.
Anna facilitates the production of joined-up mental health strategies, services and pathways in close partnership with colleagues from health, social care, the community and voluntary sector, as well as service users and their carers. Anna is passionate about making mental health services readily available, close to home for anyone who needs them.
In this blog Anna discusses how the way we provide mental health care for people in mid and south Essex is changing.
Helping to address health inequalities
We know that currently, not all of our residents have the same experience when accessing mental health care, and this can lead to poor health outcomes for some.
We want to ensure that everyone with a mental health need has more choice and control over the type of support and services they can access, close to home.
Our vision for people with mental health needs
‘No wrong door’ – local services and organisations working seamlessly together so that if you need mental health support, you are immediately ‘in’ the system, no matter where your first point of contact is.
Only having to tell your story once – services and partner organisations aligned so that you only have to tell your story once, to be offered the help and support you need.
One central care plan, owned by you – so that everyone involved in your care knows how you are progressing and how they can best support you to achieve your personal goals. You are at the centre of all decisions about your care.
Equal access to support and services – a deeper and truer reach into all our local communities, no barriers and no gaps.
Consistently excellent care – we want to ensure that the quality of mental health care is consistently excellent, no matter how or where you access it.
Early support to prevent a crisis – we have introduced teams of mental health specialists into GP surgeries, including mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, consultant psychiatrists and mental health pharmacists. By supporting people early and quickly, we can help to stop people reaching crisis point.
Working with our partners to transform mental health services
We are firmly focused on embracing a ‘whole system approach’ to transforming local mental health services and pathways, and want to ensure that everyone within that system, including health, social care, the community and voluntary sector as well as service users and their carers, has the opportunity to be involved.
Earlier this year, we held a series of events across mid and south Essex, bringing together hundreds of colleagues from across the system.
These events focused on what kind of support and services currently exist for those with mental health needs; what works well and what needs to change, as well as what we can do together to make it more straightforward for people to get the help they need, quickly, easily and close to home.
Since the events, we have made fundamental changes to the way we work, ensuring that all those partners continue to have the opportunity to be part of the decision making process.
Funding our local community and voluntary sector
We know that community and voluntary sector organisations provide invaluable help and support to people in their local communities. To help support these organisations, we created the Essex Community Foundation, investing just under £400,000 in the last two years. Further information is available on the Essex Community Foundation website.
Together, we will transform mental health care for the better.