Health bosses have unveiled plans to invest in and improve the way adult mental health care is delivered across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – and the public is being urged to have their say.

A public consultation  launched on – Monday 24 May. Everyone is asked to get involved and help shape future services.

The move follows a series of conversations, meetings and workshops with service users, public, staff, and voluntary organisations about their experiences of services. The feedback has helped the local NHS to develop proposals that will improve care provided when it is urgent and to deliver care closer to where people live.

Andy Williams, Chief Executive of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), who are leading the consultation, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic meant we had to quickly change how we worked – introducing temporary measures – to keep service users safe while continuing their care.

“The whole country had to embrace technology in a way we never had before. At the same time, the combined effects of ill-health, isolation and job losses is having a huge impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.”

Before the pandemic, 10% of adults said they experienced some form of depression. More than a year on from the first lockdown, one in five adults has experienced depression in early 2021 – more than double pre-pandemic levels,* with disabled people, vulnerable adults, and those living in the most deprived areas among the hardest hit.

“We want to know what people think about the proposed improvements we’ve made during the pandemic and whether we should make them permanent.  We also want to talk to people about other plans to improve mental health services.” said Mr Williams.

Gordon King, Director of Mental Health at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust said: “We have a significant opportunity to enhance the quality of people’s lives by investing in mental health services provided in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

“Mental health heavily influences our whole health and wellbeing. Now more than ever before it makes sense that mental health, just like physical health, is taken care of and maintained. To do this the NHS locally is investing more in local services to dramatically improve urgent and community care and treatment to improve people’s lives.

Mr King continued: “We want to make sure our mental health services are truly responsive and meet the needs of the local population, so people can access services easily and no one ever feels that they are being overlooked. The aim is to take mental health support into local communities, making it easier and quicker to access support where they live, and to build on the successful collaborative approach between primary care, secondary care, voluntary community sector and local authorities developed over the past year.”

The consultation runs until Sunday 15 August 2021. The CCGs want to know what people think about the proposals to improve mental health care.

To find out more about the consultation and what is proposed and why, visit www.greatmentalhealthllr.nhs.uk   To request a copy of the questionnaire for you to fill in at home or to arrange to complete it with a member of staff, telephone us on 0116 295 0750 or email beinvolved@LeicesterCityCCG.nhs.uk

*Office for National Statistics, 2021, based on 25,935 adults answering a questionnaire.

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