Health Column: Changing landscapes of mental health care

A group therapy session with people who have mental illness.
A group therapy session with people who have mental illness.

The first in what could be a series of conferences looking at ‘changing landscapes’ in mental health care has put the spotlight on the debate in Sheffield.

Politicians and professionals from the social and health care sector gathered at the city’s Assay Office on Friday, to consider changes to the way in which mental health care is funded and delivered and to consider the public perception of mental illness and whether more needs to be done to address issues of stigma and discrimination.

The event, run by Sheffield Mind and the Brathay Trust, was sponsored by the Assay Office and Chimp Management Ltd.

It looked at how services are having to adapt to a changing environment with reduced funds and increased competition for contracts and tenders.

The event explored the need for and the best way to develop partnership working and considered if and what the fallout would be for health and social care post-Brexit.

The audience heard about new and innovative projects and approaches to mental health and Dr Trevor Gedeon, a forensic psychiatrist and representative of the Chimp Management team, introduced the concept of the Chimp Paradox, a mind management programme developed by Professor Steve Peters, a lecturer at Sheffield University.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield also attended and heard from and spoke to providers about the situation locally and discussed what he and the Government should be doing to address concerns and shortfalls in mental health care provision. He later took part in a spirited Question Time-style panel discussion which was chaired by former CEO of Mind nationally, David Henry, and attended by current CEO and chair of the NHS England Mental Health Taskforce, Paul Farmer.

Feedback from delegates was very positive and the organisers are keen to keep the momentum going and use the feedback submitted and the ideas suggested to develop future events.

Sheffield Mind provides free counselling and therapy, an accommodation service, a mental health guide and information service and ‘recovery cafes’. The Brathay Trust runs projects to boost the life chances of children, young people and families.

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