Working with our communities to widen mental health and wellbeing support

We have long since understood the importance of our partners from voluntary, community, faith organisations and social enterprises (VCFSE) in supporting the health and wellbeing of our many and diverse communities across Cheshire and Merseyside.

For some time, our VCFSE partners in many areas of Cheshire and Merseyside have been working with us to provide community based mental health and wellbeing support. Initiatives such as Crisis Cafes and Community Wellbeing Alliances complement traditional NHS services and often offer more appropriate and holistic help to our residents based on their needs.

During the last few years our NHS Mental Health Trusts have been working to develop new models of community mental health services, that provide care closer to home. This work has seen GP practices, our mental health trusts, local authorities and VCFSE organisations work together in a more co-ordinated way.

How does this improve services for patients?

Through our Cheshire and Merseyside Mental Health Transformation programme in 2022-2023 we have been building on our good work with VCFSE partners. We have been able to establish new services and ways of working across all NHS and non-NHS organisations involved in improving mental health and wellbeing and we are seeing to some good results directly benefiting our patients.

More than £1.5m of transformation funding has gone to more than 25 VCFSE organisations. This has resulted in over 5,000 additional contacts with patients during the year, equating to 25% of the overall access target for adult community mental health services.

Our VCFSE partners also help identify and support patients to get involved in the planning and delivery of services, through the likes of lived experience advisors and peer support workers to ensure their voices are shaping future improvements.

In summary, our VCFSE partners are helping put support and resources truly in the community to greatly improve access to services, which are designed to meet the local needs of the communities they serve and are part of.

What's next?

During 2023-2024 we estimate that 7,000 patients will access services provided by VCFSE organisations.

At the same time, we continue to evaluate and assess these services, helping us to illustrate the significant boost in access to mental health services the VCFSE sector is achieving across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Find out more

Here are some examples of the mental health services we are working with VCFSE partners to provide that are benefiting residents: