A primary care approach to mental health and wellbeing

NHS Confederation
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This report presents a detailed case study of the journey Sandwell's health commissioners (then Sandwell PCT) went through to respond to a number of important health inequalities within its local population. It focuses on how its health service commissioners responded to specific health inequalities, including poor levels of mental and physical health, social deprivation, poor access to low-intensity community mental health and wellbeing services, and heavy use of secondary care mental health services, to develop a primary care-led approach to improving mental health and wellbeing. The approach, known as the collaborative primary care model for mental health and wellbeing, uses the principles of collaboration, co-location and integration to support its population to access low-intensity services and healthcare professionals when making referrals. The purpose of each low-intensity service is to empower the population to make decisions about their own care and improve emotional resilience and wellbeing. Sandwell adopted a stepped approach to primary care mental health, which ensures that people have smooth transition between different levels of service (community prevention services, access to talking therapies, collaborative and shared care, and hospital care). The model provides some key learning points for wider commissioners to consider, namely: the continued need to align primary healthcare with key partners and stakeholders, including probation services, secondary care acute and mental health providers, schools, libraries and colleges; the importance of investing in education and training for primary care and community care staff; and the importance of clinical and service user engagement. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
mental health services, integrated care, primary care, commissioning, service development, models, health inequalities, wellbeing;
Content type:
practice example
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