New vision for mental health across Ayrshire

Health bosses say goal is people getting ‘right support, at the right time, with the right person’

Wednesday 15th May 2019

Mental health services across Ayrshire are to become more community-focused with the aim of people getting the ‘right support, at the right time, with the right person’, under plans set to be approved by health bosses.

Officials stress the vision for the next eight years reflects a long process of engagement with staff communities, people who use mental health services and the ‘wider Ayrshire community’.

North, south and east Ayrshire health and care partnerships are coming together and pledging to work together to achieve a ‘once for Ayrshire’ approach.

The Ayrshire Mental Health Conversations vision is to be considered by the governing board of the North Ayrshire health and social care partnership when it meets tomorrow.

It comes as more and more people across the west coast region experience problems with mental and emotional health, where one in every three GP appointments relate to mental ill-health.

Demand for mental health services across Ayrshire has risen by 40% in every year since 2015.

Statistics also show mental wellbeing in the area is ‘significantly poorer’ than the average for Scotland.

The key to tackling this challenge, the new mental vision states, is to ‘move away from only responding through formal services’.

Instead, there’ll be a focus on using the ‘full assets of the person, their family and their community’ to help people navigate life challenges and recover from mental ill-health.

Officials say they want to avoid ‘unnecessary’ use of traditional mental health services where possible.

‘One size does not fit all’ when it comes to mental health support was one of the central messages from a wide-ranging consultation, which included public meetings, feedback from charities and a survey of just under 800 people.

Residents also wanted to see better information-sharing and more follow-up support.

As a result, the three Ayrshire partnerships are pledging ‘clear and easy’ access to help through local GP practices.

In addition, there are commitments to agree what an individual’s goals and aspirations are at the ‘earliest opportunity’ in their support and to involve people who have had mental health challenges in the way services are run.

If the document is approved, the three Ayrshire health partnerships will be asked to draw up plans to achieve the strategy’s aims.