The focus of the report was Mental Health – Leading the Way to Wellbeing: the Mental Wealth of Gloucestershire. The priorities discussed in the report were: -
Ø Promoting good mental health and wellbeing from the earliest age
Ø Helping people build the Five Ways to Wellbeing into their everyday lives
Ø Creating and sustaining the conditions for good mental wellbeing
Ø Working in partnership to prevent self-harm and suicide
Ø Building mental health-friendly communities and workforces
The report also highlighted the work in Gloucestershire, led by the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB), on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
The Board congratulated the Director of Public Health (DPH) on the publication of another succinct and informative report.
The Director of Public Health (DPH) informed the Board that a GP lead for suicide prevention had been appointed. She explained that there was still work to do to with the local media to encourage more responsible reporting on suicide.
In response to questions the DPH acknowledged that more needed to be done relating to alcohol abuse; that there was a strong commitment to do this; and that work was ongoing to improve this area, in particular how to make it easier for people to access support. It was suggested that this might be an issue that the HWB would want to look at in depth in future.
The HWB was informed that GPs saw people with a combination of physical and mental health problems and that the system was a bit behind the curve on how to address dual conditions. It was agreed that it was important to ‘see’ the person as a ‘whole’.
Parity of esteem between physical and mental health remained an issue. It was also important to factor in parity of deprivation; health inequality across and between some areas in the county was stark. It would be important to ensure that these matters were progressed through the locality framework.
The Director of Children’s Services (DCS) welcomed the report but raised questions relating to mental health screening tools at A & E for children and young people, as well as access to services and whether the thresholds in Gloucestershire were too high. The Clinical Chair, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (GCCG) informed the HWB that a mental health workshop had been held to inform the redesigning of urgent care in the county. During the discussion it was recognised that that the screening tool was not good enough – this would be addressed in due course. With regard to thresholds the DPH informed the HWB that this would need to be discussed with the commissioners of mental health services in the county.
The District Council representative on the HWB stated that she was pleased to see that there appeared to be an emerging golden thread linking into communities; the question remained as to how to train and develop community members to support the wider community. She also raised the question of how communities could have a voice ‘round the table’.
The Accountable Officer, GCCG, commented that this was a good opportunity to identify the gaps in services and plan according for next year.