On World Mental Health day, Jersey’s government says there have positive changes to mental health services over the past 18 months.
Improvements include upgrades to facilities, improved care plans and access to support, to benefit both patients and staff.
Additional government funding has been provided to deal with under-resourced and struggling services.
Among the achievements the government is highlighting are:
*Orchard House has achieved 'green status' by internal Jersey Nursing accreditation assessment for improving access to psychological therapies, working with patients on care plans, and upgrading ward environment.
*Adult Social Care and Mental health have fully integrated, creating a single point of access for multi-professional teams, focusing on early intervention and prevention with social work.
*The Listening Lounge, which closed to face-to-face appointments for two months during the coronavirus outbreak, received additional funding to support the increased activity they have seen during the pandemic.
Jersey's Listening Lounge
*Drug and Alcohol services have provided better support to clients within the community after moving to Maison Le Pape.
*Islanders can self-refer to Jersey Talking Therapies as they now work in closer partnership with The Listening Lounge, Recovery Lounge, Mind Jersey and Liberate. The service are developing a way to implement digital resources in order to reach patients in urgent need of support.
*£1.3 million is being provided to a Crisis Prevention Service, which will include home treatment service and a street triage.
Assistant Minister with responsibility for mental health Senator Steve Pallett says although there is still work to be done, the island is in a great position.
“The Government promised a greater focus on Islanders’ mental health and this is exactly what we have done. With Mental Health Awareness Day, it offers us the time to contemplate on what has been achieved and highlight to Islanders that we have listened and acted on their concerns."
Steve says colleagues across the Health and Community Services have done a great job.
“The dedication and commitment shown across the board has been a real testament to the promise to improve mental health services. As Islanders have coped with the pandemic, services have seen challenges and risen to them. There is more work to come but we find ourselves in a great position which will make real change in people’s lives.”
New mental health support is also being provided for children and young people struggling, with access to the immediate advice from a newly-appointed practitioner.
From Monday 12th October, a mental health and emotional wellbeing practitioner will be available daily as part of the Children and Families Hub.
The department was set up in March as part of the Children, Young People, Education and Skills Department's (CYPES) response to the pandemic.
The Children and Families Hub provides information, advice and support for families and young people, as Letitia Bradley, Early Help Manager, explains. Our aim is make sure you get the right help, at the right time. The hub also responds to any safeguarding concerns you may have for a child or young person. You can call them on 01534 519000, or find out more about the hub and how they can help here: https://bit.ly/2JrUpQ9Posted by Government of Jersey on Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Advice and guidance will be provided by the practitioner - helping young people, parents and professionals to ensure children and families get the right help that they need to support their emotional wellbeing and mental health needs.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the pandemic will result in an increase in demand for mental and psychological support, hence the aim of this year's World Mental Health Day campaign is a call for increased investment in mental health.
CYPES says it is aware of the challenges Covid-19 has made children face, making them contend with learning from home, disrupted exams and not being able to see friends and family.
A recent survey conducted by Jersey's Children's Commissioner had 2,000 local children respond, with half of them stating they were feeling worried, and 10% of primary school children and 15-20% of older children experiencing feelings of anxiety.
Lead of the Children and Families Hub Lisa Perkins says they welcome their new addition.
“We know that the need for support for mental health and wellbeing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing and that families will welcome the opportunity to get advice. We will also be able to assist them in ensuring they access the right support from the range of mental health and wellbeing services.”
Minister for Children and Housing Senator Sam Mézec says he's pleased that young people are able to access such support.
"The aim of the Hub is to make sure families get the right help before their difficulties become overwhelming. Some children will be more vulnerable as this outbreak continues with families facing a range of challenges such as managing a child’s needs or financial issues and I would urge any young people, their family or someone who is concerned about a child to get in touch with the Hub.”