A new Tayside mental health strategy designed to “reinstate confidence” among service-users and staff has been unveiled.
But the draft document, which is still subject to consultation, has failed to convince mental health campaigners in Dundee.
The Tayside Population Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy was drawn up with help from around 300 stakeholders, including professionals, service-users and families.
It highlights a raft of initiatives NHS Tayside hopes will “improve how we work as a health and social care system” and “ensure people in crisis and distress get to the right place first time”.
Among the proposals is the establishment of a Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) service, an ‘innovative’ pilot scheme first launched in Scotland in 2016.
The service consists of two parts, with part one involving a trained front-line health worker, police officer, paramedic or primary care staff member helping to ease any individual in distress.
They then ask the person if they would like further support and, if they agree, they are
referred to the DBI service with a promise of contact within the next 24 hours to start providing further support.
The programme was expanded in April into a nationwide response for people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
In September, Nicola Sturgeon extended the pilot scheme to 2024, where it is then expected to be embedded in all health boards across Scotland.
The report plans to strengthen “engagement and participation”, “restore public trust, respect and confidence in our mental health services by improving mental health services” and to deliver a “comprehensive programme of work”.
The report highlights a raft of initiatives, which NHS Tayside hopes to “improve how we work as a health and social care system by working closer with other NHS Scotland services such as NHS24, Scottish Ambulance Service, and Police Scotland joining up with NHS Emergency departments to ensure people in crisis and distress get to the right place first time.”
However, Phil Welsh, who is campaigning for a 24/7 crisis centre in Dundee, said he doesn’t believe there is anything in it to help those facing an immediate mental health crisis.
“There appears to be very little in here in regard to people at the pinnacle of crisis,” he said.
“Once again the cops will pick up the pieces and take the person to `the right place first time.`”
The report states that work to improve the organisational culture of mental health services in Tayside is underway.
This includes the need to attract and retain trainee psychiatrists, to ensure that staff feel valued and listened to, and to give urgent priority to the development of community-based mental health services.
The strategy is due to be finalised next year, following a feedback exercise.
Kate Bell, interim director of Mental Health and Learning Disability Services in Tayside, said: “We are fully committed to making this strategy reflect the needs of all and, in particular, reflect the voices of people living with mental health conditions, their carers and families.
“We will continue to work with all stakeholders, including all staff who provide support, care and treatment across our mental health services.
“Mental health affects us all and we want to make as many people as possible in Tayside aware of how we are changing how we care for those in need of our services and supports.
“We are seeking everyone’s views on this first draft of the strategy so please get involved, share the strategy and survey, and give us your feedback to help us connect with as many people as possible.
“Our commitment is clear: we will Listen, Learn and Change with service users, carers and staff and families in mind.”
To take part visit the NHS Tayside website.
Link to Evening Telegraph article here