A local NHS Trust has reconfirmed it’s commitment to social inclusion for people living in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield who have mental health problems.
South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust hosted a special conference last November to bring people together to talk about social inclusion and discuss what it meant for them. A report from the ‘Am I included?’ conference has now been produced and highlights the Trust’s commitment to working with partner organisations to promote social inclusion.
People with mental health problems can easily become isolated because of their illness and lose contact with family and friends and community support networks. Services linked to mainstream activities in, for example, education, leisure and employment can help promote recovery, and are the basis of social inclusion. The report can be accessed here.
In the forward to the report Steven Michael, Chief Executive, said, "Social inclusion is one of the most important aspects of a modern mental health service and one of our biggest challenges. Over the past 40 years we have moved away from the old asylum model, which was a deliberate act of social exclusion, towards a much more integrated community model of care."
The conference bought together people who had been involved in reviewing Trust day services to ensure they fit in with a modern model of mental health care. Conference delegates included people who use mental health services, their carers, commissioners, staff from the local authority, NHS and voluntary sector organisations.
Steven continued, "It has been emphasised in numerous reports on social inclusion that a key component of progress is strong partnerships. We need to work together with our colleagues in local authorities, the wider NHS and voluntary organisations to develop outcomes that will promote opportunities and choice for people we work with that are meaningful and lasting."
Suggested actions from the conference included: removing barriers between services to help achieve real contact with local community services; address obstructions to education and employment; and health promotion programmes to de-stigmatise mental illness.
Phil Walters, Head of Public Involvement at the Trust said, "It was great to get people together at the conference, particularly to hear the views of people who use mental health services and their carers. I hope the publication of this conference report will help keep the momentum going, especially amongst our colleagues who commission mental health services.
"As we move closer towards becoming a Foundation Trust, a different type of NHS Trust based on membership, further opportunities are available to us. Nearly 8000 local people have joined us as members and having this large membership means more community ownership and a move towards mental health becoming everyone’s business. I hope more local people will join us as members to champion mental wellbeing and challenge stigma which will, in turn, promote social inclusion for people with mental health problems."