Government must prioritise investment in mental health services

6th March 2019

The Health and Social Security Panel are calling for the Government to provide stronger leadership and increase investment in staff and the mental health estate.

Read the report

As part of the Panel's review it collected a large amount of evidence from mental health service users, including via a survey which received 340 responses.

It is clear from this evidence that Jersey's mental health services are not meeting people's needs and expectations and that planned improvements to the services have stalled.

The Panel found that mental health services are suffering from a lack of leadership and a lack of investment. This is having a detrimental impact on service users and staff. 

It is clear to the Panel that the staff working in mental health services are dedicated and hardworking. They deserve recognition for maintaining services whilst operating in less than ideal circumstances.

In particular, the quality of the mental health estate is completely unacceptable. Many of the buildings are dilapidated, uninviting and not fit for purpose.

The Panel concluded that if services are to be improved, both these issues – leadership and investment – must be addressed as a priority.

In addition, mental and physical health need to be treated equally. The Government's plans to develop a new general hospital provide an ideal opportunity to ensure mental health is given parity of esteem with physical health.

Finally, service users should be put at the heart of any changes and improvements to mental health services. The Government should regularly ask service users their views on services and incorporate them into the design and delivery of these services.

Deputy Mary Le Hegarat, Chair of the Panel, said:

We wanted to make sure that the people who use mental health services were at the heart of our review. It is clear from the evidence we received that Jersey's mental health services are falling short of people's needs and expectations. If the Government wants to have high quality, safe and modern mental health services, it should provide stronger leadership and significant investment. This will help to support service users, the staff running mental health services and improve the mental health estate.

In addition to the Panel's main findings, the report also found:

  • That the Government should adopt a "co-production" approach to working with service users to design and deliver mental health services.
  • The Government should provide adequate support to community and voluntary organisations who provide what are essentially frontline services and fill gaps in statutory services.
  • The Government should ensure that General Practitioners (GPs) can play a full role in supporting patients with mental health problems.
  • The arrangements for people moving from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services needs to be improved.
  • The Government should explore how the process of transitioning – which can have a detrimental impact on people's mental health – could be improved for transgender people.

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