Healthwatch bristol quarter 1: mental health and wellbeing

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about their understanding of the term 'wellbeing', what services they access to improve their wellbeing ... members of t

HEALTHWATCH BRISTOL QUARTER 1: MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING APRIL – JUNE 2015 Healthwatch Bristol heard from children, young people and adults during April – June 2015 about their understanding of the term ‘wellbeing’, what services they access to improve their wellbeing, their attitude towards mental health and experiences of mental health stigma. This report summarises the key messages members of the public shared with Healthwatch on this topic.


You said… Healthwatch Bristol selects a topic each quarter to theme our work around (alongside continuing with all other streams of work and issues and concerns we receive). From April to June 2015, the Healthwatch Bristol Quarter Topic has been Wellbeing and Mental Health.


We’ve been asking people across Bristol: • what do you understand by the term ‘wellbeing’? • what would support you to maintain your wellbeing? • What do you think about when you hear the term ‘mental health’? • What experiences have you had of mental health services? Trends in feedback The key trends Healthwatch haS heard about mental health services are:  gaps between primary and secondary care services – this is both for people trying to get their GP to refer them to mental health services and from people who have been in mental health services and have been discharged by to their GP’s care;  bed spaces – difficulties discharging people from acute care settings means people needing a bed in a mental health setting are sometimes unable to be given one;

Feedback shared with Healthwatch Bristol at the Creativi-tea workshop.


 early intervention – people have praised social prescribing models and asked for more support in the community to engage in activities that support them with their wellbeing. This echoes the feedback given to Healthwatch by children and young people. Healthwatch Bristol has been working with LinkAge at their Wellbeing Days to speak to people about what helps them with their mental health and wellbeing;  confusion about the services in Bristol Mental Health – since the re-commissioning of some mental health services in Bristol, there has understandably been confusion about the changes to the services available and how they are provided. These concerns were raised by members of the voluntary and community sector at an event hosted by The Care Forum on 30 March 2015. Attendees asked for more information about the Bristol Mental Health Services. Healthwatch arranged for the system leads for Bristol Mental Health to speak at the Healthwatch Bristol open advisory group in June.

Healthwatch Bristol and Bristol Multi Faith Forum: faith and mental health Healthwatch worked with Bristol Multi Faith Forum and held an event to discuss the relationship between faith and mental health. The key messages from the event were:  stigma - participants recognised that stigma around mental health is a society wide issue, but in certain faith groups or community groups there is greater stigma around seeking help for mental illness than other faiths;  working together - participants asked that faith leaders and people in faith groups work together to start more conversations about mental health. There was a strong feeling that faith groups play an important role in supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing and that this should be recognised and utilised by mental health services. Rethink and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) have previously produced a list of recommendations to address many of the issues discussed at the Healthwatch and Bristol Multi Faith Forum meeting. Healthwatch are asking commissioners and services to readdress these recommendations.


Healthwatch Bristol and WellBeans: Words Unspoken, Shedding the Light on Male Suicide WellBeans is a social peer network set up by volunteers from Bristol who met through Time to Change. Healthwatch supported WellBeans to host the ‘Words Unspoken, Shedding the Light on Male Suicide’ event to open up discussion about men’s mental health and wellbeing. The evening featured a guest speaker with lived experience, talking about male suicide. There were also opportunities for people to share their experiences of mental health and wellbeing with Healthwatch to help the development of services in Bristol. The key messages people shared during the evening were:


 loneliness and isolation - it can be difficult for people with mental health illnesses or issues to meet people and socialise. People with mental health issues need more social opportunities to meet up, build confidence and self-esteem. Several commentators said that mental health service users would benefit from a fun and sociable group to take part in. They felt that service user groups for mental health service users were currently all in the form of participation boards or meetings and not about things that help service users develop their wellbeing eg going for a walk or day trip;  medication - The commentator said that before he attempted suicide, his GP kept prescribing different medication and as a result the commentator had a cupboard full of tablets in his home which made it easy for him to take an overdose in an attempt to commit suicide. He said that services should prescribe small amounts of medication and monitor the person’s use of the medication. He also said that there should be more support on an emotional level instead of health professionals using medication as a first and/or only treatment method;  early intervention - There was group agreement that health services should place more focus on getting people help at an early stage of their illness before they reach a point of considering or attempting suicide. Having shorter waiting times for counselling was given as an example of improving early intervention;  stigma in health services - The commentator said that he was worried professionals would not take him seriously if he said he was depressed or

had suicidal thoughts. He cited this as a reason why many people do not engage with mental health services;  education - The commentator said that learning about the science behind suicidal thoughts has helped him deal with them when he experiences them. He said that he learnt about the science through reading and wishes that he had been taught more about mental health and difficult thoughts before he experienced them. There was group agreement that more people should be given the opportunity to have mental health awareness training or mental health first aid training.

Healthwatch Bristol and Self Injury Support: Creativi-tea Healthwatch Bristol and Self Injury Support facilitated a ‘Creativi-tea’ workshop as part of Healthwatch Bristol’s quarter focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing. The event was an opportunity for people to get creative and discuss their experiences of mental health services. Healthwatch Bristol recognises that many people may feel uncomfortable attending a consultation event, especially where the topic is mental health. Events that ask people with experiences of mental health illness to discuss these experiences in a group format, may be inaccessible to many people or people may be deterred from attending for fear of being asked to speak about personal experiences in front of others. Healthwatch Bristol and SIS hosted Creativi-tea to provide people with an opportunity to come together in a nonthreatening environment and share their experiences, thoughts and feelings through creative activities. The event began with refreshments and attendees were invited to play around with the art materials whilst others arrived and settled in. There was no pressure to speak or share anything, although this was encouraged where people wished to share, there were also opportunities for attendees to write down their feedback anonymously on post-it notes, flip charts/whiteboards or Healthwatch Tell Us Your Story leaflets. The key messages from attendees were:


• GPs lack confidence in talking about mental health illness or issues with patients – people wanted GPs to be more open with them and willing to talk to them about their thoughts and feelings rather than use medication as the first option for treatment. People wanted their GP to invite them back for a follow up appointment in a couple of weeks’ time as they said this would stop them feeling like they were wasting the GP’s time or that the GP did not really want to see them. They also wanted GPs to make more referrals to social prescribing or holistic treatments as an alternative to medication; • follow up after a crisis – people who had experienced suicide attempts or been admitted to hospital due to self harm, said that there needed to be better follow up from GPs and community mental health services after people are discharged from hospital; • social isolation - participants said that mental health services should focus more on reducing their service users’ social isolation and see the patient as a whole person rather than a diagnosis; • dual diagnosis and access problems - there was frustration that sometimes people with dual diagnoses or who are using drugs or alcohol as well as having a mental health illness encounter difficulties accessing mental health services; • community mental health appointments - the group members had mixed feelings on the whether having mental health appointments in community venues was a good idea or not. Some people liked that the community venue challenged the stigma around mental health and made it easier for people to attend appointments. Other people said they did not feel comfortable attending a mental health appointment in a location that their neighbours or friends may be accessing other leisure or entertainment acilities.

Callington Road Bus You said: “The patients at the hospital need the support of family and friends and workers like myself who are reliant on the hospital bus.” “Carers’ will not be eligible for taxis paid for transport and as such will be disadvantaged by the termination of the service.” “What about parity of esteem.”


Healthwatch Bristol have been contacted by members of the public, service users, carers and organisations regarding the termination of the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) bus service to Callington Road Mental Health Hospital on 1 May. Concerns have been raised that, as the First Bus Number 36 service has also recently been stopped, access to Callington Road Hospital for patients, staff and family members by public transport has been severely reduced. Healthwatch Bristol contacted AWP and asked them for a response to the concerns. AWP promptly replied explaining that when they stopped the staff and patient bus, they had been assured by First Bus that the No 36 would be continued. They also stated that they will provide transport for those patients who are eligible. Anyone who is an inpatient is eligible. Healthwatch sent AWP’s response out to organisations across Bristol and asked for their comments. Feedback was that people were concerned that voluntary and community sector workers, family members and friends of patients, and people attending on a day patient or outpatient basis would not be able to access the hospital easily. People commented on the difference between the transport to hospitals such as Bristol Royal Infirmary and Southmead (largely physical health hospitals) which have public transport and buses paid for by their associated charities, and the transport and access to Callington Road hospital. Healthwatch has met with AWP. AWP states that running the Callington Road bus was costing almost £100,000 per year which was money that was having to be taken out of clinical care. AWP has written to the Mayor as has the CCG, to ask for public transport links to the Callington Road area to be addressed. A petition will also be sent to the Mayor shortly. Healthwatch will take this issue to the Health and Wellbeing board in August.

CAMHS Healthwatch Bristol has been working with children and young people to hear their feedback on children and adolescent mental health services. Healthwatch has submitted evidence to the Youth Select Committee and to Healthwatch England.


This evidence will be presented in Parliament in June. Healthwatch Bristol is hosting ‘Celebrating Youth Voice’ on 23 July. The event was for children and young people’s participation groups to come together, share what they are doing and plan to work together in the future. Their key messages will be taken to the Health and Wellbeing Board in August by Healthwatch Bristol.

Our Stories Blog Healthwatch Bristol has an ‘Our Stories’ blog through which people can share their experiences or tips for looking after their health and wellbeing. Current blogs include those written by Healthwatch volunteers about their experiences of mental health illness, blogs written by young people about what supports them to stay happy and a blog written by Ellen, the Healthwatch Bristol Service Coordinator about her experience of mental illness. The blog can be accessed using the following link:

Open Advisory Group At the end of each quarter Healthwatch Bristol hosts an open advisory group meeting to share with members of the public, service providers and commissioners what has been heard during the quarter and to encourage discussion between stakeholders. 45 people attended the Healthwatch Bristol open meeting on mental health and wellbeing on 24 June to hear presentations from Healthwatch Bristol, Bristol Independent Mental Health Network, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, Bristol Mental Health System Leads, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and Bristol Community Learning and Mental Health Project. There was also opportunity for people to ask questions, give their feedback via a creative wellbeing tree activity led by Healthwatch Bristol and enjoy a performance from the North Bristol Wellbeing Choir. A full summary of the meeting is available in the open meeting report.


Healthwatch will….. All the feedback provided by the group has been input into Healthwatch Bristol’s database of issues and concerns. It will be included in the Healthwatch Bristol quarterly issues and concerns report. Healthwatch will be sharing this report with Healthwatch partners including Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, Bristol City Council, The Care Quality Commission, NHS England and Healthwatch England. The report will also be presented to the Healthwatch Bristol Advisory Group to propose further uptake of the issues identified in this report. The report will be available on the Healthwatch Bristol website ( and circulated to our mailing lists via the monthly e-bulletin.

Looking forward…. Healthwatch welcomes and encourages everyone to continue to contribute their feedback to us using the communication methods included at the end of this report. Healthwatch also supports members of community groups to become Volunteer Champions so that they can represent the experiences and needs of their community group. If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Healthwatch, please contact us using the details below.

Tell Us Your Story…


Healthwatch Bristol wants to hear from you about your experiences so that we can tell services your needs to create the best local services. Text us - text bris followed by your message to 07860 021 603 email us at inf[email protected] Call us: 0117 2690400 Write to us at:

Healthwatch Bristol, The Care Forum, The Vassall Centre, Gill Ave, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2QQ

Or visit our website to see more at:


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