Improving access to mental health services

This week the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel has shared its findings from a review into mental health services in Bracknell Forest.

As a result of the pandemic, demand for mental health services has been increasing. The review into services in Bracknell Forest focused on accessibility to early support and heard from residents on their own experiences.

The review found a large variety of services are available in the borough with different ways of accessing them. A wide range of workers, including GPs, social prescribers, and primary care link workers, can refer people to access mental health support, as well as residents being able to self-refer or contact services directly. In addition, it was evidenced that strong relationships between the council, the NHS and other health partners continue to grow, acting as a solid base for future improvements.

When listening to the experience of local residents, the panel identified practical actions that the council and our partners can take to help people access support more easily, including:

  • creating a personal connection with the service
  • bringing the service into the community to remove fear of the unknown
  • demonstrating how people can be involved in their own care and make choices about their recovery

Cllr Mike Gibson, Chair of the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel, recognised the additional pressures of the new COVID-19 variant across all health services, including mental health, saying:

“Our recommendations are made against a changing environment, and we thank all our health and support workers for their hard work throughout these challenges. 

“This review has highlighted the range of mental health services on offer in Bracknell Forest and the great work our partners do in delivering them, especially through the pandemic.

“One of the key strengths of scrutiny is making things more visible. Through our public meetings, and the related press coverage, we have been able to show some of the many services that are there for people in the borough. There are many more services out there, and our recommendations are designed to help more people access the services they need.”

If you or someone you know are struggling with your mental health, or would like more information on the services available in Bracknell Forest, please the mental health and well-being page.