Since Brentwood Mind announced in January it was going to close at end of March I have been contacted by a number of constituents concerned about future help with the the mental health needs of themselves or members of their families.
I made immediate inquiries with the Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group on hearing the news Brentwood Mind was to close, to ensure counselling services would still be available to those who need them. I have now received the following response from the CCG's Senior Commissioning Manager for Mental Health, Alfred Bandakpara-Taylor:
"Basildon and Brentwood CCG as part of its commitment towards improving support to the local population in attaining optimum mental health is committed to commission services in line with the mental health investment standard. To this end the CCG has effectively increased its investment in mental with the newly commissioned IAPT(Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service which will delivered by Vita Health Group will be the provider of the Basildon & Brentwood from 1st April 2019.. IAPT Service This service will support and provide treatment for adults (18+) registered with a GP within Basildon & Brentwood CCG. The service will focus on providing support for:
• People experiencing common mental health problems;
• People experiencing substance misuse problems;
• People requiring psychological support within long term conditions (LTCs) and for people presenting with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS); and
• People with a dementia diagnosis.
We are also currently out procuring a MH and Wellbeing hub though this will be based in Basildon will effectively provide a service for all residents of Basildon & Brentwood registered with a local GP. The hub will undertake confidential non-clinical holistic assessments, offering a point for referral to mental health services and support. This will enable individual tailoring of interventions to support clients’ unique needs based on a personal understanding of the individual and a strong personal yet professional relationship, ensuring that professional boundaries are maintained at all times.
Regrettably we were notified of the closure of Brentwood MIND via a third party as it is not a service that is contractually commissioned by the CCGG. However we have sought to make contact to robustly engage with them and seek an understanding of the numbers of individuals accessing the service so we can sign post them to currently commissioned statutory and non-statutory services. Even though they have declined the offer of a meeting we continue to seek engagement to provide support and sign posting for patients.
At present “Therapy for You” delivered via EPUT continues to provide commissioned IAPT and counselling interventions for the local population and I would advise that individuals to be sign posted to them till the 1st of April."
Tackling poor mental health in the UK must be a priority and Ministers have legislated to ensure it is treated with the same importance as physical health. I am also extremely encouraged by the news that, as part of the five-year funding offer that will see the NHS budget grow by over £20.5 billion a year, mental health services will receive an additional £2 billion per year.