Mental health services in Lambeth are being completely reshaped thanks to a collaboration between Lambeth council, health and voluntary sector organisations - with £1.9m being invested in the renewed push.
The new Lambeth Living Well Hub will provide a range of services to the whole of the borough from its base in the Streatham Job Centre building on Station Approach, Streatham and will open on Monday, June 29.
The project is led by the Lambeth Living Well Collaborative, a partnership transforming mental health services in Lambeth through a new and different approach. It is bringing together people who use mental health services in the borough, carers, providers of services and commissioners to look at new ways of supporting people in Lambeth who have suffered from mental ill-health to recover and stay well. It will also work to help people make their own choices and participate on an equal footing in daily life.
The Collaborative has been meeting since 2010, and has been working together to design and implement new and better ways of doing things in Lambeth.
The Lambeth Living Well Hub is one example, and is intended to be a new ‘front door’ to mental health services in the borough. It gives people with concerns about their mental health and wellbeing the chance to get support with their mental health, as well as other problems in their lives.
It will work closely with GP practices to provide an assessment and access to support for people from clinicians, social workers and voluntary sector for up to 12 weeks. The team can also offer other services such as peer support, benefits advice or onward referral to secondary mental health care and psychological therapies if this is appropriate.
The service was commissioned by Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and Lambeth Council and has been operating in the North of Lambeth since November 2013. Thanks to £1.9 million additional funding through the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity the approach is now being extended to cover the whole borough from June 29.
The Hub will have staff from a range of professions, including occupational therapists, support workers, social workers, mental health nurses, psychiatrists, and people with a lived experience of mental health. The Hub will also signpost people to support provided by agencies that are already working in the local community – including Every Pound Counts, the Job Centre, Certitude, Thames Reach and Mosaic Clubhouse.
This new approach has meant that many more people are seen and offered help, with fewer people moving into long term mental health services.
The job centre building was chosen as the location for the Hub as there was free available office space and there was an opportunity to train job centre staff to help them work better with people with mental health issues.
Programme Director, Sue Field, said: “The Hub has meant that we’ve been able to see people earlier, work with people sooner and help them access the support they need to get better quickly.”
“The new base in the Streatham Job Centre building will mean that the service will have much more space, but staff will continue to meet users in GP surgeries, their own homes, and other community facilities.”
Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth council cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I welcome this new investment, which should provide a real boost to mental health service users in the borough. We’re on a journey – in partnership with residents - to reorganise services, focusing on keeping people well and improving accessibility for all communities so that we can start to reduce our rates of mental illness in Lambeth. This is an important next step directing investment towards a more open, accessible user-led service.”
Oliver Smith, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity said: “With one in four people in the UK expected to experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives, we feel there’s a huge amount of work to be done on this area. In our role supporting new ideas to tackle major health challenges in Lambeth and Southwark, we are delighted to support the expansion of the Lambeth Living Well Collaborative, breaking down system silos so that mental health services are jointly created by service users and professionals, and leading to care in Lambeth that is both higher quality and more cost effective.”
The new services are delivered by a range of health and social care organisations including GP practices, Lambeth Social Care, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust as well as a range of voluntary sector organisations.