In Somerset, people with actual lived experience of mental health issues, their carers, doctors and other health and care professionals, and local community and voluntary organisations have worked together to develop a vision for future mental health services.

Since we talked to people in autumn 2018 a great deal of thinking has led to the development of a new vision and way of working for mental health services, based on some key commitments.

There are some real changes:

We’ll work closely with each individual to develop the right ‘wrap-around’ support to meet their mental, emotional and physical healthcare needs.

That means dissolving the boundaries between different services and joining up health and social care, GP, community and more acute hospital-based support with peer support, voluntary and community organisations.

Navigators will help people who don’t know where to go to find the right place and the right kind of help.

More support will be rooted in community neighbourhood settings, closer to home and working alongside each person’s network of support.

People have told us that they want people with a mental health condition to have the same kind of life expectancy as people with physical health conditions.

In January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan (link www.longtermplan.nhs.uk) was published, setting out a blueprint for the future of the NHS over the next ten years. The plan describes how more investment in mental health care will be a key focus for the NHS going forward. It includes a series of specific commitments to improve mental health services.

Our vision for mental health is fully aligned with the NHS Long Term Plan and will support its implementation in Somerset.