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Enhancing mental health support in Knowsley

by Cathy Sheel

A series of recommendations aimed at enhancing the way adults experiencing mental ill health in Knowsley are supported by services have been agreed by Cabinet.

The recommendations came from the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee following a review of existing services and support in the borough.

The committee undertook the scrutiny review to provide an overview of adult mental health services in Knowsley with a focus on preventative services and how residents can be supported to access help at the earliest opportunity.

After considering evidence presented by Council officers, officers from NHS Cheshire and Merseyside (Knowsley), and from providers across the health, care, and voluntary and community sectors, the Scrutiny Committee made seven recommendations:

  • Partners continue to invest in and emphasise the importance of prevention and early intervention to help reduce unnecessary demand on crisis services
  • partners work closely to ensure that arrangements for commissioning services represent good value for money and respond to local need
  • removing barriers to accessing mental health support, including raising awareness of the availability of service provision, as well as accessible locations and clearer routes of access
  • agencies working together across the healthcare system to agree clear definitions and consistent language to describe service offers
  • Elected Members be supported to act as advocates within the community by measures including a mental health seminar and regular information updates
  • the Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health services continue to work alongside the Council’s Stronger Communities team to support services delivered by the community, including relaunching the Adult Social Care Micro-Fund
  • ensure that there is sufficient hardship support available for people who are experiencing mental ill health as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. This includes £165,000 funding for a bespoke service for residents experiencing mental ill health due to financial challenges.

In supporting the recommendations, Cabinet asked for a review after six and 12 months to ensure the implementation and to monitor the impact of agreed actions.

Cllr Christine Bannon, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health said: “We welcome the scrutiny committee recommendations and the vital role they will play in enhancing the services we provide for those experiencing mental ill health. The majority of the recommendations confirm and build upon existing good practice and are already embedded in the work of service providers in Knowsley.”

Cllr Del Arnall, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care added: “The review recognised that there are many strengths in the approaches that have been taken so far to support residents and also recognised the commitment and energy being shown by those involved in delivering services. However, it is a sad truth that the cost-of-living crisis felt by residents will undoubtably increase demand on mental health services, which makes the recommendations from this review even more vital.”

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