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Health / New mental health partnership planned

A NEW partnership is set to be formed in Shetland to improve outcomes for people and communities affected by mental health difficulties.

At its core will be a short life steering group which will run for one year.

The project, which is called Good Mental Health for All, will require funding of around £65,000.

It was included in a series of directions approved by Shetland’s health and social care partnership at a meeting on Wednesday.

The integration joint board (IJB) sets out annual directions to Shetland Islands Council and NHS Shetland for the coming year.

Public health principal Elizabeth Robinson told Wednesday’s meeting that the project is designed to encourage a more community based approached response to mental health.

She said it was “very much about moving people away from needing to access formal mental health services and building the capacity of people themselves, their friends, their families, their workplaces”.

There will be a focus on normalising people supporting each other, Robinson said.

A report on the new mental health partnership said the project will build on work already underway across local agencies.

The purpose is to tackle the local factors behind poor mental health, and to reach “effective solutions”.

The steering group meanwhile will work to inform the development of a multi-agency partnership to implement a refreshed mental health strategy for Shetland.

This strategy will “set out a shared vision for good community mental health in Shetland, that balances ‘promotion’, ‘prevention’ and ‘care and treatment’”.

Meanwhile head of mental health services Karen Smith told Wednesday’s meeting that the longest wait for psychological therapies this time last year was 159 weeks.

But due to progress made that figure now stands at 53 weeks.