Unveiled: A fresh approach to mental health in North East Lincolnshire

A new five-year mental health strategy in North East Lincolnshire, developed by people who have experienced mental health difficulties together with the organisations that provide support, was launched on World Mental Health Day.

The theme this year is “Mental Health is a Universal Right” and the strategy aims to create a supportive environment where everyone experiences the best mental health they can.

Local health and care services increasingly rely on the expertise of people who have needed services or cared for people who have needed services to help them create better support designed with the community rather than in a distant office.

In February of this year, mental health experts by experience led an event in Grimsby that brought local people, carers, the voluntary sector and organisations that plan and provide services together. The event challenged people to talk about what good services should look like, what needs changing and what steps everyone could take to support one another to enjoy better mental health.

The five-year strategy will support people to:

  • Be comfortable to talk about their mental health and wellbeing.
  • Nurture communities to be mentally healthy, safe and supportive.
  • Improve people’s quality of life by timely and easy access to mental health information, support and services.
  • Involve people in decisions about their mental health and care.

“Mental health is a fundamental aspect of overall wellbeing and it is vital that we create a society where mental health is nurtured, valued and support is accessible to everyone,” said Simon Beeton, Chair of the North East Lincolnshire Mental Health Sector Network.

“All of the organisations involved in planning and providing mental health services in North East Lincolnshire have really gone back to basics and challenged one another to ensure that this strategy really does meet the needs of the people in our communities.

“We could not have got to the point we are at without the expertise of people who experience mental ill health first hand and who have dedicated hours to working very closely with us with this to make sure we get it right.”

Senior leaders have today signed the strategy at a launch event in Grimsby. The launch event will use the growth of a flower as the theme to tell the story of the Expert’s involvement in the strategy from the start and everyone at the event will make a pledge to be included as a partner to help to deliver the strategy’s objectives. Like the original event, the launch event will also be interactive, planned and presented by the Expert by Experience leaders using their own words.

“For myself and my fellow Experts by Experience, working on this project has been rewarding, but not without challenge as we have passionately shared our own personal experiences and struggles to hundreds of people at events and meetings. I personally know people who have sadly lost their lives to suicide, so I’ve felt passionate about supporting this work. We all hope that by being honest about our experiences, we have represented the people in North East Lincolnshire well and that this new strategy will ultimately, save lives” said Marc, a local Expert by Experience.

“I am proud to have contributed towards this strategy” continued Marc, “and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisations for listening, understanding and taking on board the honest, positive and constructive criticism to better the lives of everyone in our area”.

Helen Kenyon, Place Director of North East Lincolnshire for the ICB attended the event in February and said “it was wonderful to attend this very successful event. It was clear that with active listening to honest speaking and a willingness to come together we can learn, evolve and positively impact on our services so that they meet the needs of our communities. This strategy stands as a beacon of what can be achieved when we work together”.