£1.6m cash boost for Suffolk mental health services after Covid

The Wellbeing Suffolk service has been granted £1.6mil to expand 

The Wellbeing Suffolk service has been granted £1.6mil to expand - Credit: Time to Change

Campaigners have welcomed a £1.6million boost for east and west Suffolk mental health services - amid rising levels of anxiety and depression after the Covid-19 crisis.

The NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) approved the £1.6million expansion of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) Wellbeing Suffolk service earlier this month.

Part of the service provides psychological support for people who are 16 or older and experience depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, specific phobias and problems with sleeping.

Evidence demonstrates those with long-term physical health conditions are more likely to develop mental ill-health.

It is estimated that people with two or more long-term physical conditions are seven times more likely to experience depression than those without.

The recruitment and training of clinical and support staff means services will be accessible to at least 18,645 adults by 2024 — an increase of nearly 2,500 people.

Guenever Pachent is chair of the Suffolk User Forum — a Suffolk mental health charity

Guenever Pachent is chair of the Suffolk User Forum — a Suffolk mental health charity - Credit: Archant

Guenever Pachent, chairwoman of the Suffolk User Forum, said: “Sadly, Suffolk User Forum has seen a larger number of people experiencing distress, anxiety and depression over the last six months.

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"We welcome this additional funding for psychological therapies and look forward to the services being easy to access, straightforward to use and what individual service users need.” 

Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “It is positive that our health and care leaders are recognising the impact of the pandemic on people's wellbeing.

Andy Yacoub is chief executive for Healthwatch Suffolk

Andy Yacoub is chief executive for Healthwatch Suffolk and said the funding was a positive step to combat effects of the pandemic - Credit: Gregg Brown

"Additional investment in the provision of local mental health services and support is always welcome, particularly as we know so many have found it difficult to obtain mental health treatment and support in Suffolk.

"We hope this investment will go some way to reducing waiting times and helping people to find the treatment and advice they need sooner."

Robyn Fiorio, Wellbeing Suffolk service manager, said the funding was even more important in the wake of the Covid pandemic, which has created more demand for mental health support.

She added: “We would encourage anyone who is experiencing common mental health problems such as low mood, depression or anxiety to visit our website to find out more about the variety of ways in which we can help.”

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