Championing Person Centred Support in Mental Health

Last week we were joined at New Hope residential service in New Cross by local MP and shadow minister for disabled people, Vicky Foxcroft. Vicky’s visit could not have come at a more apt time as on the day the government made announcements about benefits spending reductions, alongside the publication of figures including 15,000 people losing their lives by suicide in one year whilst under the care of Community Mental Health Teams.

New Hope residents were incredible in sharing their experiences of mental health services and the impact of the institutionalised way in which they were often treated in statutory services, both in terms how they are spoken to and how their care has been prescribed without their own voice and experience being accepted and acknowledged as valid.

Residents also shared insight into how mental health services have changed over the years, and we shared observations about how salient person-centred care is, but also how simple respect and active listening can be transformative when applied by professionals.

Vicky shared her understanding that mental health services are understaffed and that leads to gaps in service which affect patients. She reiterated Labour’s pledge to recruit 8,500 more mental health staff to meet the rising needs in society for mental health support and that reform of the Mental Health Act would be a priority if elected to government. This week, Labour leader Keir Starmer echoed this pledge as well plans for an open access early intervention hub in every community.

We reiterate the need for mental health services to ensure training to be inclusive, so that reforms to mental health legislation can be reflected in frontline care services because that is where care and support counts; at the point of access when people need their dignity upheld. Accountability must be mandated into mental health act reforms so that fair practice can be evidenced and reinforced.

Adam Moll​​​​, Director of External Affairs