In Thursday’s Health and Wellbeing Board concerns were raised about how to get the Island talking about their mental health following the COVID pandemic.
Councillor Lilley said:
“People who are very proud are struggling but do not want to ask for help or admit to their distress. They are coming to a breaking point.”
Asking what could be done to ensure people know it is okay to ask for help, Cllr Lilley said people’s mental wellbeing would be the barrier to them rebuilding their lives.
Dr Lesley Stevens, Isle of Wight NHS Trust director of mental health, said while there had been a massive shift in the attitude towards mental health, there was still a huge way to go. She said when people have mental ill health sometimes a feeling of shame comes along with the symptoms, so it was almost built-in that it is difficult to access care.
One of the ways the trust is opening up the conversation on mental health is by making services accessible in different ways, either in person, through the phone or online.
During the pandemic, the trust’s psychological therapy services have been remotely working, gaining really good feedback.
In the next year, Dr Stevens said the trust had plans to open up a café-fronted service in the Island’s county town, potentially run by people with experience of mental health problems. Having gained some capital investment, she said the trust could buy a property to provide the cafe which would be an invitation for people to come in and access information or services for their mental health.
“It is that kind of very open, welcoming approach that we want to demystify mental health and make the point that it is for everybody.
“It has taken us a while to get there but it is on the horizon now.”
The NHS Trust will also be taking on the Sandown Civic Centre building to provide a mental health facility in The Bay area.