Improving access to support

Working together with our communities to understand what needs to be improved.

When setting up the Improving Mental Health in Portsmouth project, we held a series of discovery events to understand what matters most to people when they get mental health support. The feedback from these events showed that we needed to focus on improving access to the right mental health support at the right time.

People attending the workshops said they found it hard to get support and struggled to understand the different types of support available to them.

Improving access to mental health support has been the biggest focus of the programme so far, and we’ve held a series of workshops to make sure we work together with our community to understand what needs to be improved.

This work is still ongoing, and you can find out how to get involved below.

Female: This week, we’ve been holding our second stage of workshops and asking people from across the city – so, other professionals from different organisations, people who use our services, carers – to come in and give us feedback about what they think mental health services need to look like from an access point of view, from that first point of contact.

So, how do we produce services, and particularly our focus is on access on mental health services in the city, that are coproduced – so that’s being produced by people who use the services and work in the services. And that’s our aspiration is to radically rework how our services are designed.

Male: We had a programme to ask questions and a voice in everything, and it was good feedback. We had experienced people around the table, and it’s always important to tell your story, whatever you’re doing. We are a community that cares.

Female: So this builds on a previous round of workshops we held that were much more conversational, that asked people what do they think are the challenges of accessing mental health services in the city, what would be useful, what does it need to look like. So this week we’ve been asking again, what does that need to be and asking for more detail. We’ve been so, so fortunate – people have been giving us some absolutely brilliant feedback about what things need to look like and feel like in order to meet the population’s needs.

Male: Workshops like the one that was on today are important because it’s good to get in a room with a lot of like-minded individuals, a lot of people with shared passions and shared interests. It was very interesting because already within five minutes, I’d learnt something new, and some new things I’m going to take to my service and team, and ultimately I think it’s going to be a benefit to the clients that we all support.

Female: When we’re looking and talking about people that we work with we know that they’re not just an individual, they’re part of a much bigger network so it’s about engaging and working with those people who are around that individual. So, obviously them, themselves, their family, their friends, their community, their social support groups – anywhere they also might have contact because we need to get their information so we can design things that work, that are realistic. And as we get more of a fixed idea of the model we will deliver in Portsmouth we can test it with the groups that will use it in the future.

Male: The word is awareness. I now am learning more and more because of today about mental health, the stigma. I’m hoping I can pass that on with my voluntary work to help other people, and help yourself as well.

Female: It’s incredible to have so many people who are so keen to share their ideas and give feedback about how things should be and what should happen with the city.

Male: I work daily with the clients that are using the services on a daily basis and I think it’s important to have people from all kind of steps and all kind of areas in that because at the end of the day we’re all using it and I think it’s important to get that feedback on what’s going to work and what isn’t. I think it’s important to have so many voices included so you can represent every kind of demographic and every group has a chance to be represented. You have to be inclusive, you have to be open, I think it’s one of the only ways you can be successful.

Female: So, our hope from here is that we now have enough information to at least start putting those first steps together about what services will look like. The coproduction part of it, the joint working to design something, will continue.

My hope for the future from these workshops and the work that were doing over the next few years is that the people of Portsmouth will be able access really excellent services that will be able to support with their mental health and enable them to see the right person quickly, in order that they can get on and live happy, meaningful lives.

Workshops and events

To help bring together people in our community, we held a series of three workshops to help us understand how we can make mental health support more accessible. This involved designing our new ways of working.

Series one

In April 2022, we delivered the first series of design workshops. These focused on how we can improve people’s journey to getting support.

See the feedback from the first series of workshops.

Series two

Following on from the first series of workshops we met again in May 2022, to build on our previous ideas and discuss how we can improve our future ways of working.

We discussed the idea of a ‘hub’ and how this would improve people’s journey to getting support.

See the feedback from the second series of workshops.

Series three

In the final series of our design workshops, we met in July 2022 to review the ‘hub’ model.

See the feedback from the third series of workshops.

How you can get involved

As we start to make changes, your feedback will be vital in helping us to continue improving, so everyone can get the mental health support they deserve.

We’re keen for more people to get involved, especially people with lived experience, carers, volunteers and professionals from across the city. We also welcome people who have an interest in mental health, and who are passionate about making a difference.

Find out more about how you can get involved.