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Healthwatch places mental health at the top of its agenda

PUBLISHED: 16:01 26 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:01 26 January 2016

Ian Buckmaster, Healthwatch Havering

Ian Buckmaster, Healthwatch Havering

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Consumer health champion Healthwatch has named mental health services its number one priority for 2016.

More than half of Healthwatch’s 152 regional groups raised the issue of access to and quality of mental health services.

Branches across the country highlighted a range of concerns, citing reports from the public about lengthy waiting times for treatment referrals, GPs “not understanding” their mental health needs and a lack of community and crisis care.

Ian Buckmaster, of regional branch Healthwatch Havering, said: “For Healthwatch Havering an important issue this year is whether or not mental health services receive the promised government increase in funding.

“In addition, meeting the new mental health waiting times targets such as people with common mental health conditions being referred to talking therapies within six weeks of referral, with 95per cent treated within 18 weeks, will be essential for this year.

“We therefore welcome the increased awareness of mental health demonstrated by the Recorder’s initiative and hope that it increases understanding in the community of this vital area of health and social care.”

Vanessa Bennett, chief executive of Havering Mind said: “We are pleased to see that the Health watch network have made mental health a top priority. A key area to this is peoples access to mental health services. We hope that this campaign will highlight the services available for local people who need them.”

The Recorder has launched a major mental health awareness campaign with charity Havering Mind, which will run throughout 2016. Through Mind Your Mental Health we aim to break down the stigma that persists and share advice for analysing and improving the wellbeing of our community. To find out more click here.

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