Agenda item

Mental Health Strategy


The Deputy Mayor (Communities, Equalities & Public Health) thanked the Public Health team, the Bristol North Somerset South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG), and the Voluntary and Community Sector, with regard to the response and work undertaken within the context of COVID-19;  that everyone needed to pivot quickly in terms of the work which was required surrounding mental health. It was noted that learning from the lockdown highlighted the need to prioritise mental health due to the effect on the work force, children, parents, and our communities. 


The Consultant in Public Health and the Co-Chair BNSSG Mental Health Cell (COVID-19 Response) introduced the report.


·      The Commission was advised that the strategy was evolving with continual revision based on wider participation so as to embed learning; and that this was a ‘whole system’ approach, which took into account interconnectivity of different areas, importance of relationships, and utilised co-production.


·      Members were advised that there was mental health helpline available; 24/7 Support & Connect, which was a confidential helpline staffed by experienced counsellors, who people could talk to with emotional support provided.  People would also be able to be connected to appropriate organisations in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. The helpline number (available 24 hour) was provided: 0800 0126549.


·      There was a discussion about waiting lists for mental health provision, and Members were informed there were a range of metrics created, and Members welcomed the offer of details to be circulated.


The Senior Public Health Specialists introduced the work streams which supported the COVID-19 response, including Children, Young People, Schools & Students; Thrive at Work; Communities; Mental Health Literacy; Suicide prevention and self-harm reduction.


·      Members were advised that the plans were closely aligned with the BNSSG strategy.


·      It was noted by Members it was positive that there was a focus on prevention.


·      The closure of the wards at the Priory was noted by Members and there was a discussion about how the strategy intersects with the need for acute care.  Members were advised that there was close working relationship with the BNSSG CCG, and the need for in-patient beds, including for young people, was taken seriously and would be pursued.


·      Members were advised that beds were commissioned by NHS England, and so was a national issue, but meetings had been undertaken with NHS England and the CCG about the matter.

·      It was noted that the Health Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee of the People Scrutiny Commission) had received a briefing on the issue of acute care and availability of beds.


·      The Commission enquired about availability of support for the Council’s workforce, and Members were advised that, within the Thriving at Work stream, there had been collaboration with the Council’s Health & Wellbeing Manager to ensure appropriate services and training were available for staff; Council staff also have access to support through the Employee Assistance Programme.


·      There was a discussion about mental health resource within schools, and Members were advised that there was a series of funding and teams would be trained and ready to work in schools. 


·      Members were advised that commissioned services would include counsellors undertaking 1:1 with children in schools. These teams would be established and services available by the beginning of 2022.


·      Members were advised that the strategy rightly had a lot of focus on Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic communities; and also on older people and those with disabilities – including having specific related criteria for community grants applications.  There had been several applications received from groups representing older people and disabled people.


·      The Mental Health at Work Commitment was discussed and Members were advised that, following the Stevenson/Farmer Review of Mental Health and Employers report in 2017, 25 organisations were brought together into the Thriving at Work Leadership Council which had developed the Mental Health at Work commitment. Thrive at Work Bristol worked with local businesses to encourage City-wide sign up to the commitment and implementation of the standards, to create mentally healthy workplaces in Bristol.


·      It was agreed that Members would receive further details to inform any more questions and to help communicate the commitment to businesses across Bristol.






·         The Commission noted the report;


·         The Commission receive details of how waiting lists are monitored, including detail and explanation of the range of metrics created;


·         The Commission receive information about the Employee Assistance Programme and mental health support for the Council workforce;


·         The Commission request further details from the BNSSG Mental Health Cell (COVID-19 Response) about how older people and people with disabilities negatively affected by Covid-19 are identified and supported;


·         The Commission receive further information about the Mental Health at Work Commitment and Members communicate to businesses across the city.


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