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Posted on 30 August 2019

Mental health support project praised in NHS report

A successful project providing peer mentor support across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre for people with mental health issues has had a significant positive impact, according to a recent evaluation report published by the NHS.

Delivered by Acorn Recovery Projects and funded by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT), the project was launched to help ease pressures on the NHS.

By finding passionate and enthusiastic people, with lived experience of a range of social issues, to support people with mental health issues and with further complex needs, the project has helped free up clinicians’ time to provide more specialist support.

The project provides authentic, client-led support to people who would otherwise attend A&E, and who are engaging with the Community Mental Health Teams to work on their recovery goals. It also provides quick and efficient access to peer support at point of access at A&E to those who need it.

For service users, peer mentors aim to act as supportive companions and to be trusted allies in their recovery journey, using their lived experience of a range of social issues as a real life example that recovery is possible.

Last year, NHS mental health services in Lancashire experienced a significant rise in demand, which placed further pressures on the support provided.

Since launch, the project has already had a positive impact on NHS services in the region:

  • 88% of NHS staff have said that the project has freed up clinical time
  • 85% say that the project has helped maintain mental health stability among patients
  • 77% of staff said the project has improved the quality of care
  • A&E targets for patients being seen within 1 hour have significantly improved
  • Feedback from patients has also been extremely positive.

The pilot project is due to run to January 2020.

Tom High, LCFT Service Implementation Lead for Acorn Recovery Projects, said:

“I’m delighted that the hard work, dedication and passion of the staff working on the project has delivered such promising early results for the individuals accessing their support.

“The human impact stories we have seen have been inspiring and I’d like to thank all of the Acorn and LCFT staff involved for their huge contributions.

“We now look towards sustaining and improving upon this really positive start to such an innovative project.”

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