In his second review of the island’s mental health services, independent reviewer and mental health specialist David Gedze highlighted areas of disappointment from stakeholders, alongside some improvements made.
He has expanded on his 2018 recommendations to encourage further partnerships between second and third sector organisations to be the driving force to transform of the island’s mental health system.
‘There is a wide range of services across the island, but this is not the public perception,’ he said.
‘Some organisations with a high profile, such as Guernsey Mind, are very good at public facing and are generally well regarded.
‘A great deal more could be achieved through further work on the coordination of services, both within the third sector, and between secondary care and the third sector.’
He revealed that there was an assumption that the Oberlands Centre, rebranded this week as Guernsey Specialist Mental Health Services, should be providing support for all mental health needs, despite its highly specialised and time-limited service for people with the most complex needs, and those experiencing an acute crisis.
Several people reported feeling that they were not treated with compassion or empathy in the local system and were ‘passed from pillar to post’, but this could change with the reformation of a cross-department mental health and wellbeing steering group, to regularly check-in and review the system.
Since Mr Gedze’s last report in 2018, stronger pathways between organisations have been established, however he continued to recommend a greater partnership to monitor the time patients are held in secondary care, and for the island’s ‘rich network’ of third sector organisations to build pathways and bridge gaps between services.
‘Guernsey Mind has a good brand and reputation on the island, and demand for their services is high and increasing, and Healthy Minds receive approximately 100 referrals a month, 85% of which are self-referrals and the majority of which are accepted,’ said Mr Gedze.
‘There was a comment that people are held in secondary care services for too long, which could make them dependent, and although many people would like more services at Oberlands, it would be wiser to invest more in Healthy Minds.’
He described the Bailiwick’s service as ‘multiple times better’ than UK equivalents, with waiting times of weeks or months compared to years, but voids have still been identified between sectors, particularly huge gaps between adolescent and adult services.
It is hoped that the Oberlands rebranding will specify the service’s role in the mental health sector and signpost other organisations so people can find the most appropriate help for their needs.