Guernsey Press

Steering group to focus on promoting wellbeing

CONNECTING existing mental health services and promoting general wellbeing is the focus for the States’ new steering group.

Mignot House at the PEH from where the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service operates. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32497439)

The context is based on the previous strategy, which has been refreshed to cater for a post-pandemic community which has also seen a decline in mental health as proven by data.

‘I think mental health and wellbeing is a fundamental importance, but we’re going to focus not only on mental illness, but also on mental wellbeing and how we can promote good mental health and wellbeing,’ said director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink.

‘We will also acknowledge links with spiritual wellbeing, physical wellbeing and social wellbeing and having holistic type of approaches.

‘As new evidence emerges, the strategy will be developed by the multidisciplinary group which is just so important.

‘It’s not only statutory services, it’s wider sectors and the people with lived experience, which are fundamental in helping to develop the strategy.’

The first strategy was approved in 2013 when £24m. went into the continued development of specialist units at the Oberlands, replacing the Castel Hospital as a focus for mental health services.

Since 2013, an amendment to the Policy & Resources plan stated that mental health was of equal importance to physical health, and in July 2021, the Government Work Plan first agreed to balance the needs of islanders with an emphasis on health and wellbeing.

Mental health social worker David Gedze reviewed the island’s specialist mental health services in 2018, providing recommendations, and again in 2022 to review the progress and assess the wider services available.

The steering group aims to act on the recommendations which remain outstanding from five years ago.

Data from outside the health and social care sector will also be used to connect all services.

‘We have 53 bits of data that we’re collecting from primary care, secondary care and specific data from services about how many referrals they are getting, how many are being accepted or rejected, and why,’ said public health programme manager Heather Ewert.

‘We’re also looking at data wider than that, including poverty and housing indicators.’

A spreadsheet containing all data will be made publicly available annually, as will the progress of each action outlined in the strategy.