LETTER: Mental health

Your views.
Your views.

Re: community mental health support in Crawley:

Sussex Oakleaf have been providing community based mental health support in Crawley for over 12 years, and across Sussex for over 20 years.

In the recent past, alongside other mental health organisations, we have been looking at ways to deliver a wider range of services to a greater number of people within Crawley. When we operated from our base in Perryfield Road it was extremely popular with the individuals who made use of the services provided there. However, it became apparent that having a single recognised building base, whilst popular with those that used it, also meant that there were even more individuals who did not visit the building and were looking to access local services in different ways. We took the decision to focus on creating a timetable of activities and support that would be accessible across Crawley and not just from a single building.

Since we redesigned the services offered in Crawley we have increased the range of activities and support on offer and have managed to increase the numbers of people using our services by 15%. The service reaches out to those that need our mental health community services through offering one to one emotional and practical support in a variety of community settings. We meet people in a number of different venues where people feel comfortable e.g. libraries, cafes, family centres or private meeting rooms in accessible venues. Our frontline staff (recovery workers and peer mentors) support people to achieving their personal goals and support is tailored for the individual, focused upon maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing.

In addition, our community programme offers a range of social and activity based groups throughout the week, reducing social isolation and offering informal peer support. Our services reach out to groups that ordinarily might not engage in mainstream mental health services such as young people, black and minority ethnic groups and parents experiencing mental health problems. By providing outreach across the town we are able to meet people in non-stigmatising venues in the different neighbourhoods across Crawley. Since moving from Perryfield Road we have reached more people that need support through flexible accessible services that offer greater choice. We are working in partnership with more local agencies such as housing, debt and vocational services to meet people’s diverse health and social care needs, whilst taking into account wider social determinants of health. Our services can be accessed either by self-referral or through mental health professionals. Please contact our Crawley office on 01293 534 782 to self-refer or email accesscrawley@sussexoakleaf.org.uk.

Please visit our website for a more detailed overview of the services we offer in Crawley: http://www.sussexoakleaf.org.uk/community-wellbeing-west-sussex/

Caspar Murphy

Director of Operations and Business Development, Sussex Oakleaf

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