Sheffield's mental health services are too difficult to access, report finds

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Mental health services in Sheffield are difficult to access and not working well - that is the message from people trying to navigate the system.

More than 350 people took part in a survey by watchdog Healthwatch Sheffield, which asked their opinions on all health and social care services.

Mental health was the most widely-discussed issue. One person said: "It’s just a nightmare trying to get any mental health service at present, things only get worse.

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"I’ve been waiting over three years to get talking therapy, I keep trying to ring the crisis helpline but it’s always an answer phone."

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL A woman showing signs of depression. Picture: PAPICTURE POSED BY MODEL A woman showing signs of depression. Picture: PA
PICTURE POSED BY MODEL A woman showing signs of depression. Picture: PA

People want tailored mental health support and want to raise awareness and challenge social stigma.

They also want greater control and involvement and there was a strong sense that local people should have a say in how services are delivered.

Healthwatch said people struggled to access services due to long waiting times and particularly felt adrift in a crisis.

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Its report says: "Generally, those who spoke to us saw mental health services as ineffective. People felt that there needs to be more tailored provision for people with a range of different needs and life circumstances, including children and young people, people from ethnic minorities, women, and elderly people.

"At the same time, we heard that mental health is impacted by wider social issues such as poverty and stigma and that awareness on these issues needs to be raised in the community and across the public sector.

"Finally, it was suggested that patients should be better informed about their mental health treatment and that the community as a whole should be better informed about changes to services including reasons for the closure of services."

Healthwatch launched its survey in early 2020 and the responses will help shape its work over the next 18 months. The report outlines issues before coronavirus hit. The full survey can be read here

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