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Giving the green light to improved care
10/10/2017

​World Mental Health Day – 10 October

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has launched a new strategy to ensure that people with learning disabilities and/ or autism receive the right mental healthcare to meet their needs.

Called “A Green Light for Mental Health Services”, it details the steps which will take place over the next five years to make sure care is consistent and equitable to everyone, regardless of their diagnosis or where they live.

It has been launched on World Mental Health Day, which is organised by the World Health Organization to raise awareness of mental health issues. The theme of this year’s event is mental health in the workplace.

The strategy has been produced in partnership with service users, families, carers and stakeholders. It is made up of five pathways based on the 27 standards included in the Green Light Toolkit, which is a national audit tool used to assess the support which people are given to help them access mental health services.

They are:

- Accessibility of services – which will make sure people with learning disabilities (LD) and    autism receive equal services in accessible buildings, are given information in a way they     understand and have a care plan which they have helped to write. 

- Better health and wellbeing – which will support people’s wellbeing and help to keep them     healthy by making sure services make reasonable adjustments, such as offering longer     appointment times, so they are easier for people with LD or autism to use. 

- Working in partnership – which will encourage different services to work together to improve care, involve people with LD or autism and their families in service developments and ensure friends and relatives receive appropriate support. 

- Keeping safe – which will make sure people receive the right support to keep safe, for     example by providing support plans for those with challenging behaviour. 

- Strategic direction – which focuses on what NSFT and commissioners must do to meet     people’s needs, including providing staff training, taking part in research and using LD and     autism champions to make services better.

Sue Bridges, Professional Lead (LD/Autism) with NSFT, said: “People with learning disabilities and/ or autism as well as additional mental health problems have complex needs and need a lot of support and advice to enable them to access services. This strategy will help us to ensure that the right adjustments are put in place so they can do just that, and receive healthcare in the same way as everyone else.

“The strategy is an important part of our equality agenda and will ensure people with LD and/ or autism receive a consistently good service, regardless of where they live or what additional problems they may be facing. This will make a huge difference to their outcome and quality of life.”

Clare Smith, who has Asperger's syndrome, a type of autism, and helped to draw up the strategy, said: “I agreed to be a Green Light Champion because, like mental health trusts up and down the country, I knew how much change was needed at NSFT to support people with autism properly.

“What's in the strategy is strong and spot on and will put NSFT at the forefront of caring for people with LD/ autism when it’s carried through.”

Dr Jane Sayer, Director of Nursing and Quality at NSFT, said: “We are very proud to launch this strategy, which will improve our services for everyone by ensuring they are fair, equitable and as easy as possible for people with learning disabilities and autism to access.

“A lot of work has taken place to understand what we do well and those areas where we could do better, which means the strategy really focuses on the things which are important to people who use our services, and to their carers.”

The strategy will be monitored by a multi-agency strategy group and has been developed in an easy read format, at the request of service users who co-produced the document.

To read it, visit www.nsft.nhs.uk/our-priorities

To find out more about World Mental Health Day, visit http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2017/en/

For press enquiries, email: nsft.communications@nsft.nhs.uk