NHS England has given a £4.5 million fund boost to improve the specialist support for residents with mental health illnesses for the next two years.

West Essex and Hertfordshire residents with moderate to severe mental health will benefit from the £70million national funding distributed to 12 areas across the UK.

Community mental health teams which work with people living in their own homes have a vital role in delivering services and bridging the gap between GP and specialist hospital care.

Dr Geraldine O’Sullivan, consultant psychiatrist and Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) clinical lead for mental health said:

“The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January this year, places a great emphasis on the need to transform community mental health services.

“We know that good mental health is just as important as our physical well-being and I am delighted that our proposal to develop local services in our area has been approved. The strength of local partnerships has made this funding possible.

“We will use the funding to test new ways of caring, with service users, General Practice, local authorities, the voluntary sector, families and carers, and local communities working together.

“The new approaches we use will ultimately help set the standard for patients across the country who need access to better community mental health treatments.”

Making help available for people with mental illnesses in their communities is vital, but can put a strain on GP practices, which are often the main source of support.

Improved access to psychological or ‘talking’ therapies, physical health care, employment support and medicines management help and support for people who self-harm will also be available.

Funding will focus on:

• Improving the ways in which adults with complex mental health difficulties, who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder, are treated

• Improving services for patients with eating disorders

• Testing new ways of supporting 18-25-year-olds with mental health problems

• Trialling new ways of using the mental health workforce to better meet the needs of different communities.

To find out more about the Hertfordshire and West Essex STP, visit www.healthierfuture.org.uk