MENTAL health services in Worcestershire are set to receive a vital cash injection which they will use to change how they deliver care to communities. The money will help create more dedicated mental health teams with a pledge that people will wait less than 28 days to get help from a professional.

A pilot has already seen the Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams rolled out in Herefordshire, Malvern and the Wyre Forest in a bid to ensure everybody who has ‘a need’ can access mental health services in a ‘timely fashion’.

The changes are thanks to the extra £14.2 million is being invested in mental health services across Herefordshire and Worcestershire this year - in line with NHS England’s Long-term Plan.

A spokesman for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said: “We have used some of the additional NHS investment that we received in 2020 to change the way that we deliver services in Herefordshire, Malvern and the Wyre Forest – creating new mental health teams around groups of GP surgeries as part of a national pilot. This has meant that the majority of people who are experiencing mental health problems and who need support will wait less than 28 days to get help from a mental health professional. Later in 2021, we will receive around another £1.3 million in NHS funding to allow us to roll out Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams to the rest of Worcestershire too.”

He added: “Demand for mental health services has been consistently high. We assessed around 43,000 people last year with mental health problems. This was 11 percent up on the previous year. We are working continuously to ensure waits are minimised and that people can access the support they need as soon as possible.

“Covid-19 did have some impacts on our services during the early part of 2020 because much of our existing offer was based on face to face therapy and group work which we were not able to deliver due to the restrictions. However, we resumed face to face contact with patients where this was appropriate during the Summer 2020 and are also using video-conferencing and telephone contact to deliver treatment.

“We offer everybody access to our all-age 24/7 Mental Health Helpline - 0808 196 9127 Free phone (24 hrs a day 365 days a year). This provides support and signposting to anybody struggling with mental health problems. It has been extremely well-used this year – seeing a six percent increase in calls since April 2020 and is currently helping over 1,100 people every month.

Have you experienced problems when seeking help for mental health issues? Get in touch, by emailing reporter, Jemma Bufton. We love hearing from you.