Improving Mental Health Services Provision in North West

Mental illness is rising amongst children, young people and adults. One in six school-aged children has a mental health problem, and this is likely to have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health services are struggling to meet this rising demand for help, and patients must navigate a complex network of services to receive care, which includes NHS, local authorities and voluntary, community, faith, and social enterprise groups. Long waiting times can lead to further decline in mental health, affecting social outcomes and increasing the need for urgent treatment. Working in partnership with Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCFT) we will map patients’ movements through LSCFT services. We look at the capacity in different parts of the system and patient flow between services, including close investigation of inequalities in access and various barriers. Working with people who design healthcare services we will improve patient flow through the system and ensure the mental health patients get the support they need.

The project is led by CHICAS staff in collaboration with a diverse group of researchers from Lancaster Medical School including PhD candidate student Hayley Lowther.