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Hartlepool council set to launch mental health investigation

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Steps have been taken by council bosses to launch an investigation in to the provision of mental health services in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee laid out their plans for its scoping report into mental health service in the area.

The committee decided to focus on ‘prevention’ and volunteers were selected to focus on reporting research from three separate groups.

Coun John Tennant volunteered to focus on those of working age, Coun Sandra Belcher and Coun Brenda Loynes said they would focus on the care for older people and  Coun Ged Hall nominated himself to focus on children and young people.

The councillors will gather information from the service users and groups, to be fed back to the council.

The aim of the investigation for the council is to focus on understanding the preventative mental health services provided in Hartlepool and how they could potentially be improved.

Clare Wilson, standards co-opted member on the committee, stressed how vital it was to reach everyone in the area with the mental health scheme.

She said: “Each group needs to be focused on, and we’ve got to try and help everyone in the area.

“But we’ve got the make sure it reaches the minority groups as well, it’s an issue that affects everyone.”

The committee also identified ‘ensuring mental health receives the same priority as physical health’ as a Healthwatch priority for 2018/19.

Work on the scrutiny investigation into mental health will begin in October this year and it will continue until a final report is drafted in April next year.

The aims of the investigation includes analysing the demand for services across all areas of mental health and their wider effects in the borough and beyond.

Residents and groups across the area are all set to be consulted in regards to the investigation before a final response is given.

Coun Ged Hall spoke about the importance of good work from groups such as the  Samaritans charity in helping those with mental struggles.

He said: “I was a Samaritan for 20 years.

“They’ve been serving around the country for years to help people in need.

“They are getting so many referrals, by phone, by email at the minute.

“They speak to so many people, it’s vital the link they provide.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service