Healthwatch Newcastle and Healthwatch Gateshead recently worked with Changing Lives and Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead (FLNG) to complete a project that gathered experiences of local mental health services.

Using peer research, semi-structured interviews and focus groups, FLNG provided insight and creative data about people who are homeless or living in insecure accommodation.

With support from Forward Assist and Citizens Advice Gateshead, the report collates the views gathered from six groups that are generally underrepresented in the engagement and consultations of mental health services.

These include:

  • Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LBGT) community
  • Veterans
  • African/Caribbean community
  • Students in higher education
  • People who are homeless/living in insecure accommodation
  • People in receipt of Universal Credit

The research found common themes and specific issues related to particular groups. From this evidence, suggestions were made on how best to support those people more effectively.

Recommendations include:

  • Offering services that are inclusive for people who are homeless or living in insecure accommodation with trauma histories and coexisting mental health and substance use issues
  • Taking steps to support the African / Caribbean community to recognise the triggers and early signs of mental health issues
  • Allowing people within LGBT community to have a choice whether they see a male or female professional and can have access to specialist services where this is appropriate
  • Provision for the mandatory inclusion of a question about previous military service at the assessment stage of any treatment for veterans

Read the full report here.

The research is a synthesis of findings and a FLNG standalone report will be published later this year.

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