Waiting for Wellness: The Report

October 2, 2023

Healthwatch Lancashire have just published their latest project report ‘Waiting for Wellness’ which investigates people’s experiences of mental health and the accessibility of mental health services in Lancashire.

Waiting for Wellness was set up due to Healthwatch Lancashire receiving an influx of feedback from the public about mental health and in particular, the long waiting lists people were experiences when accessing mental health support. The aim of this project was to gain a clear understanding of the issues and barriers faced by Lancashire residents regarding their mental health and their awareness of available services. The project also gathered feedback from people who have not received mental health support to investigate their reasons for this and whether they would know how to access support should they need it in the future.

How many people did we engage with?

Healthwatch Lancashire spoke to 156 people and their feedback was either captured as a case study or inputted into an online survey.

What did we find?

Feedback revealed that the main barrier to accessing NHS mental health support was the long waiting lists, leaving people feeling let down and unsure when they would receive support. Despite waiting lists being lengthy, more than half of respondents were not signposted to additional support whilst on a waiting list. Respondents did not know what mental health support was available to them locally.

Third sector/charitable organisations received a substantial amount of positive feedback, with people sharing that they were able to talk about their experiences and have the opportunity to socialise and take part in activities.

Themes also emerged within specific demographic groups including gender, age, those without a support network and those with Autism.

For those who had not received mental health support, 46% shared that they would not know where to go for support if they needed it in the future. A further 18% shared that they do not feel able to ask for support.

What happens next?

Healthwatch Lancashire have formulated a series of recommendations in response to the findings of this report for the attention of a number of service providers who provide mental health support in Lancashire. This report includes provider responses with their plans for the future to aim to improve the mental health support offer in Lancashire.

Healthwatch Lancashire have now launched a second phase of this project which explores the experiences of mental health and the accessibility of support in young people. Healthwatch Lancashire felt that this was appropriate due to the amount of negative feedback received from young people and the aim will be to further explore the difficulties faced. Alongside this, Healthwatch Lancashire are working with the NSPCC to co-produce mental health campaigns targeted at young people to help reduce stigma and raise awareness of available support.

Read the full report here (opens in a separate tab)