Healthwatch Lancashire heard an increased amount of feedback about mental health during 2022/23. Particularly, the long waiting lists people were experiencing when accessing mental health support. In response, ‘Waiting for Wellness’ was set up to explore people’s experiences of mental health in Lancashire. There was a particular focus on the waiting times of those accessing mental health support and whether people were aware of available services in Lancashire.
Feedback was also gathered from people who have not accessed support for their mental health, to investigate their reasons for this and whether they would know how to access support should they need it in the future.
Feedback was received from 156 people between April and July 2023. 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. 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.
These findings have informed a series of recommendations for service providers. This report includes provider responses with their plans for the future to aim to improve mental health services in Lancashire.