Ideas sought for ways of improving mental health in the Westcountry

Members of the public from Somerset and across the South West are being canvassed on ways in which the ever-swelling tide of mental ill health can be stemmed.

Levels of stress, depression and anxiety are rising across much of the Westcountry, with GPs fearing that the actual totals could be even higher still than those which are reported because of the stigma which still goes with mental ill health, reports.

As such, a group has now been formed with the aim on canvassing local opinion on ways to reverse the trend. Its aim is to not only help those already suffering with these conditions but also encourage more of those suffering in silence to come forward.

The Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group has now set out an eleven-point plan with suggestions for ways in which local services can be improved. One of those concerns talking therapies, with the 'Joint Mental Health and Wellbeing Five Year Strategy' asking: "Should such [talking therapy] services be expanded and extended to include children and young people?"

Elsewhere, the Strategy asks if more should be done to help deal with substance abusers, whether improvements to physical health would make a difference and if family members of those worst affected should also be taken into consideration.

Chair of the commissioning group, Dr David Rooke, told "The development of talking therapies in recent years is helping many more patients with mental health problems, but we want to address the issue of mental ill health in a more integrated way, with more emphasis on prevention and early diagnosis - particularly for children and the young and provide more personal support to people who might be living with long term illness."