Community Mental Health Conference 2023: Transforming lives through collaborative working in North Cumbria

October 23, 2023

More than 90 health and care colleagues, along with people with lived experience, came together this World Mental Health Day 2023 (10 October) at the People First Conference Centre in Carlisle.

Health and care partners are now in the third and final year of the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme. This programme has been working with system stakeholders to develop and deliver sustainable community based solutions, improving the care and treatment options offered to adults with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) in North Cumbria.

The North Cumbria Community Mental Health Conference 2023 celebrated and shared the amazing work that has been undertaken in the region so far, and enabled the further generation of ideas on how the programme and partners will move forward beyond the transformation program.

Keynotes and workshops were heard from:

  • Safety Net and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) on the asylum seekers’ journey and the critical need for mental health support, providing safety and stability to this vulnerable group.
  • The Well Communities on the importance of developing lived experience community assets in an integrated system, and ensuring involvement as an equal partner in service development and delivery.
  • CNTW and Together We CIC on the investments made into adult eating disorder services, and the partnership working that is helping to tackle disordered eating issues.
  • Every Life Matters on the suicide prevention and postvention agenda, and how their work is helping organisations and the community to strengthen their prevention efforts, as well as destigmatise the tragedy and recovery of suicide.
  • And many more, including: volunteering as a route into employment and recovery; annual health checks for people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) – the foundation for physical health parity; improving health and wellbeing outcomes for those with SMI and co-existing substance misuse issues; and working differently in mental health Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs).

The conference also benefitted from a panel of senior representatives from the health and care system, who discussed and took questions on “How can we work as a system to improve mental health services for the population of North Cumbria?”. This stimulated a lively and passionate conversation, leaving everyone with the ambition to collaborate and innovate more for the people we serve.

Elizabeth Lanka, Commissioning Delivery Manager at NECS and one of the event organisers said:

“The reason that we scheduled the conference in year 3 of Community Mental Health Transformation is to take the opportunity to celebrate the initiatives that have taken place. We were really pleased to be able to share with delegates projects which showcase health and care partners working in collaboration to bring Mental Health Services to the adult population of North Cumbria.

We also wanted to bring together leaders from across the system to discuss how we move forward beyond the transformation program and tackle the challenges we face such as increased demand for services, the ability to develop and retain a strong workforce across North Cumbria and the financial challenges that are facing most organisations.

This was the first event of this kind in North Cumbria but due to the success we know that it won’t be the last.”

Thoughts from some of the delegates who attended on the day were captured in these short films:

To find out more about the North Cumbria Mental Health Transformation Conference 2023, or the Transformation Programme, please contact: [email protected]



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