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​Commissioners, providers and Lewisham residents in conversation on mental health services

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In July 2018 the Lewisham Health and Wellbeing Board agreed Health Inequalities as the main areas of focus, and as an initial priority Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities Health.  As a result, a summit to engage local community members in an ongoing dialogue to explore ways to tackle BAME health inequalities around mental health was held on the 8 October 2018. To follow on the Mental Health conversation with the BME community and other groups in Lewisham the CCG and Lewisham Council organised a stakeholder event on the 14 October 2019: Me and My community.

Cllr James Rathbone, Lewisham Mental Health Champion, opened the event, introducing talks covering Lewisham Mental Health Alliance, Health Inequalities and Carers in Lewisham. The presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session.

The programme offered a selection of discussions and a market place where organisations provided information on health services and support in Lewisham. The discussions were organised in three sessions with a total of 12 workshops ranging from Carers information, Prevention, Mental Health in Schools, 5-Ways to Wellbeing, to themes including Social Inclusion Recovery Services, Help in a mental health crisis, and additional conversations on how to improve BAME groups equality for access and experience of mental health services.

The event had more than 170 participants: commissioners, providers, carers and representatives from a variety of community groups and members of the public.

"Mental health is one of our priorities," said Dr Charles Gostling, Senior Clinical Director of Lewisham CCG. "Not everyone knows where to get the best advice and support – for themselves or a loved one. And if you're unfamiliar with the NHS and its mental health services – particularly during a period of change – the system can sometimes appear daunting."

On the day, 96per cent of attendees agreed/strongly agreed the day was well organised, informative and interesting, with information at the right level and with the ability to make a contribution. The attendees praised the morning presentations and Q&A, the variety of topics covered in the workshops and opportunities for networking and interactions during breaks and marketplace.

Find the feedback and equalities data here