Mental Health Awareness Week 2024: Building health and breaking stigma | Latest News

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2024: Building health and breaking stigma

In South West London developing even better patient care is at the heart of the change we are delivering. 

Central to this, is the work we do alongside our patients, carers and families. Through co-design and co-production, we have created new and innovative mental health services, built modern hospitals, while tackling health inequalities, breaking mental health stigma and providing joined-up, quality care.

This week we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week,
having now rebuilt the first of our two major hospital sites and transformed adult community mental health services.

Along the way we have built the new stigma-breaking
Springfield Village with our partners, providing hundreds of homes, a new 32-acre park for our community, and began a tradition of annual street parties to bring people across South West London together, sparking hundreds of positive conversations about mental health. 

 chapel square   springfield park 

As a mental health Trust, our place in the community - and the way we work with our partners - is changing for the better.

Through innovative collaborations between community mental health services and groups like Citizens UK, Mind, and carers organisations, people can now access more of the help they need in one place.

Our work with Wandsworth’s Community Empowerment Network is bringing our vision of truly reducing racial disparities in mental health to life. And through initiatives like South London Listens and our free Mental Health First Aid training programme we are working to empower people to support their own and others’ mental health.

From enabling access to green space, to boosting our economy, raising mental health awareness, working towards Net Zero, and providing access to inclusive employment opportunities, our local footprint also means we can have impact that goes beyond the core services we deliver.

Every year we spend £275m across our operations and through our transformation programme alone we are facilitating a £1bn investment in healthcare and urban development on top, creating jobs, housing and delivering better environments for generations of people across South West London.

Now relaunched as our Better Communities programme, our work to improve local mental health services takes on a new lease of life. Within this, our Better Environments and Better Care programmes will continue to transform our hospitals and our services.

Work is already underway to transform our Barnes Hospital site into
a new community with a new school, state-of-the-art outpatient centre and planned residential housing. Whilst early works are underway at Tolworth Hospital as we look ahead to developing new facilities there. 

barnes hospital

Working with our system partners across our South West London ICS and through the South London Partnership we are also looking at population needs on a wider scale.

Through these partnerships we have created new specialist services, for example the new Oak Unit for people with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism, crisis coordination centres, as well as developing and launching the new NHS 111 ‘press 2’ for mental health service. None of this is possible without our amazing staff, who work in partnership to deliver all of these programmes.

Across everything we do, partnerships are key. And it is why this has been chosen as the theme of the inaugural South West London Mental Health conference, which takes place at Springfield Hospital this coming Monday.

Following the launch of our first South West London Mental Health Strategy last year, the conference will ask how we work together to increase prevention and early support, reduce health inequalities and ensure timely access for those who need it, exploring a range of different topics.

There is still so much to do to build health and break mental health stigma. We need to tackle enduring health inequalities, go further and faster in becoming anti-racist organisations, innovate to create better pathways and bring waiting times down, all whilst supporting prevention and early intervention to promote wellbeing for everyone we serve in South West London.

And we can’t do it alone. By working together we can meet these challenges head on, deliver better care that improves lives and creates better communities that reflect our Trust vision to Make Life Better Together.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our journey so far. We look forward to continuing to partner with patients, carers our local system, voluntary and community sector organisations and our wider community as we work to transform local mental health services in 2024 and beyond.

Vanessa Ford, Chief Executive, South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust


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