Community Mental Health Needs Report: A Public Engagement (July-Dec 2021)

Following research in 2020 and 2021 into the impact of Covid-19 on mental health and wellbeing and mental health support services, Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees engaged further with the public to seek their views and experiences over the past year.
Graphic of magnifying glass


To further ascertain local views and experiences of mental health, and how this has impacted on people’s lives and their health and wellbeing, Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees (HWS) have engaged with local people through face-to-face focus group meetings and online surveys.

Engagement with local Healthwatch Champions, support services and community groups in the area has enabled HWS to participate in quality conversations with people about what matters to them the most. Forty people took part in face-to-face focus groups, eight people provided narratives, and thirty three people completed the survey.


The overall findings of this engagement, based on what people have told us, show that:

  • There is a strong link between the mental and physical health of those with long term health conditions and/or a disability (100% focus groups, 75% survey). 82% of people from the survey alone have experienced difficulties or concerns in relation to their own mental health and wellbeing in the past year.
  • Not feeling able to manage physical health conditions, and not being able to access services when needed, has had a profound impact on the mental health and wellbeing of those with long-term health conditions and/or a disability.
  • Difficulties around accessing health and social care services for those with a long-term health condition and/or a disability have been identified.
  • Factors supporting mental health and wellbeing have been identified.
  • Community support groups are important to health, wellbeing, and more crucially the safety and welfare of those who attend.
  • Those who attend the support groups would value extra health and wellbeing support along with support that can contribute to group resources, security, development, and sustainability.
  • It is imperative that people have access to additional communication and learning support, signposting, information, advice, guidance, and advocacy to support their mental health and wellbeing.
  • People with long-term health conditions and/or a disability would benefit from a holistic approach to health and social care support to enable them to manage their physical and mental health conditions together.
  • To make informed decisions about their mental health, people value good communication with health care professionals and the teams involved in their care.


Based on the findings, the following recommendations have been made:

  1. Provide support for existing community groups and provide feedback on why group funding applications have not been successful.
  2. Provide community health and wellbeing support that can be delivered as group sessions and/or individual sessions where needed to support people to manage their long-term health conditions.
  3. Deliver health clinics to people with long-term conditions and/or a disability within the community and to existing groups, to enable people to manage their physical and mental health conditions together.
  4. Provide targeted mental health care and support for those with mental health and substance misuse difficulties.
  5. Enable access to lower-level follow-on support at the end of treatment and care, as a next step option to promote rehabilitation and recovery, and the prevention of re-occurring mental health difficulties.
  6. Provide mental health drop-in services that are community-based and holistic in approach, offering family support and mental health and wellbeing sessions to support people to develop coping skills.
  7. Promote communication between patients and health and social care professionals, with an emphasis on supporting patients with information to enable people to make informed decisions about their mental health care.
  8. Increase access to signposting, information, advice, guidance, and advocacy, along with extra support for those with additional communication and learning needs.
  9. Enable those who work in primary, secondary, and statutory health and social care services to have knowledge of existing community health and wellbeing support that can be delivered by third sector organisations, and to consider these provisions as part of patient/service user treatment care plans.
  10. Increase access to psychological therapies.


Download a copy of the report below to read the full findings, plus responses from:

  • Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV)
  • North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTH NHS FT)
  • Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (TV CCG)
  • Catalyst
  • Pioneering Care Partnership (PCP)

If you need this document in a different format, please get in touch.

01642 688312

Community Mental Health Needs Report: A Public Engagement (JULY-DEC 2021)
Community Mental Health Needs Report - TV CCG and TEWV response
Community Mental Health Needs - NTH NHS FT response

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