Transforming mental health services on the island

A new mental health service provider on the Isle of Wight is able to offer a team of staff and volunteers, who not only have professional training to support people, but crucially also have real experience of what it’s like to tackle this and navigate through the health and care system.

The NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), working with Isle of Wight NHS Trust have commissioned Isorropia Foundation to provide the new Community Mental Health Wellbeing Service (CMHWS).

The team is working with people who are accessing the Trust’s Community Mental Health Service, supporting them to move on in their recovery from mental illness in a community setting with support to live well and independently. So far the service has seen around 375 people, with more referrals coming in.

Jaime Williams, who has moved over from the Trust’s service to Isorropia, explains the life-changing benefits he has gained. He said: “The encouragement and support provided has really helped me move forwards with my life and start making the changes I need to live the life I want.

“I feel like I have a place to look forward to going to during the week and I am learning so much about some of my issues and the ways to tackle them. The professional yet personally relatable staff members are a huge asset. Their attitude, demeanour and professionalism go a long way in providing a safe environment that allows members to tackle their issues and make improvements in their lives.

“I always feel supported and safe, even during the challenging moments that come with making progress towards a better life and better wellbeing.”

The CMHWS offers wellbeing workshops, which are a range of psycho-education sessions that empower people to take positive steps with their mental health recovery. There are a wide range of sessions covering topics like anxiety management, understanding depression, regulating your mood and food and nutrition.

Ami Cripps, wellbeing centre manager, said: “My experience of going through the mental health system is paramount to the way I am able to support our members. My lived experience has given me insight that is impossible to understand unless you have been there yourself.”

The service is based in 7 High Street, Newport, along with the Isle of Wight Safe Haven. Bringing them both into the same location is part of the first steps to transform mental health services on the Island.