We are working with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust as the North London Mental Health Partnership.

See how our Community Transformation Programme is changing care

Our Community Mental Health Transformation Programme is changing the way we work across North Central London. Here we hear from some people delivering this new approach, and from some of those it has helped.

Click here to see a selection of videos of people invovled in the programme explain what the change means to them.

Contacting and supporting community groupsPhilippa Russell

Philippa Russell
Mental Health Partnerships Co-ordinator working with Islington Mental Health Core Team and Healthwatch Islington

I joined the transformation programme at the beginning of the year, to improve links between the Islington Core Team and voluntary and community organisations in the borough. I have been meeting many of our community organisations to let them know more about the Core Team, explain my role, and offer health checks from the Population Health Nurses. This programme will enable residents with mental health issues, family carers and other vulnerable people to access a health check in their community environment where they feel familiar and safe.

I have produced a live online signposting tool, for our teams to learn about some of the key community support available in Islington, detailing referral pathways. 

By talking to colleagues and voluntary groups, I am finding out more about the great resources and care available in Islington to link in people according to their needs, with an emphasis on the holistic needs of residents, where physical and mental wellbeing is interdependent. I am working with colleagues to consider some partnership plans between statutory and community care.

If you want to know more or have any queries or suggestions, you are very welcome to contact me: Philippa.Russell@candi.nhs.uk

Support in the community

Katherine Barrett 
Expert by Experience – and a member of the North Central London Reference Group to transform community mental health services.

I first experienced a mental health crisis more than 20 years ago and have been admitted to hospital a number of times. I had a pattern of behaviour; I was well for a while before I’d stop taking my medication. My mental health would decline quickly to the point of crisis and needing hospital treatment. 

On one occasion after leaving hospital, I found myself homeless. Not having a home makes recovering from mental illness very challenging. 
By providing more support to people with housing, money or other difficulties, I hope my experience becomes less common in future. While my mental health has been good for quite a few years now, the pandemic was unsettling. 

As we all locked down, I found myself stuck at home. I couldn’t go out. I knew I needed to find things to do. As a Camden resident, I was lucky enough to be referred to a community support programme which has helped me through the pandemic. I’ve been able to keep busy and make new connections. I’ve taken classes in archaeology and cooking. I always have something to do. I attend regular coffee mornings and hope to join walking groups in time. 

This programme has helped me, and hundreds like me, to stay well in difficult times. I was able to access this service because of where I live. In future, everyone will be able to access similar services. That can only be a good thing. 

Help to find a job

Mark John Stevens 
Team lead for the Islington Mental Health Individual Placement and Support Team

For many people with mental health conditions, finding employment is a challenge, but we work to overcome that and to to enable our services users to understand the transformative power of having a job, of being included, of having extra money, and of having the opportunity to chat with colleagues over a cuppa. 

Care is about enabling a better understanding of health within the workplace, of ensuring that there is support for people with health issues and that it continues to evolve and change according to need; care is about ensuring that the workplace can respond effectively to anyone who experiences mental ill health and that they are supported and able to return to a workplace that has an understanding of ill health, whatever the condition is. Our work as employment specialists is part of this as we work with our service users to help them gain and sustain employment.

Employment doesn’t work for everyone, but those service users who have started work have been vocal on how well having a job changes their lives; for anyone working in employment support, that drives our enthusiasm and energy to do the best we can. 

Contacting seldom-heard groups

As part of our transformation of community mental health services across north London, we are reaching out to seldom-heard groups to discover how we can best serve them.

Clinical staff are working with voluntary sector organisations to reach out to community groups, to ask about their concerns, listen to their thoughts and ask for their suggestions on how we can tailor our services to suit their needs. This is a new concept in mental health care – which sees Community Development Workers working alongside clinical staff.

Ruth Hislop-Gill 
Community Development Worker employed by the charity Likewise

The role is quite transformative in itself, just having someone there who's dedicated to thinking about who the community are, who local populations are, what are their needs. We are working with communities that have traditionally been marginalised or have found it really difficult to come through services because they don't feel understood. People who work in these services seem invisible to these communities, so quite a lot of the work we’re trying to do is to identify those particular populations and really ground us into the local communities so that people know who we are

There's a huge Somali population in Kentish Town and it felt really relevant for us to be part of that conversation. We're also seeing this work as a kind of pilot, to see how we can interact with other communities around Kentish Town, and we’re hoping to do something similar with the Bengali community.Deborah Brown

Deborah Brown 
C&I Mental Health Practitioner

This has enabled us to reach out to the community, in ways that we've not tried before. You can appreciate the NHS is very structured. We have very clinical ways of doing things, and I think this is actually much more creative and involves a partnership.  

I really appreciate having a partnership with somebody who's not directly part of the NHS, so the way she thinks about things is very different to the way I do, that means I get to see things from a very different perspective.





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