Mental health is a key issue nationally and locally and there is a recognition that this is an area that needs urgent action.

Healthwatch Leeds, the local independent health and care watchdog spent January to March this year looking into the services currently available in Leeds for those people who found themselves in mental health crisis, this means when someone no longer feels able to cope or be in control of their situation.

Nearly 700 people completed the survey.

They told us about the services they had been in touch with and also about the reasons why they had not asked for support.

People also told us what had worked well and what could have been better.

They found that nearly half the people who had experience or were supporting someone who found themselves in crisis did not know where to go.

Many of the comments they received were regarding staff, good or bad interactions had a big impact on their experience.

Many told Healthwatch that there seemed to be a lack of understanding of what crisis was and that a quicker access to support was needed.

Mental Health is a priority for us, we are really grateful by the amount of people willing to share their stories with us, a big thank you to you! We are now concentrating on working with partners in Leeds to act on what you have told us.’

Hannah Davies, CEO Healthwatch Leeds

Healthwatch Leeds have shared their findings with providers and made some recommendations to providers who have shared their willingness to work with Healthwatch to help improve services for people in Leeds.

“We welcome this report and its recommendations, and we’re grateful to all those who took the time to give their opinions.  We’ve recognised for some time we’ve needed to improve our crisis service.

Earlier this year we launched our new Crisis Response and Intensive Support Service. CRISS aims to improve access and response times for people who may be in crisis and can safely be supported in the community.

We also relaunched our community mental health services earlier this year.  They work very closely with our crisis services and we’re confident they’ll be able to offer better, more integrated support for people that is consistent across the city. 

However, we know that there is still more to do and we’re fully committed to building on this work, we’re meeting regularly with our partners across health, care and the third sector, with a regular focus on crisis support and response.

We’ll be evaluating our new community and crisis mental health services in the coming months. We’d really welcome feedback on how things have changed since the new services went live in March and how we can improve further.”

Joanna Forster Adams Chief Operating Officer LYPFT

You can read the report on Healthwatch Leeds website

They are also asking for anyone who has used crisis services or supported someone to use them since March this year to share their experiences with them. You can speak to them on 0113 898 0035 or email [email protected] . All feedback is treated anonymously and your personal details are not shared with service providers.

Healthwatch Leeds is an independent organisation.