Westminster Health Forum

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Mental health in England - managing rising demand and the impact on young people, vulnerable groups and frontline workers, and learning from service delivery during the pandemic

November 2020

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will discuss the key issues for mental health in England.

Keynote speakers include Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health, NHS England; and Gregor Henderson, National Lead for Wellbeing and Mental Health, PHE.

The conference is bringing key stakeholders together with parliamentary policymakers and policy officials from NHS England; PHE, DHSC; DWP; the DfE; Ofsted; the Home Office; BEIS; HMPPS; the National Audit Office; the ONS; the UK Visas & Immigration and the Department for Communities, NI

The agenda:

  • The impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on public mental health in England and priorities for ongoing support
  • Learning from service delivery during the pandemic - adapting to new ways of working, and meeting the challenge of increasing demand on NHS, local authority and charity services
  • Mental health and COVID-19 - a service user perspective
  • Delivering effective mental health support to NHS and frontline workers across health and social care as part of the COVID-19 response
  • Key issues for children and young people’s mental health - dealing with the long term effects of the pandemic, and supporting teachers and students as schools reopen
  • Reducing loneliness, tackling inequalities and supporting elderly and vulnerable groups - identifying need, continuity of care, and utilising technology and innovative methods of communication
  • Next steps for mental health in England and responding to challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Areas for discussion:

  • the impact COVID-19 on public mental health and service delivery:
    • rising demand - what it is meaning for mental health services across local authorities, charities and the NHS, what more support is needed, and what can be learned from best practice
    • NHS and social care workers - supporting their mental health - both short term and long term - in the wake of the pandemic
    • looking ahead:
      • continuing to support service users and their families, providing continuity of care, and adapting service delivery in the response to the ongoing impact of the pandemic
      • dealing with the long term mental health impact on the wider population of social distancing, isolation, restrictions on movement and increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic
  • children and young people:
    • how schools are adapting - and whether more support is needed for teachers to support the mental health of young people - as the Wellbeing for Education Return programme starts, including training for schools and colleges to help with responding to emotional and mental health issues arising as a result of the pandemic
    • promoting good mental health and improve early intervention - what more should be done to, and the impact of the mental health support teams in schools and training introduced for teachers
  • supporting elderly and vulnerable groups:
    • loneliness - identifying and addressing the issues, and progress on initiatives including Let’s Talk Loneliness and the Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund
    • the elderly and clinically vulnerable - including use of support via technology, remote care, and community support groups, with many having been required to shield or limit social interaction
    • expectant and new mothers - with part of the latest round of the Health and Wellbeing Fund being made available to support perinatal mental health for those from deprived areas and BAME backgrounds, as well as other projects supporting health and wellbeing more generally for these groups, including:
      • what more should be done at a time when isolation and social distancing may have made their existing support networks unavailable
      • how best to improve engagement around possible anxiety
      • what changes may mean for service provision, delivery and support groups
    • the BAME community - the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and what more can be done to reduce inequalities going forward

A scan of relevant developments:

  • key policy developments and reports:
    • babies and young children - government launching the Review into Early Years Health, including emotional factors which may act as barriers to development
    • Mental health and primary care networks: understanding the opportunities from the King’s Fund finding over-simplified categories for illnesses and referrals, the need for closer local partnership working and close alignment between national policies, and the requirement to address staffing gaps
    • Mental health crisis services rolled out across England as part of the ongoing implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan
    • Mental Wellbeing Report - from HEE, finding that shifts in behaviour and culture are needed across the whole of the NHS in order to improve the mental wellbeing of staff
    • Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On - which examined progress in tackling health inequalities finding an increased health gap between wealthy and deprived areas
  • mental health and the pandemic:
    • £5m funding given to mental health community projects - funding from the DHSC to expand services during the pandemic
    • UK Government must urgently plan for recovery from coronavirus mental health crisis, says Mind - and a coalition of charities calling for a Mental Health Renewal Plan
    • from PHE - Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus and COVID-19: guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing
    • from NHS England - Top NHS doctor issues advice for children going back to school and the launch of a mental health hotline for staff during the pandemic
    • from the IFS - The mental health effects of the first two months of lockdown and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, finding that inequalities in mental health have increased
    • calls for survivors of COVID-19 to be screened for PTSD - from the COVID Trauma Response Working Group formed to help coordinate trauma-informed responses to the pandemic
    • Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups - data from PHE showing a disproportionate effect, and the recent establishment of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities  

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places at this conference have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the APPG on A Fit And Healthy Childhood, and officials from the Department of Health and Social Care; the Department for Work and Pensions; the Department for Education; Ofsted; the Home Office; BEIS; HMPPS; the National Audit Office; the Office for National Statistics; the Office for Statistics Regulation; the UK Visas & Immigration and the Department for Communities NI.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles