Wellbeing of Vulnerable Groups

In 2018/19, the Network is implementing a new strand of cross-cutting work, exploring the issues affecting specific vulnerable groups of the population, and how their experience of mental health care and treatment could be improved.

Our first piece of work on this theme began by looking at addressing the mental health and physical wellbeing of women with experience of the criminal justice system.

Evidence shows that many women who have been, or are currently, in custody are themselves victims of previous abuse or assault, and should be provided with trauma-informed care to enable them to enter recovery from associated mental health issues, ranging from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder. In the community, third sector organisations often provide the support that mainstream NHS or social care services are unable to provide. The demand for co-located, gender-sensitive, joined-up women’s services is a very real one but one that is rarely met by current provision.

A priority setting event was held in June 2018 involving a broad range of stakeholders:

  • To scope out the potential gaps in current service provision and address unmet needs across the sector
  • To collaborate with the management and wider healthcare team at HMP Low Newton in Durham, with a view to improving pathways of care for women in custody and transitioning back to the community
  • To build relationships with charities and community organisations working across the women’s sector to ensure any project work is co-produced.

A comprehensive report of outcomes from the day is available to download here.

Projects are being developed from rough plans co-produced at the event, and will continue to involve local community organisations and service users at every stage. The wider workstream is very much a collaborative effort, and will evolve from the original criminal justice focus to look at other vulnerable groups as it progresses, while acknowledging the many crossovers in the complex issues involved.

If you are interested in engaging with this piece of work please contact Jenny Hicken, Network Delivery Facilitator Jennifer.hicken@nhs.net