Picture - Healthwatch Doncaster at Doncaster Pride on 17th August 2019 1.jpg

People across the Borough value support from family and friends with their emotional health, alongside others with shared experiences, detailed in a report published by Healthwatch Doncaster.

An independent voice for people to share their views on health and social care in the town, Healthwatch Doncaster completed two successful engagement events in August 2019 at the Recovery Games, and at Doncaster Pride, to listen to people explain how they supported themselves, or others, in emotional difficulties.

Healthwatch Doncaster Engagement Team Manager, Jill Telford, said: “The response from participants to engage with the Healthwatch team and share their experiences was both informative and inspirational.”

Stories told related to people’s own personal experiences of managing their emotional health and also stories about people they have supported.

There was a very diverse response to how individuals described the support they received, however the importance of support from family and friends was a significant finding as was the suggestion that being supported by someone who had experienced the same thing.

For a number of respondents the importance of practical advice and physical support has helped to relieve their or their friends/family member’s emotional struggles and a number of individuals highlighted the struggles with emotional health and stigma, which they felt they continue to experience in today’s society.

There was a view that physical and emotional difficulties should not be managed in isolation and that some professionals did not readily recognise the need for emotional support when managing physical problems, which resulted in untimely responses and referrals to support their needs.

Stephen Emmerson, Head of Strategy & Delivery for Adult Mental Health at NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Doncaster CCG welcomes this further insight Healthwatch has provided into how health and social care service can be developed. We note and support respondent views particularly in respect of ensuring services consider the needs of the family and carer support network around patients, and that the whole holistic need of the patient is taken into account. These are valuable findings that will contribute to ongoing service redesign and service quality improvement.”

Recommendations, including improved referral and signposting for mental health within GP processes, have been shared with relevant services to enhance the experiences of local people managing emotional difficulties and accessing services to support them

The full report is available at: www.healthwatchdoncaster.org.uk/emotionalhealthreport