Through the ICS, we are finding new ways for the NHS, local authorities and voluntary sector to work together together to improve services and outcomes for people who experience mental ill health.

In 2017, the then STP commissioned a review of how mental health services are planned, commissioned, funded and delivered in our area. The aim was to help determine how the voluntary sector, local authorities and NHS can work better together to meet the needs of the patients, carers, families and local communities we serve.

The review was carried out with the input from all partners and involved clinicians, patients and carers. It is the most detailed analysis of the current picture of local mental health services that we have ever undertaken, and it lays bare the scale of challenge that we face.

Research that informed the mental health case for change quantified a range of health inequalities experienced by people with mental health problems in Sussex and East Surrey. They live up to 20 years less than the general population, and are more than three times more likely to attend A&E or be admitted to hospital as an emergency. Their health outcomes are often poor and crisis care in particular could be much better.

The review also identified a wide range of opportunities for addressing these challenges and for making real improvements to services and wellbeing for local people. It highlights the need for real changes in the ways that mental health services are commissioned and provided and that working together in partnership through the ICS offers the best chance to achieve this.

A strategic framework for mental health services has been developed and is forming the basis of further conversations with patients, carers, staff and partners about where investment is needed and where services need to change or be developed.