Healthwatch Cornwall's annual conference Together in Mind

Our inter-agency conference took place in May. Attended by 150 delegates, it showcased innovation and collaboration in mental health and wellbeing in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.
Amanda Stratford speaking at Healthwatch Cornwall conference

The day gave people working with people with mental health issues the chance to network with other professionals from the public, private and third sector. NHS Kernow, the clinical commissioning group for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and Cornwall Community Foundation supported the event. 

In conjunction with NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council, the draft of the new Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Mental Health Strategy was presented by Tim Francis, Head of Adult Mental Health and Learning Disability Joint Strategic Commissioning. 

This draft strategy has been developed after a period of initial engagement, including getting an appraisal of all of the feedback that Healthwatch Cornwall have received about local mental health services, and our thoughts on what should be a focus. 

Attendees were given the opportunity to provide their initial thoughts after round table discussions.  This was also the launch of the formal consultation for the strategy and more information about the plans for this will be shared by NHS Kernow soon. 

Healthwatch Cornwall also shared the results of our recent Appreciative Inquiry, an engagement activity conducted with mental health teams from across the county.  The key feature of this approach is the ‘appreciative’ perspective, which, rather than identifying problems that need to be ‘fixed’, helps teams to identify existing strengths, achievements and successes and enables a positive core to be built upon. The work was used to inform the draft strategy and will inform further engagement going forwards. 

"We are pleased that our findings have assisted in informing the county's mental health strategy and we look forward to supporting its development. We continue to work to improve mental health services in Cornwall as part of our core organisational contract."
— Amanda Stratford CEO of Healthwatch Cornwall

We were joined by the following organisations who each gave presentations about their work in the community.

  • Cornwall Recovery College gave an insight in to their work in re-building individual's lives and confidence following mental illness.
  • Public Health Cornwall gave a presentation on the work they are doing with social prescribing, rolling out the service to surgeries throughout Cornwall.
  • Man Down gave a dynamic overview of their work in forming mens' groups throughout Cornwall. They provide companionship and talking space to members, encouraging them to share personal battles, with the aim to reduce mental illness amongst men in county. 
  • The day's key note speech was delivered by Paul Farmer CEO of Mind UK - he presented the NHS plans for investment and strategic focus in mental health services as published in the Long Term Plan.
  • The highlight of the day was a performance by a theatre group who performed A Pint Sized Conversation. An inspiring short performance about the plight of individuals suffering with their mental health. The production was thought-provoking and powerful, bringing clarity to the day's topic; mental health affects us all in some way.
  • A graphic artist from Inky Thinking provided a colourful overview of all discussions of the day.

We are now working the Kernow CCG and the Mental Health Commissioner to finalise the strategy for Cornwall. If you have any questions regarding the conference please get in touch.

"Excellent presentations; with mix of participation, multi-agency collaboration and networking. An excellent day."
— Together in mind conference attendee