£1.8 million invested to transform community mental health services in west Cumbria

A new partnership has launched in west Cumbria with the aim of transforming mental health provision in the area. 

The West Cumbria Mental Health Partnership is part of a £1.8 million investment by West Cumbrian nuclear site, Sellafield.

It will operate under the Transforming West Cumbria programme, led by Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF).

The West Cumbria Mental Health Partnership website provides details of mental health and wellbeing support, allowing users to choose the right provider for them.

Four initial programmes have been established by the partnership:

  • Adult mental health

    • Services include talking therapies; counselling; fitness and exercise support; drop-in support groups; alternative and complementary therapies and coping strategies; walking for wellness; and fun activity sessions.

  • Youth mental health

    • Services include talk support; bullying support; body image, gaming, gambling, and addiction support, support for LGBTQ community, health and fitness.

  • Financial wellbeing

    • Services include: crisis response; and general financial advice and support.

  • Recovery college

    • Services include: courses and workshops to help people develop coping strategies and mental health symptom management.

The West Cumbria Mental Health Partnership aims to create a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to community mental health provision in Copeland and Allerdale, in response to the closure of Mind West Cumbria in 2019.

The end of Mind services left a gap in community support for people experiencing mental health issues.

Sellafield Ltd stepped in to support a short-term solution, funding one-to-one and group support services.

Working with CCF, the focus soon switched to creating a long-term sustainable service, which led to the new partnership.

As well as providing much-needed funding, the partnership will support community groups to improve their resilience and financial sustainability.

Gary McKeating, head of community and development for Sellafield Ltd, said: "Poor mental health is an issue that can affect all of us.

"Ensuring high quality services are available for our workforce and our community is incredibly important to us.

"We're fortunate to have such a diverse range of community-based support available in West Cumbria but provision was patchy and in need of co-ordination following the closure of Mind West Cumbria.

"That's what the partnership is all about: building a strong platform so organisations can collaborate, develop their skills, and thrive in the long term. This will be a game-changer for mental health provision in West Cumbria."

Annalee Holliday, senior grants, programmes, and communications officer for CCF, said: "The closure of Mind West Cumbria highlighted the fragility of organisations delivering such critical services. We were pleased to work with Sellafield to address this through the development of the West Cumbria Mental Health Partnership.

"The launch couldn't be more timely as demand for support in West Cumbria continues to grow and statutory mental health services are stretched to capacity."

Tamsin Beattie, West Cumbria adult mental health partnership lead for Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: "We're delighted to be leading the adult mental health programme. The funding will allow us to deliver far more high quality support services to people in West Cumbria than we have ever had in the past.

"We're aiming to support a minimum of 2,000 people over the three-year programme, although we expect we'll be able to support many more.

"Together we're determined to make a positive difference to the lives of as many people as we can."