QUESTION FROM THE COMMUNITY
I’ve got a long and complicated story that I won’t go into now – suffice to say it’s left me with anger issues which are really hard to shift. Now I’ve got to a point where things are having an impact on my family, but I’ve discovered there are no services for anger management in Sheffield. Who do I speak to when the problem isn’t with an actual service, but it’s actually that the service doesn’t exist?!
ANSWER, HEALTHWATCH SHEFFIELD
You can speak to Healthwatch Sheffield – in fact we rely on hearing about your experiences of services, your ideas for what service should exist and your ideas about how local people should be involved.
In this case, the first thing the team would do (this would be the same however you contacted us) is check whether the service does actually exist but isn’t well advertised. As well as using resources like nhs.uk, individual provider websites and the Mental Health Guide, we have close and ongoing relationships with all of the providers and commissioners in the city.
In this case, I phoned Mia at Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust (the main provider of NHS mental health services in Shffield) and she told me that you’re right, they don’t offer a specific service for anger management and that instead, you would be able to explain your needs at assessment, and your worker would develop a plan with you that included strategies for dealing with anger.
In the usual course of things, we’d get back to you, providing this information. We’d invite you to keep in touch and let us know whether the service had managed to meet your needs. You might decide that your care was excellent and really focused on the things that mattered to you – sharing this would be great as it might reassure people who are also concerned that there isn’t a specialist service.
However, you might still think that a separate service would be better.
Now this is where it gets clever…all the enquiries we receive, the feedback we gather, whether at community events, our own events, over the phone or through our Rate & Review website – they’re all held on a confidential, central database. This means that we can easily search for a topic and find out if there are any common themes, so, if other people had also been telling us that there isn’t enough support for anger management, we can put all that information together and share it with the people who make decisions about how to fund NHS services. I checked this out with Jim at NHS Sheffield CCG and he confirmed that he’d be really keen to hear about what services people to see offered locally.
If we feel like we need to understand the issue better, we might do some engagement of our own, to find out what a range of people think, talk to local voluntary sector organisations like Flourish to find out what they’re hearing, and look into what research already exists.
We may write a briefing or if necessary, a report. When we write a report, we include recommendations that providers and commissioners are required to respond to within 20 working days. We put all the responses on our website so that people can see how the recommendations have been considered, and let us know if they think things have changed for the better, worse, or stayed the same.
So I hope that’s not too long and complicated a response! I’m so sorry to hear that anger is impacting on your family life and I’m really hope you are able to find a skilled and caring practitioner who can help you. I really appreciate you taking the time to ask your question and I do hope you’ll let us know how it goes.
Thank you very much to Healthwatch Sheffield for giving their time as this month’s expert. Next month we’ll be speaking to Mind, as part of our theme ‘Men and mental health’. You can send your questions relating to that theme to [email protected]