The role of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) in supporting mental health conditions is well established. The sector provides treatment, care and support services for people living with mental health needs. The sector also employs a workforce with a wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise.
Over 1.5 million people access CCG-commissioned mental health support from the VCSE each year. Most VCSE organisations also deliver services commissioned by the local authority and for many this is by far their largest area of funded provision. The sector also receives funding from other sources including grant funding. The VCSE is in fact the main provider of community support for people with mental health needs and there are over ten thousand VCSE organisations registered to deliver mental health services. The organisations are rooted in communities, are trusted by the people they work with and for, have an extensive history of social action and user-led interventions, sit outside of clinical settings, and are able to offer significant and effective levels of support. This makes the sector not only a significant provider but also a significant employer.
Without doubt with Brexit there are some changes, challenges and ‘unknowns’ ahead and we need to minimise any impact on services for people who need them. Our members are managing the situation at this time and continuing to deliver services – they are however closely monitoring developments and potential impact and changes to their services.
Change can also be difficult to manage and can lead to uncertainty and personal challenges. It is important to consider the impact on people as well as the potential increase in demand on services as a result of exiting the EU. Continuity of support is important, as is the access to the right support at the right time, including information and signposting.
For anyone who has increased anxiety at this time, resources to support are available from VCSE organisations. We are asking members to let us know about the resources they have and will make these available on our website.
As we move forward, Brexit could result in significant challenges in terms of impact on goods and services. We have therefore been working with our partners in the Care Provider Alliance to try to understand the potential impact on the provider sector, particularly in relation to workforce but in areas like 24 hour care and domiciliary care services. Potential risks to service delivery are being identified and monitored and options to mitigate this are being put in place, as far as reasonably possible at this time.
Association of Mental Health Providers is establishing a communications contact so we can ensure that providers have up to date information, as and when we receive it, which we will be sharing through our networks. We will also be establishing contact points with providers across a range of VCSE mental health services, so we can gather further intelligence from the sector over the next few months and beyond.