The French Connection – sharing best practice on Mental Health

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20 Apr 2018
by Michael Leng

Over the last few days local voluntary sector agencies have been helping to shape the future of mental health provision in France. Framework has hosted a delegation of providers, policy makers and user/carer advocates from Lille, Paris and Marseille associated with the World Health Organisation.

The nine person delegation, made up of health, housing and local government officials, were visiting Nottingham to learn more about the many services that exist to support vulnerable people in the community.

The model currently used in France to address mental health issues is very medical in nature, and people are mostly treated in hospitals or institutions. Nottingham was chosen to host this visit as the city and county services are seen as good examples of a functional, effective and humane system of recovery based services.

As a significant provider of mental health services we at Framework were delighted to host the three days of visits and presentations covering a range of accommodation and community based services and wider strategic issues.

However what has pleased me most about the last few days has been the remarkable response of local partners, staff and service users to this visit. Literally dozens of people have given generously of their time to inform our guests about our work and make them feel welcome in the city.

They include NCHA, Awaaz, Double Impact, Emmanuel House, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council… and even (to the evident excitement of our guests) the actual High Sheriff of Nottingham… Nick Ebbs!!

Indeed, so many people went out of their way to make the visit a success – from staff who took time to have presentational materials translated into French, to the presenters who tried so hard (with varying degrees of success) to bridge the language barrier!

From the feedback I have received I know that our guests, though a little overwhelmed, thoroughly enjoyed the visit and will take ideas, examples and strategic challenges  back home with them. It is truly exciting to think that we in this small corner of the UK are helping to improve mental health services for our friends over The Channel.

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