Published on: 4th July 2024

Rebecca O'Reilly.jpgOver 1,000 people in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale have benefitted from the biggest ever transformation of community mental health services.

Professionals across the borough have joined together to improve care and support for adults and older adults with severe mental illness (psychosis, bi-polar) and/or complex emotional needs (trauma).

This includes our mental health professionals, Rochdale and District Mind and Turning Point, GPs and primary care staff, social workers from Rochdale Borough Council, people with lived experience, carers, and many others.

They’re working together make services more joined up, easier to access and more consistent. This will help make sure patients, carers and families get the right care and support in the right place, as early as possible.

The new approach has already achieved a 13% reduction in referrals to the borough’s response hub, which is the route into more specialist mental health services.

Fatima’s story:

Fatima, 56, from Rochdale, is one of the first people to benefit. She was supported by senior mental health practitioner Rebecca O’Reilly (pictured above) and associate psychological practitioner Hafsah Aslam after severe anxiety led to her being off work for a long time, avoiding friends and family, giving up hobbies, and becoming a virtual recluse.

Fatima said: “I’d been waiting for help for a long time. So, it was a saving grace to be told I could receive immediate support from new mental health professionals working within the practice. I hadn’t heard of anything like that before.

“They really listened and gave suggestions rather than telling me what to do.

“I learned how to identify triggers and to understand why I was constantly fearful. They taught me how to control my anxiety through breathing exercises and distraction techniques. And I learned that self-care, such as eating and sleeping well, really does make a difference.

“I was encouraged to go away and build on what I learned in the sessions, which helped me feel more in control and empowered. 

“With baby steps I was able to build myself back up and become the person I used to be. I’m back at work, following a phased return, and doing the things I love like running, sport and seeing my friends.

“It’s been a rocky road, but I feel really lucky to have been one of the first people to benefit from this new approach.”

Senior mental health practitioner Rebecca O’Reilly said: “Fatima wanted to feel better and understood the process wouldn’t be immediate. She recognised the importance of nurturing her recovery, supported by Hafsah and myself.  And she made use of all the resources we provided. She was trusting and engaged with the process well.

“It was great to see her make such progress and regain her life. It’s why I enjoy my work so much”.

“I’ve worked in mental health services for 27 years and can see this service is invaluable. We’re able to offer people a gold star service and I’m proud to play a part in this.”

Click here to find out more about our the transformation of services in the Rochdale borough