Report: Experiences of using Community Mental Health during the pandemic

Our latest report examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on community mental health services in North Somerset and makes recommendations for change to improve access to services.
A girl sitting at a laptop. Text on the laptop screen reads: 'mental health'

In 2019, Healthwatch North Somerset received a large amount of feedback about accessing help and support from community mental health services in the area. However, lockdown has changed the way many people access services. As a result, last year, we decided to decided to review residents’ experiences of accessing community mental health services since the lockdown in March 2020.


  • 78 residents responded to the survey.
  • 60% of respondents had appointment cancelled or therapies changed since lockdown March 2020, and 20% of these were not offered alternatives.
  • Service users have become stressed by the effects of the COVID-19 restrictions and identified reasons as: isolation, the worry over the health of family members as well as their own health, and the frequent changes to "the guidelines". Extreme sufferers from mental health problems frequently felt suicidal.
  • Service users reported their access was greatly reduced, and response to requests for support were slow or insufficient. They mostly turned to their GPs or a known community health provider. These did not provide a good service in 50% of cases according to our respondents. Some reported health professionals unreceptive to requests for help.
  • Face-to-face therapies were considered more efficacious especially for those with more severe mental health problems. For some a mix of phone and video therapies with occasional face-to-face support was preferred.
  • 50% of service users considered self-help information contradictory and not particularly helpful.

The full report is available to download below.


Experiences of using Community Mental Health during the pandemic - January 2021

In November 2020 we published our report, 'Access to Mental Health Support for People in Recovery for Substance Misuse'. We explored the views and experiences of residents in North Somerset with co-occurring substance misuse and mental health problems in accessing and receiving support from public services.

You can download a copy of the report below.


Access to Mental Health Support for People in Recovery for Substance Misuse - November 2020

Healthier Together is currently seeking responses to its draft development specification for the Integrated Community Mental Health Service in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. You can view the draft by downloading it below. If you would like to share your feedback, you can also download a feedback form. It must be submitted by 12pm on the 23rd April.


BNSSG Community Mental Health Programme


BNSSG CMH Specification Feedback Template

If you would like to share your experience of mental health services with us, click the pink 'Talk to us' button below.

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You can help make health and care services better by sharing your view and experiences.

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