Signpost NENC, a new mental health and wellbeing hub for people in the North East and North Cumbria, is now live!
The Signpost website (www.signpostnenc.co.uk) has been developed in partnership with the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System and Media Savvy, a North East-based multi award-winning social enterprise that provides education, volunteering and employment opportunities for people with mental health needs. It is funded by the North East Mental Health Clinical Network.
Explaining why the site has been developed, Darren Archer, Manager at the North East Mental Health Clinical Network, said: “An important part of helping people to make positive choices and support themselves is to make sure they have easy access to good-quality information.
“The aim of the Signpost North East and North Cumbria (NENC) website is to be one easy-to-navigate ‘hub’, where people can find all the information they need to look after their wellbeing. Access to good information is vital to removing the barriers that can get in the way of good mental health.”
Darren added, “The site will continually be growing and improving – we encourage people to use the site, test out the information, and let us know where we can make improvements.”
Steve Nash, Mental Health Voluntary Care Sector lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “The need for reliable sources of information about local mental health services and support comes up again and again in consultations about what people want, from the general public and professionals alike.”
Consultations with users of the local Recovery College Online service echoed this, with many saying that they wanted something that would simplify searches for local services. One person said, “It’s really hard to find the things you need in your local area on the internet; [Signpost NENC] will bring everything into one place and make it a lot easier”.
Steve Nash explained, “Finding an easy way to meet this need is far from straightforward, not least because the success of any online portal or directory depends on all of us using it and updating it. The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System is making a genuine attempt to try and solve this problem once and for all, and this website has the potential to be a great resource for the whole region.”
Development of the site has been supported by people and organisations from across the community. Voluntary groups, NHS partners, local authorities, charities and focus groups have all been involved to bring together the best help, local to you, into one easy to navigate hub.
Recognising that a huge range of things can affect peoples’ wellbeing, the site covers topics from debt to anxiety, bereavement to physical health issues, which can all influence our day-to-day lives and mental health. There are even useful links to help people locate their local GP surgery or dentist.
The website can also be browsed by area, with pages for (for example) North Tyneside, Durham, Allerdale and Copeland, and Northumberland, where users can see an overview of the services available to them locally. A map search function also helps users locate services nearby.
Dan Makaveli, Managing Director at Media Savvy, said: “The Signpost NENC website has the potential to become a truly valuable resource for our local communities.
“Excitingly for us, this funding from the North East Mental Health Clinical Network will enable us to employ two of our learners, who are mental health service users themselves, to develop and maintain the site. Not only will this be a huge boost to these individuals’ recovery and progression, but it will also ensure that people with lived experience of mental illness are at the heart of the website’s growth.”
John Lawlor, Chief Executive Lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System’s Mental Health Programme, said: “We are committed to working with our partners across the Integrated Care System to keep developing this resource. Signpost NENC will never be ‘finished’; it will be constantly reviewed and updated to ensure everyone living in the North East and North Cumbria can quickly and easily access the best, most up-to-date information.
“If you think there is something missing which we should add, please get in touch (using the contact tab in the top right corner of the site) to let us know, so we can keep improving this resource for everyone.”