East Sussex mental health services welcome Belgium visitors

Local NHS mental health services welcomed mental health professionals from Belgium this week to build partnerships, share ideas and ways of working to help deliver the best mental health care. 

The visitors from Antwerp, which included a nurse, psychologist and coordinator from outreach services and crisis home treatment teams, visited services at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability healthcare to people of all ages across Sussex, on Monday 18 November. 

The visit included a trip to Amberstone Recovery and Rehabilitation Unit, a service that provides support to help people recover from long-term mental health issues and support them back into the community, the Assessment and Treatment Services, and Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment services in Eastbourne and Hastings. 

During the visit there was a focus on the East Sussex Rehabilitation Pathway, which is a brand new service designed to help and support people with their mental wellbeing recovery, through improved quality of life and engage in their local community.

Klaas Martens, a Mental Health Nurse from the Karel de Grote College University, and his colleagues, work in community services in Antwerp and are taking a lead in developing their established assertive outreach service which is being reviewed along with a new crisis and home treatment service. 

During the visit Klaas said, “I work as a lecturer in mental health nursing and as a nurse/researcher in a mental health services care group called Multiversum, where we are currently broadening our community services.”

“We are so grateful to have been able to arrange a visit to Sussex Partnership. It has enabled us to obtain a general view on mental health services in East Sussex, how they work and how the different services interact with each other.”

Simon Wharne, Team Leader for Assertive Outreach in East Sussex, added, “The purpose of the visit was to learn and to share best practice. There are examples of good practice within our services which Klaas and his colleagues plan to trial in Antwerp.” 

“We were also interested in how things are organised differently in Belgium. We explored the advantages and disadvantages of different services and interventions and we hope to be able to visit their services at some point and learn more about one area in particular - the employment of peer workers and their networking with family carer support organisations.” 

“We would like to thank Klaas and his colleagues for their interest in our services and we were pleased to be able to host the visit and learn from each other’s approaches.”