People in Stockton have said that mental health is their top health and care priority for 2020, and Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees is calling on more people to share their views about their experiences and help improve services.

As part of the national Healthwatch England #SpeakUp2020 campaign aimed at improving healthcare, the local community champion has launched #SpeakUp2020 for people living in the Borough of Stockton to communicate the changes they want to see to their local health and social care services and their feedback will be used to identify the most important issues in the local area.

During 2018 to 2019, over 1,800 people spoke to Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees about their experiences of health and social care services. This feedback was used to identify the most important issues in the Borough of Stockton, including suicide prevention and mental health services, specifically for children and young people, and working with care homes to improve services.

Geoff Newton, Project Co-ordinator for Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees, said: “By taking five minutes to speak up about health and social care issues, people in Stockton can improve care for themselves, their loved ones, and their community, so we encourage people to take part in this national survey and have their say.”

Every Healthwatch in the country will be taking part in the #SpeakUp2020 campaign. Healthwatch England, the national champion for health and social care, has revealed the top issues people across the country are talking to Healthwatch about.

As well as a greater focus on peer support, people want the NHS and social care to gain a better understanding of what children and young people want and need from health services. Mental health and social care have also been identified as top priorities for the fourth year in a row.

Sir Robert Francis CQ, Chair of Healthwatch England said: “Listening to peoples’ experiences and understanding what they want to see done differently often provides practical solutions that help hospitals, GP surgeries and care services better manage the increasing demands being places on them.

“At Healthwatch this is what we do. We take the time to listen, and encourage others, especially leaders, across health and care to do the same. This builds vital insight and understanding that helps services make the right changes.”

People can share the changes they want to see by getting in touch with Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees by phoning (01642) 688312, emailing healthwatchstockton@pcp.uk.net or by completing a short online survey.

For more information on Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees visit the website at www.healthwatchstocktonontees.co.uk. Or follow us on Facebook: @HWStockton.on.Tees and Twitter: @HwStockton