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Community Care

The statutory sector, the voluntary sector and the private sector provide services for people with mental health problems. This fact sheet explains how people with mental health problems can access community care services.

What is community care?
‘Community care’ has no single meaning. Broadly speaking it means helping people who need care and support to live with dignity and as much independence as possible ‘in the community’. Community care services are those which can be arranged and/or delivered by social services departments (and are also delivered by voluntary agencies). Those that are the responsibility of the health service, for example day hospitals, do not count as community care services – they should be thought of as community mental health services.

What are community care services?
A range of services are organised in the community by both social services and voluntary agencies – these include housing services, community centres for service users and carers, welfare rights advice and employment schemes. They also include: practical or financial support eg laundry services, home helps and meals - on wheels, special forms of housing, clinic, practical or emotional support, domestic assistance, physical or nursing care. Community care services can be arranged for a number of ‘client groups’, for example, children, elderly people, people with learning disabilities and people with mental health problems.

How do I contact social services?
The address and telephone number of social services departments should be available in the Town Hall or in the telephone directory under the name of your local council. Contact MindinfoLine for details on 0845 7660 163.

Are there any alternative services?
Statutory providers (the NHS and social services departments) are not the only agencies providing health and social care in the community.

There are a number of voluntary organisations, for example, local Mind associations which offer a range of different services for people with mental health problems, such as day care centres, counselling, employment projects and befriending schemes, drop in centres or social clubs, befriending, welfare rights centres, information services and employment training projects. Many voluntary organisations will accept self referrals.

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