Surrey County Council’s new leader has stressed the need for better working with voluntary organisations and charities to help meet mental health needs in the county.

Cllr Tim Oliver says the council needs to “simplify the structure” around allowing residents to access resources available as it can be confusing.

Children and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Surrey have been heavily criticised over the last 12 months with excessive waiting times for assessments for children.

Cllr Oliver mentioned charities such as Relate which offers mental health support and said the council needs to work better at making sure residents know how to access help.

He said: “We need to work with the voluntary sector and the charitable sector who do an enormous amount of work in these areas. It’s about pulling together all that resource.”

Cllr Oliver has decided to continue as chairman of the health and wellbeing board despite taking on the role as council leader.

Since September he has been touring the county through Local and Joint Committee meetings briefing county and borough and district councillors on the policy around healthcare provision in the county.

Speaking at Waverley Local Committee on Friday, December 14 he said they needed to simplify the structure around access to mental health support.

Cllr Oliver added: “Once we have got a health plan we will work on that and will be making sure organisations are involved and we have got a much simplified structure.”

CAMHS has undergone an interim plan to help address the problems with waiting times for assessments.

Surrey’s CAMHS service is provided by Surrey and Borders Partnership.