An innovative new NHS service for people needing urgent mental health care and support, is set to open in Weston-super-Mare in the Spring.
The crisis and recovery centre will be open seven days a week and will offer a welcoming, community-based alternative to A&E for people experiencing emotional distress.
The service was designed in partnership with local patient representatives and forms part of the local NHS ‘Healthy Weston’ plans to enhance and improve healthcare services for people in North Somerset.
It has been commissioned by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and will be delivered by local mental health charity Second Step.
CCG Area Director Colin Bradbury, said:
“People with urgent mental health needs often end up in A&E but we know that it isn’t the best place for people to receive the specialist care and support that they need at such times.
“This new centre aims to bridge that gap by providing a safe, welcoming and community-based environment that people can walk into for help, seven days a week.
“The crisis centre approach will be better for people seeking urgent mental health support, while also relieving pressure on our busy local hospitals.”
Second Step Chief Executive Aileen Edwards said:
“The Crisis and Recovery Centre is a much-needed service for North Somerset and we’re really excited to be starting the important work of creating a safe and accessible place for people in crisis.”
Justine Keeble, Chair of Clarity - North Somerset Independent Mental Health Network (Clarity – NSIMHN), said:
“As a representative of people with lived experience of mental health conditions, I am proud to say that the Independent Mental Health Network have played a central role in the design and development of the service in its early stages, ensuring the views of those who matter most, those who may ultimately access the service, are both put across and heard.
“We welcome the progress made in the mobilisation phase so far and will continue to play an active role in ensuring the service user voice is represented at every level during both the remainder of this phase, and once the service launches in Spring 2020.”
One in four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives and Weston and the surrounding areas have a higher than average incidence of mental illness.
The new centre will address that need with a comprehensive open access service from 6pm to midnight, seven days a week and will be able to provide support for hundreds of vulnerable people each month.
The centre approach is a nationally recognised model which provides a more proactive, person-centred service to support people experiencing emotional distress or a mental health crisis. Similar crisis and recovery centre models have been created in other parts of England with great success.
Feedback from people who have experienced mental health crisis suggested the centre should be based within the community, away from medical sites such as the hospital and in response the centre will be based in Weston-super-Mare’s town centre on The Boulevard.
It is planned to open in the Spring following signing of the service contract between the CCG and Second Step in December.
A bespoke interior design is being drawn up involving people with lived experiences of similar services, to ensure the centre provides a welcoming environment for everyone.
The new centre has not yet been officially named. During the service design phase the CCG collected a list of suggestions from engagement events which have been shared with Second Step, who have been engaging with the public and service users on a preferred option.