Last week (18.10.2017), the Department of Health launched a £15m fund to better support people at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis. This represents another crucial stage in Government-led work that has driven an 80% reduction in people being detained in police cells under the Mental Health Act.
The 'Beyond Places of Safety’ grant scheme aims to improve support services for those requiring urgent and emergency mental healthcare for a range of mental health conditions, such as psychosis, bipolar disorder or personality disorders that could cause them to be a risk to themselves or others.
This follows an initial £15m investment in the ‘Improving Places of Safety’ scheme, which aimed to improve health-based ‘places of safety’ for those experiencing a crisis, in order to ensure that fewer vulnerable people ended up in a police cell following detention under the Mental Health Act.
Since 2012, the number of people being detained in police cells under the Mental Health Act has fallen by 80%. The formation of the Crisis Care Concordat in 2014 was central to this improvement*, and this additional investment of £15m will help continue this positive trend.
The ‘Beyond Places of Safety’ investment will build on this positive trend by focusing more on preventing people from reaching crisis point in the first place and by developing new, innovative approaches to support people who experience a mental health crisis.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health said:
As part of the Government’s commitment to improving mental health throughout society, we are determined to go further to help people who are experiencing a crisis or feel they are approaching one.
We want make sure that therapeutic and empathetic support is in place to stop people falling ill, support them through crisis and help them recover.
Jackie Doyle-Price, Minister for Mental Health said:
There can be few experiences more frightening and disorientating than mental health crisis, and I commend the teams already providing brilliant support with help from our previous grant scheme. This additional funding will give local areas scope to do even more, and I look forward to seeing lots of innovative ideas for improving urgent and emergency mental healthcare across the country.
Kelly Bark, Clinical Practice Lead, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, commented;
Through the ‘Improving Places of Safety’ scheme, we were able to transform the centre at Warneford hospital from a very clinical empty space to a safe and friendly haven. We created a relaxing family-friendly room with a TV, tea and coffee facilities and murals on the walls where patients can be together with their families in a stress-free environment. We are also hoping to soon commence work to create another safe space for people with mental health problems.
We were pleased to hear that the Government is now launching a second scheme so local areas have an opportunity to further improve their services for people in mental health crisis."
Timeline of government work to improve urgent and emergency mental healthcare
- In 2012, over 8,600 people experiencing mental health crisis were detained in a police station in England under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
- *In 2014, 22 national bodies spanning health, policing, social care, housing, local government and the third sector came together with a shared goal of improving the provision of health and community-based places of safety for people suffering mental health crises. They marked their commitment by signing the Crisis Care Concordat.
- In 2015/16 the number of people being detained in a police station in England under section 136 of the Mental Health Act dropped to 1,764 - meaning 80% fewer people are being detained in this way.
Improving Places of Safety scheme – examples of progress so far
- £30,000 was allocated to Gloucestershire and Herefordshire to provide a Health based place of safety that’s suitable for young people.
- The East of England Ambulance service and Sussex police both received funding for street triage vehicles equipped to support those in crisis wherever they are in the area.
- A dual diagnosis support service was set up in Doncaster, so anyone in crisis can self-refer, and get help more quickly and easily.
If you’re linked to a local Crisis Care Concordat that would like to submit a bid to launch a ‘Beyond Places of Safety’ project in your area, you can find out more and download the application form here. Bids opened on Wednesday 18 October 2017 and will remain open until Sunday 21 January 2018.