Boost for mental health services in York
City of York Council has welcomed news that the Department of Health has awarded £178,200 to create a Safe Haven at Sycamore House to provide a place of safety ‘out of hours’ for people who are at risk of experiencing mental health crisis.
The Safe Haven will provide a place of sanctuary for people experiencing out-of-hours mental distress and will provide open access and multi-agency support for anybody who attends. The service will not only provide an alternative to residents going to accident and emergency but will also look to help users feel able to come to seek support from the Safe Haven before their distress escalates into a crisis.
The Safe Haven will operate in addition to the support already provided by Sycamore House, which currently hosts a range of services for mental health service users to aid recovery.
As part of the project Sycamore House will be refurbished and the Safe Haven will have a relaxed, informal, non-clinical atmosphere. The design of the facility will focus on elements that can make a positive contribution to good mental health – ease of access, light, tranquillity, and a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere.
Yesterday, the Department for Health announced the funding that is being made available to improve places of safety across the country. The announcement confirmed the approval of a bid from the York and North Yorkshire Crisis Care concordat, including City of York Council, the Partnership Commissioning Unit (PCU) – an NHS shared service arrangement across the four North Yorkshire CCGs – and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV). TEWV will support the Safe Haven initiative with links from its Crisis and Home Based Treatment Team and work with third sector organisations regarding the staffing of the Safe Haven.
Once it opens in May 2017 the new service will operate seven days a week between 6pm and midnight.
Councillor Carol Runciman, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “This funding is very welcome and will help us provide support to those who need it outside of daytime hours. The support offered by the Safe Haven can be as simple as having a cup of tea and a chat or addressing the isolation that many people with mental health difficulties experience. It is hoped that many users will feel able to access support from the Safe Haven and it can make a real difference to residents across the city.”