New mental health crisis service in North Tyneside

A new service for North Tyneside residents struggling with mental health issues will be launched in March.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 3:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 6:38 pm
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Mental Health Concern will deliver the scheme which will give people practical help to tackle their issues.

It comes after it was revealed that some patients have been turned away from crisis services for not meeting the criteria.

A report, prepared by Health Watch North Tyneside, summarised research into the area’s mental health crisis care.

It said that those suffering from a mental health crisis will experience “risk to self, the need for immediate intervention, a ‘can’t cope’ situation and a worsening or change in mental health”.

But some people claimed they were turned away by the crisis service because they didn’t meet the threshold for support.

To combat this health bosses have agreed to develop a service for those experiencing “low level” crisis.

The report said: “The CCG have agreed to implement our action of commissioning a low-level crisis support service for those who do not meet the threshold for the crisis resolution and home treatment team.

“This will be commissioned through Together in a Crisis initially and then a new service developed next year.”

Councillors sitting on Thursday’s meeting of adult social care and well-being sub committee heard the report.

After the meeting Scott Vigurs, director of Mental Health Concern, which has been running a service like it for two years in Newcastle, explained how people would be helped.

He said: “When people are crisis the mental health system is a complex one for them to navigate.

“We plug that gap for people who don’t need that intervention from a psychiatrist or a mental health nurse.

“If you think you’re in a mental health crisis then you are in a mental health crisis.”

Mr Vigurs said that issues such as money problems, relationship breakdowns or drugs and alcohol can be a factor in declining mental health and that the charity’s link workers help people tackle these.

He continued: “Sometimes people need someone to talk to them, given them solidarity and help them through it.

“People don’t have mental health crisis in isolation. Crisis can be caused by socio-economic factors such as relationship problems, unstable housing, drugs and alcohol, financial issues or having a chaotic social circle.

“Our workers will provide practical support and can help their clients access services they need, for example going with them them to a GP’s appointment if needed or help them fill out a benefits claim.”

The workers employed by the charity have a wide range of experience including psychology graduates as well as those who have expertise in dealing with housing.

“We’re looking for people who have got empathy and are good at problem solving. We look at values and character in people first,” said Mr Vigurs.

He added that all of the organisation’s workers are given all the training they need to do the job.

People will be referred to the service after first seeing the Crisis Team and being assessed by a clinician.