New Doncaster mental health service ‘Safe Space’ launches

A mental health ‘Safe Space’ has been officially launched in Doncaster this week.

Located in Intake, the innovative service ran by NHS Doncaster CCG, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), People Focused Group (PFG), Mind and Open Minds, has been given the green light for two years funding following a successful pilot last year.  

Health and care organisations across Doncaster developed the idea to create a new service which could provide out of hours support for people experiencing mental health crisis and avoid them having to attend the local emergency department.

Accessed via the single point of access phone line, the service uses peer and voluntary support empathise with people experiencing a mental health crisis building wrap around support and a living well plan for each individual which links with local neighbourhood assets and services which can help further.

Glyn Butcher from PFG said: “For me, it all boils down to one thing – being able to have a conversation and being listened to. Nurses and doctors aren’t always able to do this at the emergency department. Being supported at the right place and right time in local communities can quite often stop problems from getting worse.”

The new service is just one part of a significant investment into local mental health services from NHS England aligned to the Long Term Plan.

Through multi-agency working, three areas of opportunity have been identified to use peer and voluntary support which aim to reduce inappropriate attendances at emergency departments, reduce high intensity use of clinical services for non-clinical issues and increase support for people after attempted suicide.

Stephen Emmerson, Head of Strategy & Delivery at NHS Doncaster CCG said: “The overall purpose of this investment to mental health services across Doncaster is to provide alternative support for those presenting in crisis or consistently at inappropriate services with mental health problems and emotional distress.

“The aim is to deliver or make accessible positive asset-based services and activity that maximise independence health and wellbeing using a collaborative approach through areas of support.

“Through new co-produced and interconnected services that we are creating, people will receive support to de-escalate crises, assess personal challenges and develop plans to address those challenges making effective connections to support implementation for effective longer-term recovery.”

Paula Thompson, RDaSH Service Manager for the Single of Point of Access Team, said: “When people are experiencing a mental health crisis it is important that they have a calm and safe environment in which to receive the support they need away from the busy emergency department.”

Alyson Scott, CEO of Doncaster Mind said: “Quick access to appropriate services is essential for people struggling with mental ill-health. This partnership offers an opportunity to stop people escalating into crisis and support to continue to stay well.”

Helen Mason, Managing Director of Open Minds said: “We’re really excited to be part of the evolving mental health services for the people of Doncaster. This work has been entirely co-produced with people at the very heart of what we have designed. It’s our hope that everyone experiencing mental health problems will get the support they need at the right time in the right way.”

Access to ‘Safe Space’ is through the single point of contact line only. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the team on 01302 566999.