‘Lifechanging’ support for Herts mental health services after £3m funding boost

PUBLISHED: 07:30 14 February 2020

Hertfordshire and West Essex STP has been awarded £3 million so residents can access more services during mental health crises. Picture: Supplied

Hertfordshire and West Essex STP has been awarded £3 million so residents can access more services during mental health crises. Picture: Supplied


Adults experiencing mental health crises will have better access to emergency health assessments and treatment closer to home, thanks to a £3 million funding boost from NHS England.

The Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) have had their bid for £3 million of extra funding over two years approved, with improvements rolling out this year.

Adults residents of Herts and Essex will be able to utilise 24/7 access to emergency mental health assessments at Stevenage's Lister Hospital, Watford General Hospital and Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow.

There will also be improved home treatment options, including face to face meetings and intensive therapy and support.

Two new 'crisis cafes,' run in partnership with the mental health charity Mind, will provide a safe, relaxed and friendly environment for those experiencing a mental health crisis to speak about their situation. The cafes will have staff who have experienced mental-health illness and can offer personalised support.

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Finally, there will be improved social care crisis support on weekends, so Hertfordshire's Night Light services will be offered during high levels of need.

Dr Geraldine O'Sullivan, Hertfordshire and West Essex STP clinical lead for mental health, said: "I am delighted that we will soon be able to offer the same level of hospital or community-based services to adults experiencing mental health emergencies as we offer to those who have physical injuries or illnesses.

"This kind of support can change the lives of people living with mental ill-health and their friends and families."

"We have been working with patients, service users and carers to make sure that we design responsive mental health crisis services together. These vital funds will help us ensure that the 1.5 million people living in Hertfordshire and West Essex have access to 24/7 urgent and emergency mental health assessments and intensive home treatment by 2020.

Julie Nicholson, chief executive of Herts Mind Network, added: "We are delighted to be delivery partners in this innovative programme to enhance mental health crisis services across Hertfordshire and West Essex. This new investment will ensure that local residents have access to seamless out of hours support during times of crisis.

"The new Crisis Café model will ensure that residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis will benefit from an out of hours drop-in facility every day of the week."

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