A grant of £242,000 has been awarded by the Department of Health to support the development of new mental health support services for people in crisis in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Brighter Futures, a non-profit organisation based in Hanley, will lead the project.
Brighter Futures Chief Executive Helena Evans said: “We knew we had to think differently around mental health and homelessness provision in the city and across Staffordshire.
“Sadly, all too often people find themselves at A&E when they have a mental health need even when it’s not necessarily the most appropriate place for them. The new Place of Calm service will provide another option to both crisis services and people in mental distress. The service will provide de-escalation from crisis and suitable escalation where needed.
“The funding, which will also be used to buy a customised outreach vehicle, is to provide both physical and mental health support at a time and location to better engage with homeless people, initially in Stoke-on-Trent. We know the average life expectancy of someone sleeping rough is only 47 years and it’s no surprise that this coincides with a lack of access to even the most basic health care.”
The new partnership will see agencies including Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs and local authorities come together to improve the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in the area.
Dr Waheed Abbasi, Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Specialist Services for Stoke-on-Trent CCG and North Staffordshire CCG said: “A&E is often frightening to someone in mental health crisis and it can make their condition worse. We are excited about working with Brighter Futures to provide these much-needed Places of Calm in Tamworth and Hanley.”
Simon Whitehouse, Director of the Together We’re Better partnership of NHS and local government organisations that is working to transform health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I’m delighted this funding has been awarded to enable us to provide greater support to some of the most vulnerable people locally. This successful bid is an excellent example of partners working closely together to make a genuine difference to peoples’ lives.”
It is planned that the outreach vehicle will be operational in late 2018, and the Places of Calm will be completed by April 2019.
Funding is being phased in two stages with another similar project to be launched in the south of Staffordshire in 2019/20.