New monies to support urgent mental health services for people in Kent and Medway

Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) is delighted to announce a successful bid which will bring around £4m, from NHS England, of new funding for people who need urgent mental health care and support across the county.

Lauretta Kavanagh, Mental Health Programme Director, Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership said: “This is an absolutely fantastic contribution over three years to help develop services for people at a time when they really need urgent care. The funding will help to enhance existing mental health services but also provide new services in identified areas of need. It’s an exciting development and working with Mental Health Matters (MHM) and Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT), we are keen to get these projects off the ground as soon as we can.”

The funding includes the development of four safe haven services to be located across Kent and Medway. The safe havens will provide a supportive place for those who are in mental or emotional distress however do not require admission to a psychiatric inpatient ward. The safe havens will provide support in a welcoming, safe, supportive, comfortable and non-clinical environment that promotes recovery, supports people to resolve issues that may have contributed to their mental distress and promotes maintaining their wellbeing in their community.

MHM, who has over 35 years’ experience in delivering support to those with complex mental health support needs, will be operating the service.

Helen Mackay, Chief Executive for MHM said: “This funding will help mental health services to work together to provide the right service in the right place. Admission to an inpatient unit is often not appropriate but a place where someone can de-escalate with the right support and expertise can be much more beneficial. The service will run between 6pm and 11pm every single day of the year. Each safe haven will provide a non-referral based, open access alternative provision for those aged 16+ who are at risk of a mental health crisis. They can also act as a rapid diversion from hospital and A&E, where police, ambulance and paramedics can bring an individual in crisis (not requiring hospital) to be supported by skilled and experienced staff.”

Accessible community locations for the safe havens are currently being determined based on existing services and evidenced need, but it is expected one will be located in the Thanet area.

The funding will also help secure the future of liaison mental health services based in acute hospitals provided by KMPT. In line with the ambitions set out in the 5 Year Forward View for Mental Health, here in Kent and Medway we are working to ensure that no acute hospital is without adult (18 years and above) mental health liaison services in emergency departments and inpatient wards. This funding will help develop existing liaison mental health services based in William Harvey and Darent Valley Hospital to move to Core 24 standard services; providing a rapid response, expert mental health assessment and care options, which can significantly reduce length of stay for people in mental health distress who are admitted or attend one of main general hospital sites across Kent and Medway.

Lauretta continued: “In line with the ambitions of the Five Year Forward View and NHS Long Term Plan, it’s important to ensure that the right mental health support is available for everyone. One of our top priorities for 19/20 is to develop an urgent and emergency mental health care pathway for people of all ages across the county. This is additional funding is a fantastic step forward but there is still work to do.”

The other element of funding will contribute to developing improved access to crisis assessment and home treatment for people who would otherwise need psychiatric hospital admission. This will be developed as part of an expansion of the Crisis Home Treatment Teams (CRHTT) operated by KMPT.

These developments will help enhance the joint working of all mental health providers, ensuring closer working together to provide the right service, in the right place across Kent and Medway.