New £230,000 suite to stop people with mental health issues spending nights in Leeds police cells

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A place of safety for vulnerable people with mental health problems in Leeds has been expanded.

The Section 136 suite at the Becklin Centre near Leeds St James’s Hospital aims to support people detained by police under the Mental Health Act, giving them a clinical space where they can have mental health assessments and receive care for up to 72 hours.

The new £230,000 facility opened through a partnership between Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) and West Yorkshire Police this week.

It is double the size of its predecessor, with four purpose-built rooms for adults. A separate space for under 18s is being revamped.

Judith Barnes, clinical operations manager for the new Section 136 suite at LYPFT, said: “This new facility means we can work in partnership with the police to look after more vulnerable people without them being detained in cells.

“Our new facility offers more capacity and a much better environment to support recovery for people who are going through a very tough time. It will be staffed by a highly skilled clinical team who are fully equipped to help people who might be a danger to themselves or others.

“As part of the refurbishment we have constructed a new access road for police vehicles which means patients can be received through a discreet entrance to the rear of the Becklin Centre. This offers more privacy and dignity for service users which is in line with this year’s World Mental Health Day theme.

“We have also invested in resource and training so we can provide better care for people who may be intoxicated through alcohol or drugs, which can often pose additional challenges for the NHS and the police.”

This latest development is part of LYPFT’s Crisis Assessment Service which saw a new Crisis Assessment Unit open in July.

The unit offers services for adults experiencing an acute and complex mental health crisis that require a period of assessment of up to 72 hours.