NHS bosses unveil new £1.3million mental health crisis unit in Leeds

The Becklin Centre in Leeds.
The Becklin Centre in Leeds.
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A new £1.3million unit aimed at supporting people in mental health crisis to get the immediate help they need has been unveiled by NHS bosses in Leeds.

The crisis assessment unit at the Becklin Centre is part of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (LYPFT) work to give people in crisis support to direct them away from A&E and police cells and into specialist hands.

GPs, carers, paramedics or the police will be able to refer patients to the unit’s specialist psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and social workers for up to 72 hours of support.

Funded by LYPFT and Leeds NHS commissioners, the unit has single sex accommodation for six people that will open seven days a week from September.

NHS England’s clinical director for mental health Dr Geraldine Strathdee unveiled the new unit, which is expected to see around 1,500 people a year.

Jeanette Lawson, LYPFT’s clinical operations manager for crisis services, said: “It will give our team the time and space they need to explore a person’s difficulties in more depth. Any time at the unit can be mixed with people’s regular activities and time back in their homes.”

LYPFT is also tackling issues around crisis support through a Mental Health Triage initiative with West Yorkshire Police to stop those in crisis spending time in police cells.

Mental health charities such as Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service this year claimed issues linked to austerity such as unemployment, debt and housing have seen third sector crisis services become stretched.

An inquiry into mental health services for young people reported in May that around 16,800 Leeds youths are experiencing mental health issues, while referrals of those 17 and over who are self harming have risen 184 per cent since 2012.