Grainne Eloi, Interim Head of Mental Health Services

The month of March marks three years since Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust first launched the First Response service, which offers mental health crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week to vulnerable people needing urgent crisis support.  This has resulted in people being cared for closer to home, with no out of area placements since the service launched in 2015.

Before the radical redesign of urgent mental health care in Bradford, patients often had to travel a significant distance to receive mental health care at a time when they were in crisis. Following the redesign of services, patients are getting the help they need within their own communities without having to travel long distances.

Accessed through a single phone number, 01274 221181, people in crisis can ring for help from trained staff, who can identify the most appropriate course of action.

The service is operated by the Trust in partnership with Bradford and Airedale Clinical Commissioning Groups, City of Bradford Metropolitan Council, West Yorkshire Police, Haven, a day-time adult mental health service, safer space a night-time service for children and young people run in partnership with Creative Support and Sanctuary, a night-time service developed with mental health charity Mind.

First Response has made a significant difference to the local management of crisis care, in particular for the emergency services. Intervening early and signposting to the right services has reduced demand on the police, ambulance services and A&E department and achieved a significant reduction in people detained under section 136 – which gives police the power to take someone to a place of safety.  The Care Trust, council, police and other partners have been national leaders in this area of work as part of the ‘Crisis Care Concordat’ multi agency partnership.

Building on the success of the First Response mental health crisis service and completing the mental health crisis care pathway offered across the Bradford District, urgent care service now includes: safer space which provides a homely and welcoming overnight place for vulnerable children and young people aged under 18 to visit in emotional distress or crisis from 10pm to 10am, which is run in partnership with Creative Support, Haven, a day-time adult mental health service, which is open from 10am-6pm, based at the Cellar Trust in Shipley and the Sanctuary, a night-time adult mental health service, which is open from 6pm-11pm, based at Mind in Bradford.

Contributing to the success of the service, the intensive home treatment team, which includes occupational therapists, social workers, community mental health nurses, support workers and psychologists, assist people to be treated at home wherever possible rather than by being brought into hospital.

Grainne Eloi, Interim Head of Mental Health Services at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Partnership working has been key to the success of caring for people locally with acute mental health needs. We have worked closely with local voluntary care services, the local authority and other providers to ensure the highest quality of crisis care for people across the district.”

People in crisis can access safer space, Haven and the Sanctuary via the Care Trust’s First Response Service, telephone 01274 221181.