How are cafes in Leeds helping people who are having a mental health crisis?

Leeds is set to get a third mental health crisis cafe which aims to help those at risk of self-harm and suicide.

Funding worth £314,000, via NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), means a Well Bean crisis cafe can open in west Leeds adding to the two that are already established at Lincoln Green and Beeston and it will open seven nights a week for the next two years.

The main aim of the cafe, which serves refreshments and drinks, is to help reduce social isolation and to be a place where people in need can go and get help there first rather than call blue light services or attend A&E.

The Well Bean cafe is being run by Touchstone, a provider of health and well-being services, in partnership with Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.

Jim Leyland, operations director inclusion at Touchstone, said: “We are delighted to build on our current successes and support for people at risk of self harm and suicide. We aim to reduce social isolation and to contribute to a city-wide response to safeguarding people in crisis.

“In the longer term we hope that people at the point of an emerging mental health crisis will contact or come to the Crisis Cafés first, rather than call blue light services or attend A&E.”

There are plans for a site in Dewsbury and one has also opened in Huddersfield. The growth of the Well Bean initiative follows the success of the original café at Lincoln Green, which has had more than 4,000 people through its doors since opening in November 2016.

Success

Between October and December 2018 there were 490 referrals to the café and 421 visits.

Mr Leyland added: “We are proud of the fact that Well Bean are some of the first crisis cafés in the UK. Also, we now are getting interest from other cities – including in the USA – who want to replicate the model.”

The late-night cafés provide people with a safe space and support if they find themselves with nowhere else to turn to when other mental health services are closed.

Tim Ryley, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds CCG, added: “The NHS Long Term Plan has reiterated the ambition of the NHS to meet the needs of people who require help when they experience mental ill health. As a CCG we continue to look at opportunities to increase the range of services available to people and more importantly offer different ways to access services.

“We know that one size does not fit all. However we also know that people experiencing mental ill-health should be seen at a more appropriate setting rather than A&E. We’re really pleased with the evidence provided by the Well Bean crisis cafes and are confident that the new service will offer the right care, in the right place and at the right time.”

How to refer

Leeds residents can self-refer to the Well Bean cafés on 07760 173476, or ask a professional health or social care worker to refer them. The number for professionals to ring is 07760 173505.

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