‘Mental health crisis café’ opens on South Ealing Road

Image above: The Circle mental health crisis cafe

Initiative has been started to relieve pressure on A&E departments

The UK’s first ‘mental health crisis café’ has opened on South Ealing Road. Children and young people in the area can now take advantage of the venue, which has been specifically designed for their needs.

The service, called The Circle, provides drop-in and appointment-based specialist mental health support for anyone under 18, all year round.

It is a partnership between Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind (HFEH MIND) in partnership with NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across North West London.

Circle has been designed to create a welcoming, calm, and safe space with cafe facilities for local children and young people.

Clinical and non-clinical staff work at Circle, but both are highly specialised Crisis Support Navigators from HFEH Mind and have a background in CAMHS and crisis care work.

Young people can self-refer or be referred to the Circle by a school, social care, A&E, or CAMHS crisis services between 3.00pm-11.00pm on weekdays and 12.00-8.00pm on weekends.

It provides drop-in and appointment-based specialist mental health support 365 days a year, to relieve pressure on local A&E departments.

“A much-needed safe space for young people”

Nana Owusu, Director of Children & Young People’s Services at HFEH Mind said:

“A&E departments are already overstretched and often not the best place for a young person in crisis who’s already feeling distressed and overwhelmed. Circle provides a much-needed safe space and immediate support for young people who reach a crisis point with their mental health.”

The service has been co-designed with local young people, as well as parents, carers and local partner agencies, including Community CAMHS teams, CAMHS Crisis teams, social care, the Met Police, local GPs, youth liaison and diversion teams, drug and alcohol services and NHS North West London Integrated Care Board.

Dr Johan Redlinghuys, Clinical Director for North West London CAMHS Provider Collaborative said:

“Opening the Circle is a significant landmark in our strive to make sure young people in mental health crisis are treated by the right people, in the right place, as quickly as possible. Demand for NHS mental health services continues to increase and so by putting in place a specialist hub to support young people across North West London, we hope this will reduce pressure on A&E units and set a benchmark for other similar services across the NHS.”

The centre will run on an 18-month trial pilot project and will be monitored by the partners throughout this time.

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