• West Yorkshire mental health trust to provide overnight beds for children and young people suffering a mental health crisis
  • First service of its kind in the region but it is expected to be rolled out across the West Yorkshire STP area
  • Trust says the facility will reduce the number of children and young people admitted as inpatients or to A&E

A facility which is the first of its kind in Yorkshire will offer children and young people experiencing a mental health crisis community support with overnight beds, to keep them from being admitted to hospital or having to go to A&E.

The safer space service run by Bradford District Care Foundation Trust has been funded with a £450,000 grant from the Department of Health.

The aim of the new service, which is being run as a pilot, is to:

  • reduce acute mental health admissions for children and young people;
  • bring down accident and emergency attendances;
  • reduce young people with mental health problems being admitted to paediatric wards; and
  • reduce police interventions.

The trust’s interim director of operations and nursing, Debra Gilderdale, said if the project is successful it will be rolled out across the West Yorkshire sustainability and transformation plan area.

She added: “The safe space is very much linked with the West Yorkshire [urgent emergency care] vanguard, and will be spread right across the region.

“The rollout will come from the STP. We want to be able to offer this across West Yorkshire.”

The service follows the Haven crisis support unit for adults, which opened in August, and was funded with £284,000 from the West Yorkshire Urgent Emergency Care Network vanguard.

Children and young people or their families can gain access to the safer space service through the region’s First Response phone service.

It will be staffed with a team from the trust, mental health charity Creative Support and Bradford Metropolitan District Council and include psychiatric nurses, consultants, social workers and therapists.

The pilot will start with two beds offering support from 10pm to 10am and the centre is expected to expand to five beds.

The city’s two CCGs and commissioners in neighbouring areas are understood to have made a commitment to continue to fund the scheme after the 10 month pilot ends.

Ms Gilderdale said the most serious cases will still have to be admitted as inpatients, but the new service will reduce the number of children with mental health problems visiting A&E or having to be admitted to tier four CAMHS services.

She added: “Safer space is a pathway to support young people who are in emotional distress and crisis who need time away from the stresses and triggers they are experiencing at home, school or college.

“Without an alternative option it means sending them back to the same environment and this can, and does, result in an escalation of their distress leading to re-attendances at A&E then admission to our acute services.”