Plans revealed to bring crisis café movement to Suffolk

There are plans to open crisis cafes across Suffolk. Picture: SIMON PARKER

There are plans to open crisis cafes across Suffolk. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Talks are underway about setting up crisis cafés across Suffolk to provide out-of-hours support for people struggling with mental illness.

Melanie Craig. Picture: GREAT YARMOUTH AND WAVENEY CCG

Melanie Craig. Picture: GREAT YARMOUTH AND WAVENEY CCG - Credit: Archant

Such venues have opened in other parts of the UK in recent years and are expected to relieve pressure on busy emergency and NHS services.

With most help only available in normal working hours, people in urgent need during the evenings and weekends will often end up in a police cell or A&E.

Britain’s biggest police force received a phone call relating to mental health every five minutes in 2016, it was revealed last week.

Crisis cafés are safe havens where people can get immediate help from a trained professional, or simply find solace in the company of others.

Health bosses in Suffolk have now revealed plans to bring the movement to the county.

Melanie Craig, chief officer of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We recognise the value of more community based services for people with mental health problems in crisis, one initiative we have identified which may benefit local people is the introduction of a crisis café.

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“Along with partners across the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), including the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, we are exploring the possibility of submitting a future bid in order to fund such a venture.

“Plans are in very early stages and we are looking at a variety of locations across Great Yarmouth and Waveney.”

In response to the financial and cultural difficulties facing the NHS, 44 STPs have been set up across England to create a five-year plan for health and social care in their local areas which will better meet the needs of patients today.

The Suffolk and North East Essex STP has recently released a document laying out some of its ambitions, one of which is to create a crisis café in Suffolk.

A spokesman for the Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk CCGs said: “Further improving mental health services is an important focus for the area’s STP.

“With our health and care partners the priority is to develop and deliver more locally-based services which enable the early identification of mental health issues and offer speedy intervention services so that people can recover as quickly as possible.

“Working with our system-wide partners in the health and care and voluntary sectors we continue to explore the development of mental health services that will most effectively meet people’s future needs.”

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