The Government has announced that South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have been jointly awarded £422,000 for health-based places of safety in Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds to support those in mental health crisis.
The money will fund a new safe space for people in crisis in Calderdale, a rebuild of the current health-based place of safety at Fieldhead in Wakefield, and improvements to mental health crisis liaison facilities for children and young people in Bradford. It will also fund a vehicle to convey people in crisis to the most appropriate setting, in a project to be delivered by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust across West Yorkshire.
The money has been awarded from a £15m national fund from the Department of Health, as part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to ensure proper provision of health and community-based places of safety for people suffering a mental health crisis who have committed no crime from being placed in a police cell. In total, 41 projects will benefit from a share of a £15m fund in the first wave of bids.
Rob Webster, chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Further investment into these essential services will help to maintain the safety and dignity of people experiencing a mental health crisis. We welcome this decision which will benefit people during what can be a very distressing period.”
The bids, totalling £6.1m, have been awarded to 15 NHS trusts and partnership organisations covering ten police force areas where use of police cells as a place of safety has previously been amongst the highest. In 2014/15 police cells were used as a place of safety in West Yorkshire on 384 occasions, including six where someone under the age of 18 was detained in custody.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This Government is committed to ending the scandal of people in crisis being locked up in police cells.
“When a person is experiencing a mental health crisis they need the right care, in the right place and at the right time. We are fully committed to improving mental health services across the country and these projects will help support people at a crucial time.”