Mental health organisations in Northamptonshire have partnered up to launch two new pilot projects to expand the scope of a successful mental health service to new sections of our community.

In the last edition of Partnership Update, we brought you news of how Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) and the mental health charity Mind had increased the availability of its Crisis Cafés in major towns across the county. Now similar services are being piloted for under 18s and those who are homeless, giving even more local people access to support if they are struggling with their mental health or find themselves in a crisis.

In the project for children and young people, St Andrew’s Healthcare, the lowdown, Youth Works and NHFT have teamed up to offer collaborative Crisis Cafés for anyone between the ages of 12 and 18 living in Northamptonshire.

The pilot is being funded by NHS England to increase access to mental health support for young people, with the aim of reducing admissions of young people in a crisis presenting at accident and emergency departments.

The aim of the Crisis Cafés is to provide a safe place for young people to come along and receive support. Friendly mental health professionals are on hand to listen to and help individuals in their time of need, providing advice, support or signposting / referrals to the relevant team or organisation.

The weekly Crisis Cafés are open at Café Track, Market Square, Northampton, every Monday from 4pm until 8pm; and at Youth Works, Rockingham Road, Kettering, every Thursday from 4pm to 8pm. No appointment is necessary and further information is available at nhft.nhs.uk/camhs.

Meanwhile, NHFT and the Hope Centre have been working together to provide mental health cafés for people who are homeless or find themselves in need of the services that the Hope Centre provides in a separate pilot commissioned by NHS England.

Staffed by professional mental health workers and Hope Centre staff, the cafés provide a place of safety and support for those who are in a crisis or need help with their mental health. The team work with individuals to create a safety plan tailored to their needs, drawing on their strengths, resilience and coping mechanisms to help them manage their mental health and wellbeing. For updates on this project, visit nhft.nhs.uk/crisis-cafe.

Both projects are being piloted to the end of March 2020.