Places of safety to support young people in mental health crisis across Lancashire and South Cumbria

Date posted: 24th August 2018

Hospitals across Lancashire and South Cumbria are using government funding to provide safe and appropriate spaces for children detained the Mental Health Act.

In May 2015, the Government announced that the Department of Health would be making up to £15 million in capital funding available to improve the provision, capacity and quality of health-based places of safety to better support people detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

New legislation prevents the detainment of young people aged under 18 in a police custody cell so the Lancashire Crisis Concordat Group bid for monies to provide one or more section 136 suites for children and young.

The place of calm should ideally be a health-based place of safety, where young people can be examined rapidly by a registered medical practitioner and interviewed by an approved mental health professional so that any necessary arrangements for care and treatment can be made.

Ormskirk and District General Hospital are the first to provide a calm place for young people in Lancashire and South Cumbria away from the noise, hustle and bustle of a busy department. The room has been named the Chillaxation Room by Jake Jones, from Skelmersdale, who is a member of the West Lancashire Children and Adolescent Mental Health patient group.

The hospital worked in collaboration with young people to co-design the space by understanding what would be calming for them in crisis. The young people chose sensory floors, bubble lighting and a seascape, these elements are particularly important when the young person has complex needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder or Learning Difficulties. Research has shown the sensory element is particularly benefit to this group of young people and has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, psychosis and self-harm.

Rachel Snow-Miller, Director of Commissioning for All Age Mental Health and Learning Disability Services for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “The Places of Calm will make a significant difference to children and young people in mental health crisis across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

“It’s fantastic to see Ormskirk and District General Hospital lead the way with their Chillaxation Room. Feedback from staff and service users has been incredibly positive and we look forward to more of these spaces opening across the region.”

Each place of calm will offer a place to sit or lie down with soft furnishings and brightly coloured cushions. The rooms will be safe for young people with suicidal ideation or violent behaviour.

Other hospitals across the region have started the process to implement places of calm and will open in the near future.

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