The Sanctuary – A safe place for individuals experiencing crisis – Cambs, Peterborough & South Lincs Mind

The Sanctuary:
In essence, the Sanctuary provides a safe place for individuals experiencing crisis as an alternative to attending A&E. Referrals to the Sanctuary are strictly through the First Response Service. The Sanctuary is open 6pm to 1am 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is open to anyone aged 16years and over. There is a Sanctuary in Cambridge, Peterborough and outreach in Huntingdon. We offer practical and emotional support - the support provided is utterly centred around the individual, if they want to talk about and explore what brought them to the Sanctuary with a staff member they can. Equally if they just need some space to 'simply be' they can. Individuals may be exhausted, they can curl up and have a doze with a blanket. Whatever they need, we do our best to accommodate.

Co-Production

  • From start: Yes
  • During process: Yes
  • In evaluation: No

Evaluation

  • Peer: No
  • Academic: No
  • PP Collaborative: Yes

Find out more

 

 

 

What We Did

Background/Context:
In January 2015 the NHS invited individual organisations and partnerships to apply to become ‘vanguard’ sites for the new care models programme – one of the first steps towards delivering the Five Year Forward View.
The aim was to develop new approaches to improve the co-ordination of services and reduce pressure on A&E departments.   With the support of the Crisis Care Concordat, a local crisis care pathway was created – The First Response Service (FRS) and Sanctuary.
From April 2016 individuals experiencing mental health crisis were able to call NHS 111 and press option 2. This directed their call through to FRS, who would triage the crisis and put various interventions in place for that individual – one intervention could be a visit to the Sanctuary….

The Sanctuary:
In essence, the Sanctuary provides a safe place for individuals experiencing crisis as an alternative to attending A&E.  Referrals to the Sanctuary are strictly through the FRS.  The Sanctuary is open 6pm to 1am 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is open to anyone aged 16years and over. There is a Sanctuary in Cambridge, Peterborough and outreach in Huntingdon.

We offer practical and emotional support – the support provided is utterly centred around the individual, if they want to talk about and explore what brought them to the Sanctuary with a staff member they can. Equally if they just need some space to ‘simply be’ they can. Individuals may be exhausted, they can curl up and have a doze with a blanket. Whatever they need, we do our best to accommodate.

Apart from the opening and closing times, there are no restrictions on how long a visitor to the Sanctuary can stay – some may only need a few hours others 5-6 hours – however long they need, they get. If support is still needed when the Sanctuary is due to close, staff will make contact with FRS where a plan will be created with the visitor for support to continue once the Sanctuary closes.

Sanctuary staff are able to signpost and make onward referrals/warm handovers to other local services, which may be able to provide further support to the individual eg, drug and alcohol services.

Wider Active Support

We work in partnership with FRS (which is part of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust), local drug and alcohol services and other volunteer organisations.

Co-Production

Our Sanctuaries were co-designed with individuals who have experiences of mental health services, these included services users and carers. The Co-design group established values that would underpin the support provided by Sanctuary staff:
Inclusion, Personalisation, Empathy, Honesty and Working Together.
It was acknowledged that the Sanctuary needed to be welcoming, safe, calm and as non-medical as possible. Therefore, the Sanctuary looks like a living-room – pastel walls, soft carpet, comfy sofa’s, dimmed lighting. We aim to provide the creature comforts that A&E cannot provide.

Looking Back/Challenges Faced

Our Cambridge Sanctuary was the first to go live, followed by Peterborough.  Initially the attendance for Peterborough was very low. We explored why this might be and it became evident that we had picked up a ‘Cambridge model’ and put it in a location that was more culturally diverse.   This meant that we had to carry out separate marketing within Peterborough to target groups of individuals who may not have accessed support initially.

Sustainability

We have provided training to all staff on how to provide quality support to individual experiencing crisis. Regular supervisions with staff members and team meetings allow for knowledge sharing.

 

Evaluation (Peer or Academic)

Not yet, although early indicators show that there has been a reduction of attendance at A&E

 

Outcomes

Feedback from visitors to the Sanctuaries:

‘This place has helped me come so far in my recovery. If it wasn’t for this place I might not have made the year. It has made a difference to me. I feel like I’m not alone’

‘I was stressed out of my head when I came in. Now my head feels clear and I feel like there is hope’

‘I’m so grateful this service exists, not just for me but for others too’

 

Sharing

We regularly have enquiries from other Primary Trusts asking to meet with us to share learnings and positive practices.

We often attend talks to present/promote FRS and the Sanctuary

 

 

 

 

 

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