A crisis cafe is being launched in Bedford this month, providing support and a safe place for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis.
The crisis cafe will be a key element in providing fast, personal help for people needing mental health support without the need to spend hours in A&E.
The new service will offer free help and advice for anyone over 18 and will initially be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It will quickly progress to offering a seven-day-a-week service.
The cafes will be run by Mind BLMK on behalf of East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), which provides mental health care across Bedfordshire and Luton.
The Bedford Crisis Café will open at Florence Ball House on Bedford Health Village, Kimbolton Road, on Thursday, February 20 and run from 5-11pm.
No appointment is necessary, simply drop in to one of the cafes to receive support from friendly coordinators, recovery workers, peer support workers (PSWs) and volunteers trained to offer coping mechanisms and management techniques to help people work through their crisis.
The teams will also be able to refer and direct people to further services if required.
The cafes were identified as the preferred support option during a round of public focus groups held to shape a new 24-hour extended mental health crisis care across Bedfordshire and Luton.
The Trust and Mind BLMK are working together to develop an enhanced crisis care service that provides an accessible, service user focused response for people experiencing a mental health crisis.
People will also be able to refer themselves to the crisis team directly through NHS 111.
ELFT’s Crisis Resolution/Home Treatment Teams across Bedfordshire and Luton have also increased their service hours and are due to start accepting self-referrals from the public.
“This is all about building a responsive mental health crisis support network shaped with the input of healthcare professionals, service users and other members of the public,” said Dr Angharad Ruttley, the Trust’s Clinical Director for Crisis Care in Bedfordshire and Luton.