SAFE Haven – a new crisis care mental health service for adults – has opened in Oldham, providing overnight support in a comfortable environment.
Officially opened on June 26 by Oldham Council’s leader Cllr Sean Fielding, Pennine Care’s Safe Haven is based in Forest House at The Royal Oldham Hospital.
It aims to ensure people can quickly and easily receive the right support, in the right setting, from mental health professionals.
The service is delivered together with local charities Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind and Positive Steps and has already seen 90 patients since it opened its doors in January.
The team takes the time to speak to each patient about issues they’re experiencing and what support could best meet their needs then refer or signpost them to longer-term support.
It offers an alternative for people who previously may have ended up waiting to be seen in an emergency department or admitted to an inpatient ward.
The Safe Haven provides a comfortable environment with sofas and space to make a brew and have a chat.
Jacqueline Stewart, director for mental health and learning disability at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This Safe Haven will make a huge difference to the local community.
“When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis having somewhere safe, calm and comfortable where they can sit and share everything they’re feeling is so important.
“We are hopeful this scheme will reduce the likelihood of their problems becoming worse and increase the chance of achieving a recovery.”
Mark Challender, who has used the service, explained: “After reaching crisis point 111 told me to attend Royal Oldham and I felt fearful about what it would be like when I arrived.
“I was surprised when I came to the Safe Haven – it was such a nice environment with friendly staff.
“I felt comfortable and the staff couldn’t do enough; helping me to break down my problems and referring me to services such as bereavement counselling.
“They also offered me practical support the next day which made a big difference – in the days following I actually woke up with a bit of a smile on my face.”
Cllr Fielding added: “Services like the Safe Haven are so important – providing effective help immediately can be the difference between life and death.
“When you present with a potential mental health crisis, the last thing you want is to be left to navigate a complex system.
“Through partnership and services like the Safe Haven we can make this journey as smooth and seamless as possible.”
Gary Flanagan, from Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As the lead commissioner for mental health in Oldham, I am really pleased to see the Safe Haven become a reality.
“It’s so important for people who present in mental health crisis to have a safe and calm environment that can make a real difference and provide a much more positive outcome for them.
“The Safe Haven is an instrumental part of our mental health community, crisis and acute pathway in Oldham and we are already seeing the positive impact of the service as an alternative to admission for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis overnight.”
The Safe Haven was developed by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, and Oldham Cares, with funding from the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.