A NEW mental health support centre is to open in Skelmersdale in February.  

The new centre, which will be provided by the Birchwood charity, based at the Ennerdale Centre in Skelmersdalewill offer a same day referral service to West Lancashire adult residents. It will provide support to people who are experiencing mental health problems and in need of urgent practical support to help with their mental health crisis. The centre will be delivered in partnership with a range of organisations to ensure the best possible support is given.    

The centre intends to provide rapid same day assessment and support for people in mental distress, providing them with the support and help they need swiftly, whilst also reducing pressures on local NHS services, such as GP practices and emergency departments. Anyone who feels they will benefit from the centre can access the support by self-referring. The centre will support residents by having confidential discussions with them, offering them guidance where possible and referring them onto further specialist support depending on their individual needs and circumstances if they cannot be met at the Ennerdale Centre.  

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“It is fantastic that this centre has opened and that it provides immediate support for those who are experiencing mental health problems, both through same day referrals from agencies and importantly through self-referrals for those who feel they need that support.

“This will go some way to providing the mental health support for West Lancashire residents who have often found services difficult to access or waiting a long time to be seen.” 

Stella Connell, chief executive officer at the Birchwood charity said:
“We are really excited to have been commissioned to provide this new mental health support centre in Skelmersdale. It will run alongside our other Birchwood services including our homeless and supported housing services, social isolation, counselling, mediation, community cafes and outreach services. The centre will offer a safe, calm, warm and friendly atmosphere for people who are distressed and may find themselves in urgent need of mental health support.
  

“We know that everyone is different and therefore have diverse needs when experiencing a crisis or needing longer term support. Our new centre will pride itself on offering a vast array of services coordinated from one place, with a firm focus on dealing with the immediate needs of the individual. 

“We know that many people experience short term mental health crisis due to issues with matters such as housing, homelessness, debt, relationships, social isolation, poverty, unemployment and many more factors. These types of issues have a serious impact on a person’s mental health, but the crisis will often pass quickly if they have access to fast, compassionate and immediate practical and ongoing support.”  

Phil Winnard, mental health commissioning manager at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“We know that in West Lancashire, there is a need for mental health support services to be more accessible and closer to home, providing more timely support alongside an urgent need to reduce the pressures on our health care services. 
  

“The new centre will do this by offering an alternative to their GP, walk-in-centre or accident and emergency department. It will not replace any existing local statutory mental health services, but it will have close links with it. People will be able to contact the centre and book an appointment to meet with specially trained support staff, obtain telephone support or be signposted to other services.  

“We have been working closely with North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS), Police, Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire Borough Council, the local community, voluntary and faith sector, and our statutory mental health providers to develop a model that we hope will make a real difference to people’s lives. We will monitor and evaluate the service to ensure that it provides exactly what West Lancashire needs both now and in the future.

Accessing the centre can be done by a range of referral pathways, including self-referral, by calling the centre on 01695 720 128.   

The Ennerdale Centre is at Ennerdale, Skelmersdale WN8 6AN. An open day will be taking place on Friday 14 February 2020 from 12.30pm, where members of the public and interested partners can come to look at the new site. Please contact Birchwood Centre for further details 01695 717 115.   

Initially the centre will provide this support to people aged 18 and over. However, in the future plans are to extend this service to children and young people. 

Ennerdale Centre with Stella Connell, Phil Winnard and Cllr Ian Moran
Ennerdale Centre with Stella Connell, Phil Winnard and Cllr Ian Moran
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